Laos is a small landlocked country in south-east Asia surrounded by Burma, China, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. With a population of around 7 million people, the country only became independent of France in 1953 and has an economy largely reliant on tourism. Most visitors arrive in the country via the international airport in the capital, Vientiane, or the northern city of Luang Prabang; although some backpackers travel over the border from the surrounding countries. These two cities are also the main tourist hubs of the country with the capital in particular having plenty of historical temples and parks.

The geography of the country tends to be mountainous and heavily forested and the climate tends to be tropical with a rainy season from May to November. The dry season follows from December to April and this is generally considered to be the best time to visit. The quality of accommodation varies throughout the country with the best serviced apartments in Laos to be found in the capital, Luang Prabang, Savannakhet and Pakse. Eco-tourism is also very popular with people wishing to experience the wild countryside and traditional small village life outside of the cities. Local tour operators offer all kinds of excursions such as hiking and elephant trekking through the jungle.

Cities of Laos