About the size of the UK and three times larger than Ireland, landlocked Laos is one of Asia's best kept secrets. Retaining an old-fashioned charm and slower pace of life, Laos is home to a number of diverse cultures; colourfully dressed hill tribes populate the higher elevations, while in the lowland river valleys, coconut palms sway over Buddhist monasteries.
Reminiscent of a bygone era, the smell of bread as it bakes in the ovens and coffee as it's freshly brewed mingles with exotic local aromas in the morning markets in the sleepy capital, Vientiane. Rural stilt houses and paddy fields look just as they do in the movies and hundreds of monks drift through the streets of Luang Prabang every morning. For those looking for spirituality and relaxation and for those seeking adventure in underground river caves, on jungle ziplines or on an exotic safari - one thing is certain, there's more to Laos than meets the eye.