Steve Vickers: freelance journalist and travel writer UK Sweden

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Contact Steve Vickers, a freelance writer and journalist

I'm a freelance journalist, travel writer and guidebook author based between the UK (cold) and Sweden (colder).

I've worked for The Independent, The Washington Post, The Observer, BBC Radio 4, Which? and Rough Guides, among many others, and grabbed front-page headlines with my investigative research. I also built this website. You won't find any adverts, sponsored blog posts or phoney travel recommendations here; just some of my work, plus stories from out on the road.

May 2, 2014

Exploring more of Laos

Filed under: Laos — stevenjvickers @ 3:37 pm

It was New Year’s Day, and I didn’t have a hangover.

Phonsavan had been so cold and quiet the night before that we’d gone to bed early. We were asleep long before the local kids, who kept themselves warm beside a dead American bomb, which had found new life as a fire pit.

Lao girl by fire

This was the height of the tourist season, near one of the biggest attractions in Laos, and the place felt like a ghost town. Where were all of the backpackers?

In Burma, locals told us. Or perhaps on some beach in Thailand.

Quiet street, Phonsavan

My girlfriend and I spent a couple of months travelling around Laos (updating this guidebook for Rough Guides) and would often go for days at a time without seeing another tourist. Vang Vieng felt pretty busy, all things considered. And as usual, Luang Prabang was packed.

But elsewhere, there was barely another tourist in sight.

Market in northeast Laos

And that got me thinking. Why aren’t more people venturing beyond the well-trodden tourist areas? Yes, the roads are bumpy. The mosquitoes can be greedy. And you might end up sharing your seat with a noisy dickhead rooster.

But rural Laos is welcoming and, for the most part, very safe. And the rewards – as you can see below – make even the worst journeys worthwhile.

Along the river in Laos

Sam Nuea Laos

Tad Lo Laos

Sayaboury elephants

Nam Laos

Waterfall in Laos

Sawngthaew ride in Laos

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