Not as frequented as some of the other South East Asian countries, Laos comes across as a pleasant secret for travellers in their 30's and 40's one stumbles upon and then makes you forget what you were looking for in the first place. The unhurried gait of Buddhist monks as they make their way through a rural landscape at dawn mimic the slow rhythms of life here and it’s easy to get caught up in this gentle current. It’s as if the minutes of a timepiece shifted just a second slower here allowing one to breathe, look around and be aware of one’s existence. This, perhaps, is the reason why many choose to stay back and discover this little piece of “authentic Asia,” one that has managed to escape the commercialism that has affected some of the more popular tourist destination in the region. Yet for all this languid pace Laos is still stocked with its own distinct culture tucked away in the many hill tribes that walk its land as well as ancient temples and architectural splendours that dot Luang Prabang and Vientienne, two of its most well know cities. Terraced rice fields, karst landscapes, green rainforests, mist laden mountains and endless spectacle of traditional villages fringed with fishermen and palm trees lend a rustic appeal to this land that hums a tune of simplicity and peace.
Best time to visit: The small, landlocked country of Laos is best visited between October and April, when the weather's warm and dry throughout. River travel is best between November and January, when high water levels make passage easy along Laos' main waterway, the Mekong River.
Currency: Lao Kip
Weather and Average temperature: Laos has a tropical monsoon climate with a prominent rainy season from May through to October. The average summer temperature in Laos is 34C (93F) and the average winter temperature is 28C (82F).
National Language: Lao
Top Dishes to try: Naem Khao Tod, Larb, Green Papaya Salad, Khao piak Sen, Mok Pa