Laos is a mountainous, landlocked country of 6.5 million people, lying virtually forgotten between Thailand and Vietnam. It is one of the poorest countries in Asia, but is culturally rich with 49 officially-recognized ethnic groups.
There are few grand sights comparable to Angkor, Halong Bay, or the beaches of southern Thailand. Laos is a tourist backwater, and that is its attraction – you can relax and really have a vacation. Action-seekers can go trekking in the north or tubing on the Mekong, but inevitably wind up kicking back with a Beer Lao.