A land of the lotus eaters amid the bloated development of its neighbours, Laos brings together the best of Southeast Asia in one bite-sized destination.
I first came to Laos as a backpacker in 1995 and quickly succumbed to the natural charms of the landscape, not to mention ice-cold Beerlao overlooking the Mekong River. Fast forward more than two decades and Laos still delivers adventures. On my latest visit I explored the pristine province of Khammuan, took a trip into the underworld of Tham Kong Lor, got a buzz motorbiking the Loop, and spent time trawling the authentic eateries and lively bars of Vientiane, Laos' underrated capital. A travel tonic to slake your thirst for the real Asia, Laos will leave a lasting impression long after you return home.
Nick Ray