I spent 21 days in Laos and an average of $25 per day. I have been slowing down considerably, largely due to travel fatigue as well as budget constraints. I only saw four places in Laos: Luang Prabang, Vientiane, the Kong Lor Cave, and the 4,000 Islands. Highlights include learning about the Secret War, taking a cooking class, and simply relaxing and not worrying too much about my next steps.
I had some difficulties in Laos, most notably losing my ATM card on my very first day in the country. Entirely my fault, I simply forgot to take my card out of the machine after withdrawing money. The experience wasn’t too terrible, though, as it gave me an excuse to linger in Luang Prabang longer than I might have otherwise, visiting sights like the Tad Thong waterfalls. I also had my faith restored in Schwab (the only bank you should use if you are traveling abroad) and FedEx, miraculously receiving a new card less than two weeks after I lost it, virtually halfway around the world.
I also got scammed a few times on buses, overpaying pretty significantly for some trips and others taking far, far longer than promised or anticipated. Fortunately my safety was never in question during these experiences and ultimately I didn’t lose much money or time.
What struck me most about Laos, though, was how friendly, genuinely happy, and hard-working the people are there. They have had an unimaginably violent history whose legacy remains today in fields around the country, and yet they hold no bias against Americans or the governments involved in the atrocities. They are truly a model for living freely and happily despite circumstances.