Well, this is a first for a United States president. Earlier this week, President Obama announced that he’ll visit Laos by end of 2016. Just in time for the ASEAN economic summit that Laos is hosting as current chair and member. After White House National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes visited Laos to learn about the UXO issue and after the memorable visit by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton– it was only time before POTUS himself would make an appearance. As the pivot towards economically-booming Southeast Asia continues and on the heels of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement, this will no doubt seal President Obama’s legacy before his term ends.
We could be biased but while we know that Laos is quite arguably the coolest place to be in Southeast Asia, a lot can change in the course of one year before the POTUS visits. We know he’s a busy man, so we conjured up some to-do’s for his staffers to use. Here’s a fun list of “10 Things President Obama Should Do in Laos”.
- Take a stroll along the Mekong River for one-of-a-kind ethnic handicrafts and to see the hydropower dams. Sure, it’s a little dry where some of the last species of fish are seeing their last days; but at least you can say you walked across a river.
- Pig out with sweet jeow bong and Lao sausage while marveling at our elephants in Luang Prabang, our royal hot spot as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Roam Talat Sao and pick out the best sinh pa mai for fashionista FLOTUS. It’ll be the hottest textile to wear at the next Christmas gathering in the White House.
- Go cheer on a soccer match with the diverse faces of the rising Lao Football League, some of who were recruited from Africa.
- Take a look at the giant Plain of Jars. You may still hear the spirits and sounds of raining bombs from the Vietnam War era. Just don’t climb inside the jars!
- Visit the sanctuaries of Laos’ last endangered animals, before they’re someone’s next lunch or trophy prize.
- Look over the green horizon in Northern Laos at the beautiful landscape and also the last few acres of trees to see what real deforestation looks like.
- Ask how Sombath Somphone‘s doing. We’d really like to know too!
- Enjoy a highly caffeinated tour inside the coffee conglomerate queen Dao Coffee’s superdome surrounding the Bolavan Plateau.
- And finally, have some khao nieow, seen hang, and BeerLao around a pa khao with the locals. How else are you going to get in on the lumvong to end the night?
What are some of your favorite sights and activities in Laos that POTUS should do? Share below.
(All photos: White House)