Laid-back and unassuming, Laos is one of the region’s most intriguing travel destinations. Editor Chad Merchant visits the UNESCO World Heritage town of Luang Prabang and finds it the country’s perfect starting point.
With the smallest population of any ASEAN country bigger than a postage stamp – sorry, Singapore and Brunei, we’re looking at you – Laos is about as close to being the region’s undiscovered country as you could imagine. It doesn’t have ancient temples like Angkor Wat or Borobudur to draw history and archaeology buffs, there are no beaches (as it’s ASEAN’s only landlocked nation), and there are no glitzy cities or shopping meccas anywhere within its borders. You might think tourism would be a hard sell in a place like Laos, and in some regards, you would probably be right.