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Laos Travel guide

Boats on Mekong River at sunset, Luang Prabang, Laos Laos, Vientiane, Pha That Luang Buddhist Stupa Temple, Statue Laos, Muang Sing, rizière
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Laos : Michelin's recommendations

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The former "kingdom of a million elephants", which has been governed by a single political party since 1975, is gradually beginning to develop an environmentally friendly tourist industry. Laos, which boasts a history dating back to before the Christian era, and is strongly influenced by the Khmer and Dvaravati civilisations, has suffered long periods of foreign domination, firstly by the kingdom of Siam and later by France, as can often be seen in its urban architecture. Most importantly, the country was damaged and divided by the Vietnam War, the scars of which are still apparent, especially along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Marked by this troubled past and by persistent poverty, Laos is nonetheless a gentle country with luxuriant natural landscapes, many of which have yet to be explored. Bordered to the west by the life-giving Mekong river, Laos is a long and land-locked country, surrounded by Thailand to the west, Vietnam to the east, China and Burma to the north and Cambodia to the south. Agriculture, fishing and forestry account for 80% of the activity of its multi-ethnical population, which has largely maintained its traditional way of life. To the background of Khen music (the country's national instrument), discover the capital Vientiane, renowned for its eclectic architecture, Luang Prabang, an important centre of Buddhism, the magnificent site of Vat Phu, the thousand-year-old Plain of Jars, the waterfalls of the Boloven plateau and numerous other splendid, mysterious and spiritual sights, all of which command the greatest respect and admiration.

Laos - See all cities and regions

Laos : Must-see towns and regions

  • Viang Chan

    The architecture and atmosphere of the Laos capital, Vientiane, which extends along a meander of the Mekong, tell the story of its history, which has been marked by successive periods of occupation. T...

  • Vangviang

    Vangviang, in a beautiful natural setting on the banks of the Nam Song river is popular with outdoor pursuits enthusiasts who come here to go rafting on the river, climb the karstic cliffs, and go pot...

  • Luang Prabang

    Luang Prabang is one of the most beautiful cities in South-East Asia and fully justifies its UNESCO status. Overlooked by the Phu Si hill, the country’s former royal capital is situated at the conflue...

  • Muang Ngoy stands in an extraordinary natural setting between cliffs dotted with caves (Tham Kang, Tham Pha Kaeo), forests and a river. Despite the difficulties in access, this Lao village on a penins...

  • Destroyed during the Vietnam War, the former capital of the Phuan kingdom has preserved a few vestiges from its illustrious past, such as the Wat Phia, a temple with a large seated Buddha, and the Tha...

  • Muang Sing

    Nestled in a tranquil setting on the plain, surrounded by rice fields, Muang Sing is home to several ethnic groups who still wear their splendid traditional costumes. Learn more about this cultural he...

  • Ban Houayxay

    Located on the Thai border, Ban Houayxay extends along the Mekong, a vital river which has made the town’s fortune, based around tourism, trade with neighbouring China and Thailand, and the fishing of...

  • Situated in the heart of the province of Salavan, the remote village of Tat Lo, which is very popular with travellers, owes its fame to the waterfalls along the river: heading away from the centre you...

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