As Southeast Asia's only landlocked country, Laos - which sits in the heart of the Indochina Peninsula - has a lot of areas to explore. While it doesn't have any coastline it still has thousands of islands, though instead of saltwater, it is the mighty Mekong River. Laos is a place with no big-ticket items - no Angkor Wat, no Khao Samui, no Halong Bay. It is, at its core, a dynamic country with a strong culture, untouched landscapes, and plenty to offer the traveler that is willing to explore its beauty.
The idea of visiting Laos came about from various discussions with people who had traveled all over Southeast Asia. While they loved Cambodia, treasured the southern coast of Thailand, and greatly enjoyed the vibrancy of Vietnam, many of them explained that if you were looking for off-the-beaten-path adventure then head to Laos. So off on a night bus from Chiang Mai to the border and then another longer bus ride through the twisty jungle until eventually we landed in a somewhat soggy Luang Prabang. From there it was just days of exploring temples, the Mekong and a fair number of French-inspired coffee shops.
Lao Kip (LAK); 1 USD = 9,514 kip
Indochina Time (GMT+7); -11 for NYC, -6 for London, +1 for Hong Kong
BEST TIME TO VISIT
October-April for arm and dry weather; November-January for boating on the Mekong
laos travel guides