The ancient royal capital of Luang Prabang, now a UNESCO World Heritage City, and the modern capital of Vientiane are both enticing reasons to visit Laos. French Colonial architecture blends with Buddhist temples and a thriving monk community in Luang Prabang, while Vientiane touts the glittering stupa and national symbol That Luang, along with lively night markets and the notable Victory Gate, a monument that bears striking resemblance to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris but is dedicated to the Lao who fought for independence.
Active adventures like cycling, tubing, caving and trekking attract travelers to explore more remote regions in Laos and encounter caves and waterfalls near Luang Prabang or the many villages and unexplored corners elsewhere in the country. In the south, the Bolaven Plateau boasts an ancient Khmer temple complex predating Cambodia’s Angkor Wat, while the northeast intrigues visitors at the mysterious Plain of Jars, a collection of fields scattered with 2,000-year-old jars carved from sandstone and granite whose purpose and history is unknown.
Accommodations in Laos are quaint, and in many cases, quite charming. This is not a destination of ultra-luxe, opulent resorts but rather eco-lodges, enchanting inns and boutique hotels brimming with character.