Laos is the only landlocked ASEAN nation as well as the least visited countries in the world. Being isolated for many years has meant that Laos retains a remarkable serenity and timeless charm.
The country is mountainous, making travel difficult with limited internal flight and adventurous travel along Mekong River. The capital, Vientiane, is small (140.000) charming and picturesque, sitting on the banks of the Mekong. It contains some colourful and sacred pagodas, fascinating museums, wide boulevards and attractions like Patuxai, Vientiane's Arc de Triomphe.
The border crossing to Thailand and the Friendship Bridge are at Thanaleng. Budha Park here is a bizarre collection of concrete religious icons. Nam Ngum Dam in the north of the city is a peaceful retreats with restaurants, fishing and small chalets. The former capital Luang Prabang, is one of the most serene town in ASEAN. Much of the town and its pagodas are protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are about 32 historic pagodas here within easy walk of each other.
The Dala market sells many local products especially those of nearby hill tribe people. The Royal Palace Museum contains many Lao treasures. Trips on the Mekong river are popular especially to the Pak Ou limestone caves that contain hundreds of Buddhist images. The Plain of Jars near the small town of Phonsavan has intrigued archaeologists for centuries.
The purpose of the huge 2,000-year old stone jars is open to speculation. In the south of the country, Pakse is a point of departure for the Bolaven Plateau and the Khmer ruins at Wat Phu. The area is also famous for tasty coffee. The Khon Papheng Falls on the Mekong river are a 13- kilometers stretch of rapids and cascades.
There are 68 minority tribes in Laos and they offer tourist insight into many ancient tradition and arts. The Lao people are skilled carvers and many pagodas display this art. Cotton and silk weaving is highly developed, distinct and prozed. Many festivals correspond to the Buddhist calendar.
Boun Pimal: the Lao New Year is celebrated in mid April throughout the country.
Boun Souang Heua: is the boat race festival is held the day after Ok Phannsa Crowds gather at the Mekong river to watch 45 paddlers, rowing wooden pirogues to the beat of drums in competition for the coveted trophy.
Boun That Luang: is a three-day religious festival celebrated at full moon in November in Vientiane.