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21 Photos That Show Laos Has The Most Beautiful Jungles on Earth

This post was originally published on Culture Trip. To read the original article and see the accompanying photos, click here

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The natural beauty of Lao jungles is breathtaking. Deforestation has dramatically reduced Laos’ jungles. Over 70 percent of Lao was forest in the 1950s, and now less than half of the country is jungle. Remote mountains, endangered species and arresting vistas make the Lao jungles some of the most beautiful places to visit on the planet.

White-Handed Gibbon

The white-handed gibbon spends much of its life high in the treetops. Known for its distinct call that echoes through the jungle, they eat primarily fruits and leaves.

White-Handed Gibbon | © JJ Harrison/WikiCommons

Inland Lakes

Laos is landlocked and, what it lacks in beaches, it makes up for in pristine inland lakes. Small islands and a mountainous backdrop make the lake side a perfect place to take in the Lao landscape.

Laos | © Erdmann-Crew/Pixabay

Forest Monasteries

While many temples are in cities and towns, others are further outside the municipalities tucked into the forest, full of trees, young novices, and seasoned monks.

Forest Monestary | © JoelleLC/Pixabay

Nam Song

The Nam Song River flows through Laos and eventually flows into the Mekong River. Rickety bamboo bridges allow travelers to get from one side to the other while taking in the scenery.

Nam Song River Bridge | © Nick Gray/Wikimedia

Topical Flowers

The tropical climate in Laos yields hundreds of species of flowering plants that brighten up the green jungle with myriad colors.

Laos Flowers | © Dezalb/Pixabay

Four Thousand Island

Si Phan Don, which means “4,000 Islands,” is in the far south of Laos on the border with Cambodia. Waterfalls, island, and irrawaddy river dolphins are part of what makes this location so special.

Tree, Don Det | © Babalaos/Pixabay

Asian Elephants

Asian elephants are native to Laos and live in the wild in herds of up to 25 members. Laos also has an elephant conservation center focused on responsible eco-tourism and saving this endangered species.

Baby Elephants, Laos | © Fabien Batside/WikiCommons

Phou Khou Khouay

Laos has 20 National Protected Areas that cover 10 percent of the land mass. Phou Khou Khouay is located just north of Vientiane but couldn’t be more different from the lively capital city.

Phou Khou Khouay | © Aleksey Gnilenkov/WikiCommons

Flying Over the Jungle

One of the best ways to see the vast sparsely inhabited terrain of Laos is from the air. Lao Airlines flies from Luang Prabang to Vientiane, Savannakhet, then Pakse giving customers a view of the country from north to south.

Flying Over the Mountains | © S. Shankar/Flickr

Kuang Si Falls

Outside of old royal capital of Luang Prabang lies a series of waterfalls including Kuang Si Falls. Step into this jungle oasis as a beautiful day trip away from the temples and bustle of the city.

Kuang Si Falls | © Poswiecie/Pixabay

Coconut Trees

Laos has no shortage of coconut trees. Drink the coconut water right from the fruit and soak in the hot Southeast Asian sun.

Coconut Tree | © Dezalb/Pixabay

Bolaven Plateau

The Bolaven Plateau in Champasak Province is famed for coffee, which the French brought to Laos. It also has beautiful natural features like waterfalls.

Bolaven Plateau, Laos | © Corto Maltese/WikiCommons

Caves

Within the jungles of Laos lie hundreds of caves. Some of which were used as military bases and hideouts during the civil war and some of which are major tourist draws today.

Kong Lor Caves of Laos | © Aleksey Gnilenkov/WikiCommons

Mekong River

The Mekong River winds through Laos and, for many miles, forms the boundary with Thailand. The misty mornings and evening sunsets are particularly spectacular over the Mekong.

Mekong | © Ashley300/Pixabay

Nam Ha National Protected Area

Nam Ha National Protected Area is located in Luang Namtha Provice in the north of Laos. The Nam Tha river that runs through the park is the Mekong’s first major tributary in Laos.

Nam Ha NPA Laos | © Rds26/WikiCommons

Bokeo Nature Preserve

Visitors to the Bokeo Nature Preserve can sleep in the jungle in huts suspended high in the trees. Zip-lining behind the elusive endangered gibbons who call the preserve home is the ultimate Lao jungle experience.

Bokeo Nature Preserve | © Christian Haugen/Flickr

Annamite Mountains

The Annamite Mountain range lies in the west of Laos and forms the boarder with Vietnam. The winding switch back roads can make travel difficult, but the views are spectacular.

Annamite Mountains | © Dezalb/Pixabay

Butterflies

Laos is home to many species of butterflies. These pollinators help keep all of the gorgeous tropical flowers blooming. Moths, bats, and other insects are also important animals that help pollenate the jungle.

Butterfly | © Sharon Ang/Pixabay

Wat Phou

What Phou is an ancient Khmer temple predating Cambodia’s Angkor temple complex. The temple, in Champasak province, is situated at the base of mount Phu Kao.

Wat Phou | © Kazuhiro Nakamura/Flickr

Wat Chom Si

What Chom Si is located in Luang Prabang at the summit of Mount Phousi. Visitors can take a long staircase through the jungle to reach the temple at the top.

Wat Chom Si | © McKay Savage/WikiCommons

Vang Vieng

Vang Vieng is a town in Vientiane Province that is a mecca of outdoor activities. The jungle surrounding the town makes for a scenic location for kayaking, hiking, hot air balloon rides, rock climbing and more.

Vientiane Province Vang Vieng | © Tango7174/WikiCommons

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