Appreciate life in its purist form.
A serene stop for trade boats, Pakbeng is nestled on the banks of the Mekong. This one-street town offers you striking views of the river and the chance to investigate local offerings. Explore the colourful markets selling local specialties such as dried frogs on sticks or relax on shore before boarding the slow boat to Luang Prabang.
Taste food's finest colours.
Luang Prabang is a majestic mix of French colonial architecture and Buddhist Wats. The town's incredible Phousi Mountain offers panoramic views of the Wat Xieng Thong temple and the bustling silk and cotton markets. Here you can taste the country's most sought-after delicacies such as Ô-Lam dill stew and fried Mekong river weed, or even grilled insects.
Plain of Jars
Visit south-east Asia's Stonehenge.
Nobody knows which civilisation created this vast mystery in the Xieng Khouang Province, south-east of Luang Prabang. Giant stone jars - some the size of cars - are scattered across miles of rolling landscape, creating a visual spectacle that's as awe-inspiring as it is baffling. Why were they built? And when? And for whom?
Savour Laos' coffee-fuelled capital.
Perched on the curve of the Mekong River, Laos' welcoming capital is surprisingly multicultural. This is reflected in its culinary options, with excellent French, Indian, Thai, Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants serving both Lao and specialty dishes. Vientiane's unusual sights, coffee culture and bougainvillea blooming streets delineate a recorded history that stretches back to around 1,000 AD.
4000 Islands and the Bolaven Plateau
Experience waterfalls and river cruises.
An archipelago within the Mekong River, this laid-back and labyrinthine jewel has charmed many a traveller to stay longer than expected. During the rainy season, the widest point of the river can stretch to 14km, with possibilities in the surrounding national parks for cycling, swimming, boat cruises and dolphin spotting.
From Laos in the north, the Mekong winds its way into Cambodia, home of the astonishing temples of Angkor - monuments of a vast, ancient civilisation.
Cambodia has blossomed from the tragic legacy of the Khmer Rouge regime into a thriving, peaceful and ethnically diverse country, offering an awe-inspiring travel destination for more than 4 million tourists a year.
Kompong Thom and Sambor
Cruise into the sunset.
Two hours north of Siem Reap you'll find the home to ruins that are far older than the more iconic Angkor temples. Perched on the floodplain of Cambodia's great lake Tonlé Sap, Kompong Thom is used as base camp from which to explore the pre-Angkorian temples of Sambor Prei Kuk, dating back to the 7th Century.
Delve into Cambodia's unpredictable past.
Founded in 1434 and once the 'Pearl of Asia', Cambodia's bustling capital has paid the price for war and revolution. It stands at the centre of economic and industrial activity, politics, cultural heritage and diplomacy but bears the scars of a tragic past. No picture of Cambodia is complete without a visit however, and the rewards run just as deep. Deep-fried tarantula anyone?
Unwind in a colonial seaside retreat.
Nibble on crab in the abundant seafood shacks and admire the spectacular sunsets in this stunning resort near the Bokor National Park. A decadent combination of broken-down French and Indochinese glamour, the clear waters and white sands make for a place of relaxation in between boating, bicycling and hiking.
Explore the gateway to the great Angkor temples.
An otherwise remote jungle location, Siem Reap has morphed into a bustling stop-off for visitors to the temples of Angkor. Yet the town has a charm all of its own and is home to some of the country's best dining experiences, nightlife and theatre. Siem Reap is a cultural melting pot, where the culinary traditions of the Khmer people mix with centuries of French colonialism.
Ride the bamboo railway.
Bamboo trains, known as "norry" in Khmer, consist of a wooden frame, bamboo decking and wheels salvaged from wartime tanks. Norry are for the more adventurous of course, but Battambang (literally 'city by the river') also boasts galleries, art deco mixed with colonial architecture and Cambodia's best-known and much-loved circus, the Phare Ponleu Selpak.