Notes From The Road: You’ll Love Laos

Though I only spent a week in Laos, I’m a little bit in love with it.  So much in love with it that I’m actively fantasizing about a life in which I “winter” in Luang Prabang.  I could tell you all the reasons why Loas is awesome (French-influenced food and architecture, lovely people, great exchange rate, green mountains, epic waterfalls) but sometimes pictures are more effective, no?














Yes, those are maggots.  And yes, they’re for eating.  And no,
I did not partake.

Have you ever been to Laos?  This was my first time!

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  1. Kim - Vitamin K

    Duuuuude! 6 weeks till Thailand, 7 weeks till Laos! Cannot wait to spend a few weeks getting to know the country. 😀

  2. Steph!

    I have never been to Laos, but now I want to go! Gorgeous photos

  3. Whitney

    I was in Laos for 3 weeks this summer and I'm already concocting schemes to get back. My friends and I called it "pandora on Earth" especially when you get out of the "big" cities. Luang Prabang is such a wonderful place I can't handle it, did you go to the night market there? I have 3 prints hanging on my wall of monks. I could talk about Laos forever and ever and ever. And ever.

  4. Michelle

    Sarah, what kind of camera do you use?

  5. Sarah Von Bargen

    Michelle, I use a $100 Kodak that I picked up in India. Instead of camera case, I carry it around in an old sock. Clearly, I'm taking my travel photography *very* seriously 😉

  6. margosita

    Not yet! I'm hoping to go this fall, when I'm hoping to do a little SE Asia tour.

    Lovely photos!

  7. alli

    I used to carry my camera around in an old wool sock all the time! ha!
    Lovely pictures, looks like you're having a fabulous time. Are you having another round of sponsorships/care packages?

  8. Sarah Von Bargen


    That's a good question. I originally put together the sponsorship plan to cover my costs while I was volunteering. Now I'm actually in Kuala Lumpur, staying in my friend's swanky apartment, temping at a well-known magazine and attending photo shoots. So I somehow feel like I don't "deserve" sponsorship the same way I did when I was working in refugee camps.

    However! I am planning selling more jewelry for Dabi's scholarship fund and I might do some care packages for that 🙂

  9. nova

    Hm! I could definitely 'winter' there myself! Eh, except for the maggots. I'll bring a snack.

  10. mylifereinvented

    The closest I've been was Thailand, however Laos is on my list. I love your notes from the road. They have quickly become my favorite posts.

  11. Mary

    I really really really want to travel the world, and I know that when I do, I should expect to eat some unusual things, but I don't think I could handle maggots. What do you do when you're offered food that you simply cannot fathom putting into your mouth? Obviously, everyone's got some lines they can't cross, right?

  12. Sarah Von Bargen


    That's a good question. I was lucky this time as these maggots were for sale at a market, not something that someone had cooked for me.

    If you're really concerned about having to eat crazy food, tell your host from the get-go that you're vegetarian (even if you're not). It's a concept that most cultures understand and it's pretty unlikely that any vegetarian dish is going to turn your stomach the way chicken hearts/congealed blood cubes/frogs are going to.

  13. Raquel

    I adored Laos! I visited in 2008 and I cannot wait to return.

  14. Avery Conant

    I live in the bay area of california. We are expecting snow tomorrow, while you languish in humidity and grubs! Enjoy Laos!

  15. Euforilla

    These pictures are awesome!
    Actually, all your travel pictures are awesome, I healthily envy your trips and travels 🙂

  16. Lulu

    OOOOhhhh! I'm so happy to hear you are going to sell more jewelry for Dabi's scholarship. I had a cold the first time around and didn't go on the computer so I missed it completely.

    Also… I find myself buying a lot more scarves lately. You have amazing powers of persuasion, Ms. Von!

  17. Rosie

    I've always wanted to visit Laos, ever since reading Colin Cotterill's magic realist books about Dr Siri the psychic coroner, which are set there in the 1970s. Thanks for the gorgeous photos and when you're back home, do check out the novels!

    All the best and happy travels 🙂

  18. tschitschi

    Laos is definitly on my travel list too! Just like pretty much every other place I can think of 🙂

  19. The Sequin Cat

    So glad you loved Laos! I was there in January and could not get over how beautiful the countryside is. Cambodia is pretty amazing too.

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