When we were planning this trip, visiting Laos and Cambodia were two big priorities for us. I had happy memories of Laos from my 2000 trip. It was quirky, laid back, and low on backpackers. Getting around was tough. The roads were terrible and for many areas the only transport was trucks jam packed with locals. Now the roads are better and the buses have much improved, I hoped to get to some of the far flung places that I missed out on last time. Unfortunately, every backpacker that visits Thailand has the same idea. Many places in Laos are now fully paid up members of the Banana Pancake Trail, a collection of towns, beaches, and islands that are epicenters for backpackers. The only reggae in the ubiquitous reggae bars is Bob Marley, the spicy curries are toned down, banana pancakes appear on every menu, and the de rigeur clothing is a Lao PDR hoodie! It’s safe, you can find millions of like-minded uninspired backpackers, and most likely you can party. You jump on boats and buses full of foreign tourists going to places overrun by foreign tourists.
There is no denying that the Banana Pancake Trail (BPT) covers a … Read more