OFTEN overshadowed by its popular neighbors, Laos is a sleepy country nestled amongst Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia.
However, travelers who have had the chance to experience this Southeast Asian destination would tell you that Laos is known for its deep spirituality, friendly people, natural beauty, and its surprisingly delightful offerings for cultural, historical and natural sightseeing.
In a valley at the confluence of the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers is the Unesco World Heritage-listed Luang Prabang which boasts rolling hills, cascading waterfalls, sprawling rice fields, and ancient Buddhist temples.
The city of Vientiane, on the other hand, is where all the action happens, with traditional markets, massive building projects, and tourist-friendly bars.
But for a true taste of the Laotian lifestyle, one should not miss heading to the Phoukhoun district, where farming is their way of life. In particular, Phoukhoun boasts a strawberry farm which has become increasingly popular with travelers.
In fact, according to the Laos Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, more than 655,000 tourists visited the province in 2017.
Located on a hillside in Samyaekphoukhoun village, the farm is a beautiful camping ground with stunning views for visitors who want to watch a sea of mist rise over the hills in the early mornings. Here, tents are readily available for rent so you can travel light.
After sunrise, make your way over to the strawberry field where you can pick and enjoy fresh, locally-grown strawberries. Aside from treating yourself to a great mid-morning snack, it is also a fantastic way to learn about the community’s way of life.
And if you stay on until lunch, you may just be able to savor some delicious Laotian food such as jaew bong (a sauce made with hot chilies and buffalo skin) and khaipan (dried riverweed lightly fried with sesame seeds and garlic).
Once you are all snacked out, head on over to the district’s other breathtaking places of interest such as the Tham Ting cave, Tad Sae and Kuangxi waterfalls, temples, and the former royal palace in Luang Prabang province.
Thinking of turning your afternoon excursion into an adventure? Luang Prabang also offers adrenaline rush-inducing activities such as trekking and ziplining. Alternatively, simply kick back by a waterfall and soak up the relaxing atmosphere amid the verdant surrounds.
If you are wondering about the choice of accommodation and facilities in the district, fret not for it has 12 guesthouses, 18 restaurants, and some entertainment venues.