The Lao People's Democratic Republic is reminiscent of what pre-industrial Thailand must have been like. The pace is slow, the people friendly, and infrastructure non-existent. Laotian food is similar to Thai food, and Lao, like Thai, is even a Tai language, so the sounds and smells of this country are familiar to those recently in Thailand.
Laos used to be known as "The land of a million elephants" but we saw none whilst there.
Our visit to Laos was primarily to renew our Thai visa (we had to go somewhere outside of Thailand, and it was convenient), and to see Vientiane, a former French-colonial outpost that my friend "Bolton" Bill Knowlton spoke highly of.
We were impressed with sole legacy that the French left behind: the baguette, as after all this time in Asia we needed a decent piece of bread. In addition to Vientiane, we also went up the Mekong to visit a place called Lao Pako. The one place I would like to visit in Laos that we did not get to was "The Plain Of Jars" - a pre-historic and poorly understood archeological monument consisting of thousands of clay jars spread over a wide area seemingly at random.
Granted upon arrival (for a fee payable only in hard currency)
Lao flag for our backpacks
Lao entry and exit stamps
I like how they looked for the entry stamp upon departure so that they end up next to each other.
Not sure the denomination of this banknote as it's in Sanskrit script, but there were about 70,000 Lao Kip to the dollar whilst we were there and the largest banknote only had two zeros on it so it largely did not matter.