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CNN’s ‘Destination Laos’ explores the country’s unique scenery and culture

October 2, 2018 Destination ASEAN No Comments Email Email

From the breath-taking mountainous landscapes to the impressive Buddhist and colonial architecture, Laos is a tiny landlocked Southeast Asian country offering an overload of distinctive cultural and natural attractions. This month, CNN’s ‘Destination Laos’ delves into the country’s rich mix of unique culture, recognized heritages and natural beauty.

Highlights of this program include:

MandaLao Elephant Sanctuary in Luang Prabang

Laos was known as the Land of a Million Elephants, but today there are just hundreds left in the wild, with many of these gentle giants employed for hard labour. In Luang Prabang, MandaLao provides a sanctuary for these retired elephants and a useful education for the humans who walk and bathe them.

Tak Bak and religious life in Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang was granted UNESCO World Heritage status in 1995 for its remarkably well-preserved architecture, from wooden Lao houses to French colonial structures. At its core lies the spirit of Buddhism, embodied in the peninsular town’s many temples and sacred Mount Phousi. CNN explores the daily ritual of Tak Bak, when the town’s community of Buddhist monks gather alms and the day’s food in the silence of the dawn. CNN gets a taste of monastic life through learning about the rituals and practices of Laos’Buddhists.

Nature’s serenity in Vang Vieng

Vang Vieng is shifting its reputation as a stop on the backpacker’s circuit to re-embrace its breathtaking scenery and opportunities for adventure, from caves to limestone mountains to the peaceful Nam Song River. Take in the natural majesty of the karst landscape and rural tableaus and experience tranquility at its best in an afternoon float down the river.

A taste of Laotian cuisine in Vientiane

Southeast Asia’s only landlocked country is ready to debut its relatively undiscovered cuisine. With much of its dishes eaten by hand and with sticky rice, Lao meals are traditionally enjoyed communally, with diners seated on a reed mat and gathered around a raised, woven platform called ka toke. The most famous dish is larb, a type of Lao meat salad with spicy marinated meat and herbs. CNN gets a taste of Lao cuisine at one of Vientiane’s top restaurants, Doi Ka Noi, where the menu changes daily.

Vat Phou in Champasak

Laos’ only other UNESCO-recognized site is the ancient Khmer temple of Vat Phou, located in Champasak Province in southwestern Laos. Built more than 1000 years ago at the base of mount Phou Khao, the temple is a testament to the might of the vanished kingdom and one of the best places to relish the region’s Hindu past and verdant landscape, without the throngs of tourists.

‘Destination Laos’ is produced by CNN Vision, the global creative production powerhouse of CNN International, which brings the world’s breath-taking diversity into cinematic focus, telling stories that inspire audiences around the world.

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