Languid and lovely Luang Prabang (ຫລວງພະບາງ) is one of the most alluring places in Southeast Asia. Nowhere else can lay claim to the city's old-world romance of 33 gilded wats, saffron-clad monks, faded Indochinese villas and exquisite Gallic cuisine. It's a unique place where time seems to stand still amid the breakneck pace of the surrounding region.
Vieng Xai's thought-provoking 'bomb-shelter caves' are set amid dramatic karst outcrops and offer a truly inspirational opportunity to learn about northern Laos' painful 20th-century history. Imagine Vang Vieng, but with a compelling historical twist instead of happy tubing. Or think of it as Ho Chi Minh City's Cu Chi Tunnels cast in stone.
From its sleepy tuk-tuk drivers to its cafe society and affordable spas, this former French trading post is languid to say the least. Eminently walkable, the historic old quarter of Vientiane beguiles with tree-lined boulevards crowded with frangipani and tamarind, glittering temples, wandering Buddhist monks and lunging naga (dragon) statues.
Plain of Jars
Giant stone jars of unknown ancient origin are scattered over hundreds of square kilometres around Phonsavan, giving the area the misleading name of Plain of Jars. In fact it's no more of a plain than the rice-bowl valleys at Muang Sing or Luang Namtha, and indeed most of the curious jar sites are on hills.
Bolaven Plateau Region
Spreading across the northeast of Champasak Province into the southeastern Salavan, Sekong and Attapeu provinces, the fertile Bolaven Plateau (ພູພຽງບໍລະເວນ; known in Lao as Phu Phieng Bolaven) is famous for its cool climate, dramatic waterfalls, fertile soil and high-grade coffee plantations.