What a relief arriving in Laos after the hectic and overcrowded Vietnam. The country is roughly as big as Germany, but has 7 million inhabitants. In addition, the country is not yet inundated by mass tourism, there are many small, unspoilt places and even animals, in contrast to Vietnam, have survived. One would actually have to travel much longer in this country to really discover it. The great Mekong River is the country's lifeline, Vang Vieng is the backpacker’s paradise and Luang Prabang is more for those who are interested in culture. The capital Vientiane, with the Lao name Viang Chang, doesn't offer much besides temples and good restaurants. Basically, however, people are very open and friendly and easy to get in touch with.