Laos is a great introduction to old South-East Asia: its history spans over 10,000 years, Buddhism permeates every corner of life and the pace of life is as slow as it has been for centuries.
"Largely unspoilt, much of this land is mountains, mists and natural beauty, with charming cities (Luang Prabang being possibly the best preserved in this part of the world)."
Without doubt the most magnificent temple here is Wat Xieng Thong (The Golden Monastery) – within walking distance of the town, and situated above the point where the Mekong and Nam Khan River meet. Around 18 miles from Luang Prabang, and making for a lovely day trip is the gorgeous Kouang Si Waterfall.
And for a complete contrast to all the tranquillity, head to the city’s fabled night market – open every evening (look carefully and you’ll find some really quaint genuine local pieces to be found at very good prices).