Laos is officially known as the Lao People's Democratic Republic, or Lao PDR for short. It is a relatively small, poor landlocked nation with Vietnam to the East, Thailand to the West, Cambodia to the South and China and Myanmar to the North. Nonetheless Laos has plenty to offer, given it's mountainous geography, there are plenty of breath taking views. Whereas its neighbours appear more frequently in the world media, Laos retains a peaceful atmosphere, earning it the reputation for being a hidden gem - the 'Jewel of the Mekong'.
The capital of Laos is Vientiane, a beautifully relaxed city situated on the northern bank of the river Mekong - just across a friendship bridge from Thailand. Vientiane is a great city for temple spotting, or better still for a quiet Beer Lao while enjoying the sunset over the river Mekong.
After the capital, the biggest tourist draw is the UNESCO World Heritage City of Luang Prabang. Further up the Mekong river, Luang Prabang is the former capital of Laos. A trully memorable city for all its visitors, Luang Prabang has numerous temples and traditional Laos buildings, with a hint of French architecture from when it was a part of French Indochine.
Other locations in Laos include Huay Xai, an entry point on the Thai border from where many travellers take the 'slow boat' to Luang Prabang, or Pakse to the south which is a good base for adventurous exploration.