The Democratic Republic of Laos has something kaleidoscopic about it. The roofs of the Buddhist temples, known as "wat", appear to constantly concertina to the mystical beat of a khene (a mouth organ), in a lush natural setting. And with the Mekong River quietly flowing in the background, an abundant fauna roars in the distance, causing no concern to Laotian farmer who is busy sowing his rice field.
Small in size and surrounded by China, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam and Burma, Laos is a destination with a surprisingly strong identity. A tenacity that it draws from its historical, but also cultural riches, with its maelstrom of artistic and aesthetic influences. You simply need to stroll around the quiet streets of Luang Prabang, the spiritual and cultural capital of the country, to see this for yourself. In this UNESCO world heritage city, it's easy to come across young Buddhist monks sitting in the shade of the lush trees; not to mention the city's countless temples and picturesque places of worship. Take some time to admire the typical Laos architecture, with Wat Xieng Thong being one of the most characteristic examples. You'll find this rich history equaled by its nature when you set off to explore the country of Laos. Aboard a cruise along the Mekong or by hiring a vehicle, Laos unveils some quite breathtaking natural spectacles with its karst landscapes of verdant craggy peaks, its rice fields, its beautiful lagoons and so much more. The more hedonistic among you are sure to head for the small town of Vang Vieng. This festive location, renowned throughout the world, only tells part of the story of Laos. However, the town makes for a good stopover before arriving in Vientiane, the Laotian capital. The architectural treasures and tranquility of its streets make this an enchanting metropolis; but above all else it's the amazing Buddha gardens and its 200 statues that really capture your imagination. Much in the same way as the whole country does.Read more