Due to its isolation and basic infrastructure, Laos has maintained itself as a backwater destination of south east Asia, not attracting even a quarter of the tourists that visit Thailand and Japan. However, from this separation and lack of economy, it manages to preserve the traditional way of life. For travelers, if you want to step off the beaten path, this is the best trail to start on.

What to do

The Plain of Jars, designated a UNESCO sight, is a perfect example of the mystical, old world sensibility that is one of the main attractions of Laos. Thought to be part of an ancient caravan route, the jars are massive rock objects sometimes ten feet tall. Unfortunately, thousands of unexploded bombs strewn throughout the plains that make up the jar sites limit visitors to only a few of the areas with jars. The rest are all considered too dangerous.

That Luang (the Royal Stupa) is perhaps the one un-missable sight in Laos. A religious monument, reportedly Laos' most important religious building, the temple's golden spires reach up into the sky and are visible for miles.

Read 5 Dishes No Traveler to Laos Should Leave Without Trying

Getting there

Laos is sandwiched between Vietnam and Thailand, and it would be wasting a great opportunity not to see those countries while you're in the area. If you want to start your trip in Laos, there are flights into the country, although they will be more expensive than flights into Thailand.

Where to stay

Laos has a decent hospitality infrastructure and enough beds to accommodate all of its tourists. Hotels are available in several of the bigger cities, hostels are even more common and more affordable.