Landlocked and, to some extent, 'culture-locked,' Laos provides visitors with a sense of returning to a more relaxed time, where the urgency of modern life is wonderfully absent. Even in the capital, Vientiane, life ambles along only a little faster than the languid Mekong River that flows past the city. In the historic royal city of Luang Prabang – a UNESCO World Heritage site – hundreds of monks in saffron robes glide between centuries-old temples. In this historic city, you will also find luxurious boutique hotels and an incredible food scene drawing on French and local traditions. Outside of the cities, visitors can discover the haunting Plain of Jars and the majestic Four Thousand Islands (Si Phan Don), where the Mekong River expands, and its waters gather pace.