Laos

Sandwiched between the three most popular of Southeast Asian destinations, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand, Laos is in the midst of a transformation. Still a largely agrarian society, the small country of Laos is nevertheless extremely diverse, culturally, ethnically, and ecologically. Morning in Luang Prabang ushers hundreds of Buddhist monks into the streets to collect alms. Mid-afternoon unveils the sweet aromas of sticky rice and marinated meats. And evening sees the sun falling over the orchids and garden houses outside the capital of Vientiane. Among seasoned travelers, Laos is beloved for its authentic devotion to tradition. In other words, the nation has not yet been overtaken by the influx of tourism. It's Asia, as you've always imagined it.