Laos' isolation from foreign influence offers travellers an unparalleled glimpse of traditional South-East Asian life. From the fertile lowlands of the Mekong River valley to the rugged Annamite highlands, Laos is the highlight of South-East Asia.
This is the least developed and most enigmatic of the three former French Indochinese states. A ruinous sequence of colonial domination, internecine conflict and dogmatic socialism finally brought the country to its knees in the 1970s, and almost 10% of the population left.
Now, after two decades of isolation from the outside world, this landlocked, sparsely populated country is enjoying peace, stabilising its political and economic structures, and admitting foreign visitors - albeit in limited numbers due to a general lack of infrastructure.
Facts for the traveller
Money & Costs
Off the beaten track