Laos has a relaxed, laid-back vibe reminiscent of Thailand 30 years ago, and is definitely one of the hidden gems of South East Asia.
The least visited of the three countries that make up Indochina, Laos is seen as a special, secret place, and one that has retained much of the tradition that has disappeared elsewhere in the region. Discover its ancient temples and cultural traditions and encounter some of the friendliest people you are likely to meet in a magical landscape of craggy limestone cliffs, undulating forests and the country’s arterial river, the mighty Mekong.
Vientiane is probably one of the most unassuming capital cities of the world, situated on the banks of the Mekong River. Its peaceful atmosphere set amid faded French colonial architecture provides a comfortable introduction to the charms of the country.
Luang Prabang, is considered to be the best preserved town in Southeast Asia. The former royal capital, a Unesco World Heritage site, is a unique combination of Buddhist temples, French colonial and historic Laotian buildings set amongst verdant mountains, cut through by the great Mekong River.
Cruising The Mekong
Both the northern and southern stretches of the Mekong are popular cruise options, reflecting how the river has proved the main artery of this land-locked nation. Reaching places inaccessible by road, cruising is probably one of the best ways to get under the skin of Laos.