Despite lacking the beaches that the rest of Southeast Asia is known for, Laos attracts tourists in droves, year after year. They are drawn to this tropical nation's natural splendor and exotic culture.
There are numerous ways to go about exploring this multi-ethnic gem of the Indochinese peninsula.
On the way to the city of Luang Prabhang, shutterbugs are blessed with the pretty sight of sprawling, lush terraced rice fields. After all, 80% of Laotians are farmers.
For a taste of Laos' wilderness, you won't have to venture far from Luang Prabhang - Nam Et-Phou Louey Protected Area. You may even glimpse a wild tiger during the safari!
If you can spare time enough for just 1 Laos waterfall, it should be the Kuang Si Falls you visit. This majestic 3-tiered cascade is just south of Luang Prabhang.
Pit yourself against the thicket of the Laos tropical jungle, by embarking on a hike with Luang Prabhang as your basecamp. You can hike the nearby Mount Phousi or the Pha Pon range.
Some patches of the jungle are too thick to hike. You can get around them, on a scenic boat cruise of River Mekong - the lifeblood of the greenery. Do keep an eye out for the elusive Irrawaddy dolphins!
There is another way to ride the mighty Mekong River: on kayaks. If not the Mekong, you can set off rowing on one of the other rivers - Nam Khan, Nam Ou, Nam Suang, and so on.
Back in Luang Prabhang, you can hop on an elephant at one of the city's elephant conservation sanctuaries.
In Luang Prabhang, don't miss the chance to try some Tam Som salad - one of Laos' tastiest contributions to Asian cuisine.
Known for their signature red-and-blue tents, the Night Markets of Luang Prabhang and Vientiane are your best bet for a decent bargain on just about everything Laos has to offer, including Lao coffee beans.
Buy Buddhist wood carvings - the handiwork of Laotian artisans.
If you find yourself looking for a way to beat the heat in Laos' Champasak Province, head to the pristine Tad Yuang Waterfall.
Can't resist Laos' windy dirt roads that cut through the jungle? Rent a motorcycle and set off on the Bolaven Plateau Motorbike Loop.
Eventually, you'll make your way to Lao's capital - Vientiane. Check out the magnificent Patuxai war monument - it's at the core of the city's culture and history.
Next, you should marvel at Vientiane's golden Buddhist stupa - Phra That Luang. This national monument originated in the 3rd century.
If you visit Laos in November, you'll be able to immerse yourself in the local festivities of Vientiane's vibrant That Luang Festival.
If you wish to truly experience Laotian culture, visit a local Buddhist monastery or spend time at a peaceful mediation retreat.
Near Vientiane, over 200 incredible statues await your eyes at the Buddha Park. From a huge reclining Buddha to terrifying demons, there's a lot to admire.
Step way back in time (prehistoric Iron Age) at the Xieng Khouang archaeological site:Plain of Jars. Here, countless jar-like stone structures make up an ancient crematorium.
Indulge in one of the great Laotian pastimes - tubing on the river at Vang Vieng village.
At Vang Vieng village, you should rent a hot air balloon and rise above the jungle canopy for a view of Laos like none other.