Landlocked between Thailand and Vietnam, the long forgotten backwater of Laos is startlingly beautiful with mist-shrouded mountains, jagged limestone cliffs, brooding jungles, remote tribal villages and the mighty snaking Mekong River. Until 1988, Laos remained largely hidden from the world so tourism is still very much in its infancy, with centuries-old traditions still in tact, a slow pace of life and wonderfully welcoming people.
The sleepy capital Vientiane has tree-lined boulevards crowded with frangipani and tamarind, ancient ruins, gleaming stupas and graceful colonial buildings. When you've had your fill of the glittering temples, you'll discover numerous cafes and patisseries, a tasty legacy of French rule.
The ancient royal capital of Luang Prabang sits at the confluence of the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers amid beautiful scenery and is considered to be the religious heart of Laos. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is the most perfectly preserved traditional capital in Southeast Asia and one of its most alluring places. Wander the palm-lined riverbanks and tranquil streets, passing gilded wats, traditional wooden houses and maybe saffron-clad monks collecting alms; and you'll have your own picture perfect snapshot of bygone Asia.
Linking Luang Prabang with Vientiane and the cities of the south is the Mekong River, the artery of life in Laos winding through the country from north to south. Consider taking a cruise along this mighty waterway and you'll truly discover the many wonders of this stunningly scenic and culturally distinctive land.
- Traditional Buddhist culture
- Wondrous scenery
- Friendly people
- Cruise the Mekong
- UNESCO World Heritage Sites
- Step back in time experience