I can't remember if I was even aware that Laos existed before we started planning this trip, but I'll definitely always remember my time here, and not just for the awful bus ride getting here (which is something I'd rather forget!).

I'd like to say the main reason I'll always remember Laos is because of the beautiful scenery, or the friendly people. Both of those are enough on their own, but the main thing I'll remember about Laos is what we learned about its tragic history.

I knew nothing about this, but America bombed Laos excessively during their war with Vietnam, despite the fact that Laos were neutral. The US government even denied it at the time, but it's now widely accepted that it happened. Because of this denial, it's known as The Secret War. This animated short I've embedded above gives the main facts around it, and is really worth watching.

We went to the Cope Visitor Centre, in the capital, Vientiane. It's a not-for-profit museum dedicated to educating people about what happened, and about the problems of unexploded ordnance Laos still faces today. The statistics are chilling, but they also told the stories of some of the victims. Obviously there are always tragedies in the news and in history all around the world, but for me this was the first time I've visited somewhere and learned about something like this in this much detail. It affected me a lot more than I thought it would. Since I literally knew nothing about this before coming here, I thought I'd blog about it.