Has anyone been to Laos lately and can share some of their travel experiences. Thanks.
Have a look at Lonely Planet’s “Thorn Tree” forum for “Mainland South-east Asia”.
I was there in October/November last year. It is an interesting country to travel in. The country is still pretty undeveloped. That could be a good or a bad thing depending on what you like. If you are interested in quiet country towns with a slow pace of life then it is just the place for you. Many people say it is like North Thailand was thirty years ago.
A few things that are useful to know when travelling there. The roads in many places are poor so travel by bus is slow and fairly uncomfortable. If you want to be more comfortable take a private minibus. Also it is possible to travel by ferry to many places. The ferries are often not really comfortable but it is a great way to discover life on Laos’s original highways.
The official currency is the kip but US dollars and Thai baht are accepted everywhere. Costs are fairly cheap but I didn’t find it any cheaper than Thailand.
The 2002 Lonely Planet book is soely outdated. When I was in Laos nearly 2 years ago, guesthouse prices in LP (Luang Prabang) were 2-3 times what they were mentioned in LP (Lonely Planet). That is LP (lan pah)!