The hidden gem of Laos is a landlocked kingdom, boasting a rich cultural tapestry woven with ethnic strands from all over the region and is probably one of the last quiet countries on earth. Laos holidays give a mixture of temples, river and wildlife, making it an excellent country to tour.
The city of Vientiane, the capital of Laos, is set on the Mekong River and forms a large part of the western boundary with Thailand. Here among its French colonial buildings, are the historic temples of Wat Si Saket, Vientiane's oldest surviving temple and Pha That Luang, the most important national monument in Laos. Nearby Phu Khao Khuay National Park makes a fantastic day trip from the city and with its serene mountains and meandering rivers is home to an extraordinary array of endangered wildlife including wild elephant, gibbon, Asiatic black bear, tiger and clouded leopard.
Further north, the ancient capital of Luang Prabang, a World Heritage Site, is both sleepy and charming and lines the banks of the Mekong. The town has temples with gleaming roofs including the stunning 500 year old Wat Xieng Thong and a royal palace preserved as it was when the royal family was forced into exile in 1975. These ancient monuments jostle for space with the brightly coloured markets and colonial architectural relics from a bygone era, with the scent of Lao cuisine drifting on the breezes.
The landscape is spectacular with lush dense forest and dramatic rugged mountains, the highest of which is Phou Bia. This simply beautiful country offers it all from gastronomy to ancient temples.