I participated in two programs in Laos. The first being Mystical Caves and Shamans, the second was Sticky Rice.
MYSTICAL CAVES AND SHAMANS.
This program was incredible. I cannot stress it enough. It opened my eyes to the world around us. We stayed in the base house where we were sleeping on mats under mosquito nets; I still miss my mosquito net... Every morning we would wake up and after breakfast begin work on our service project. During my trip our service project was building a volleyball court for the village. I definitely enjoyed experiencing building something from scratch. As we went to the river to gather rocks and sand so we could make concrete, we were required to push the tractor back up the hill because the road was too slippery. The laughs exchanged were definitely a highlight. After lunch we would do an activity such as teaching kids, visiting a cave, seeing a shaman, going to a waterfall, etc.
I would definitely recommend this trip to all students looking for a unique way to experience Laos in its true beauty. And I will probably do this program again because it was so extremely amazing.
This program is for students who are looking for a more touristy experience in Laos.
We flew into the city Luang Prabang where we stayed for three nights doing things like visiting temples, monks, waterfalls, markets, etc. Then we took a three hour drive to a village called Nong Khiaw where we stayed two nights. There we kayaked, hiked to a waterfall, did service work (painting a school and teaching children), and swam in the river.
This program is not as Rustic as Mystical Caves and Shamans, however still enjoyable.
We stayed in hotels the entire time and had the luxury of western toilets the entire trip.
Though I would not do this program again due to its lack of Rustic-ness, it was still an enjoyable program.
In a nutshell, Laos was the most incredible country I have ever visited. I do plan on returning. The programs I chose have opened my eyes to the world around me. I am so fortunate to have chosen these programs.(: