Laos is a small country famous for its relaxed atmosphere. A great way to extend a tour of northern Thailand is to combine it with Laos. Most visitors to Laos travel to the capital Vientiane from Bangkok and then head north to enchanting Luang Prabang. This is a truly unique city with beautifully preserved gilded temples, orange-robed monks, traditional wooden Lao houses and grand properties from the French colonial era. From the energy of Bangkok to the calm of Laos, this trip is a study in contrasts.