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Destination Laos: The Jewel of the Mekong
Lao Airlines opens its first Hungarian Representation Office in Budapest to nurture the friendly relations between Laos and Hungary.
Rudolf Sardi
Diplomacy&Trade online | April 21, 2010

Sabaidee is without a doubt the first word anyone will come by when visiting the People’s Republic of Laos, one of Southeast Asia’s most charming countries. “Sabaidee literally translates as ‘how are you?’ –regardless of where you go in the country you will hear the word, accompanied by a wide smile,” explains Mr. Rezso Sardi, owner and Managing Director of Aviation Co., which has been recently appointed the official Marketing Representation of Lao Airlines in Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic. “The greeting itself is associated with a certain joie de vivre that visitors from the West are surprised to find in a country previously inflicted by a series of social and political conflicts,” he adds.

Isolated and undeveloped as it was until the turn of the millennium, Laos has earned the reputation of a rapidly growing nation, which, at the same, is proud to have Southeast Asia’s most pristine environment and cultures virtually left intact. It is no surprise that Laos is fast earning a cult status among travelers. “It is worth visiting Laos if one wishes to discover the cultural diversity and the natural beauty of a land only a stone’s-throw-away from the madding crowds of Thailand. Laos caters for the needs of tourists, adventurers, and the lovers of untouched nature,” says Sardi.

Lao Airlines – the spirit of Laos

“Lao Airlines, the country’s national flag carrier, has recently appointed Aviation Co. to act as its Marketing Representation in the Eastern European market. I am optimistic that the airline’s first European office will greatly contribute to outgoing tourism to Laos,” continues Sardi, who has been promoting travel trade to the country for two years now. State-owned Lao Airlines has its headquarters in Vientiane, which, despite being the country’s capital, boasts a laid-back riverfront life with a strong French influence. Lao Airlines operates international flights from Thailand (Bangkok and Chiang Mai) to Vientiane and Luang Prabang, but additional international routes also include direct flights to Vietnam (Hanoi), Cambodia (Siem Reap, Phnom Penh) and China (Kunming) directly from the Laotian capital.

Laos – the Jewel of the Mekong

“Once in Laos, one cannot refuse the appeal of the countryside.

Rezső Sárdi
Kayaking, elephant riding, cycling are available anywhere you go, but the real Lao experience is to have a village home-stay with a local family. To explore the rest of the country, the fastest and most reliable way is to fly Lao Airlines. It owns a well-maintained fleet of French-manufactured aircraft and has an extensive domestic network of six destinations, including the historic royal city of Luang Prabang, which is part of the Unesco World Heritage,” adds Sárdi as he points at a photo of hundreds of saffron-robed monks silently passing by a golden-domed monastery. “It is an unforgettable and absolutely romantic experience,” he remarks, and calls Laos one of the world’s most authentic countries in existence.

Vientiane – a crossroads between East and West

“Vientiane is a unique place in many ways: situated by the majestic Mekong River, the capital is home to numerous historical sites built at the time of the country’s French colonisation. It is veritable meeting point between the Occident and the Orient, where one will find exclusive yet inexpensive French restaurants in the vicinity of a line of budget Asian eateries,” concludes Sardi, and adds that Vientiane is easily accessible by a short plane ride from Bangkok, and visa at a reasonable fee is issued on arrival at the international airports of Luang Prabang and Vientiane.

“While places of interest across the country are numerous, the most refreshing and unforgettable experience will be to drink a bottle of Beerlao – the pride of the nation – by the Mekong with a gentle Laotian family,” explains Sardi. He is pleased to add that a Lao-Hungarian Friendship Committee has been operating in Hungary since 1993, further strengthening the bonds between the two countries with the aim of preserving Laotian culture and disseminating knowledge about the country among Hungarians. Sardi cherishes the hope to continue, in his capacity as the airline’s Managing Director, to nurture the friendly relations – cultural, economic, travel-related or otherwise – between Laos and Hungary.

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