Laos might be a tiny, land-locked nation in Southeast Asia. But what it lacks in size it makes up for with an overload of cultural and natural attractions that rival some of the best in the region. With a history that stretches back over a thousand years, Laos is home to ornate historical Buddhist temples, French colonial architecture and dramatic, mountainous landscapes. Under communist rule for more than 40 years, capital Vientiane offers a balance of old and new, seen in the colonial architecture, museums and evolving dining scene. UNESCO-listed Luang Prabang, the former royal capital, offers a rich mix of French colonial history, Buddhist traditional and natural beauty.