The lifeline of this landlocked nation, the Mekong figures in every visit to Laos, supplying the fish for dinner, a stunning array of sunsets and a route to travel along.
Head into the far north to this untouristy town, from where you can explore the beautiful surrounding countryside.
Ancient funerary urns, the remnants of a lost civilization, lie scattered across the heart of the northeast.
A series of spectacular waterfalls set among lush forest.
At the confluence of the Mekong and the Nam Khan, Laos’s most enchanting city boasts atmospheric temples and a variety of excursions.
Fiery and crammed with herbs, Lao food is a delight to discover – and there’s excellent Beer Lao to wash it down.
Best known for its tubing and backpacker scene, Vang Vieng is also a great place for outdoor adventures.
Rugged mountain forests set the scene for hikers seeking to explore the remote hill villages of the north.
This tropical waterway in the mountainous north passes through some of the country’s most inspiring scenery.
French–Indochinese shophouses add character to city streets in Mekong River towns, such as Savannakhet.
The country’s most important religious building is best seen at sunset when the golden stupa seems to glow in the fading light.
This picturesque collection of Mekong islands, close to the Cambodian border, is dotted with rustic fishing villages and is the perfect place to relax.
The most evocative Khmer ruin outside of Cambodia, this rambling mountainside complex dates from the sixth to twelfth centuries.
A traditional massage at a Lao sauna is the best way to wind down and rejuvenate after a long trek. The herbal mixtures in the steam bath (and the tea) are jealously guarded secrets.
Spared wars, fires and overzealous restorations, the jewel of temple-rich Luang Prabang is as elegant as it is historic.
Weavers plying their craft still work the looms under their homes in the countryside, where each ethnic group is known for having its own style of textiles.
Straddling the Nam Ou, this is the perfect place for a few days, relaxing in a hammock or exploring the surrounding area on foot or by kayak.
Top image: Mekong river, Luang Prabang port in Laos © i viewfinder/Shutterstock