Rich in natural beauty and steeped in the culture of the tribes that inhabit its jungle-clad hillsides, northern Laos is one of Southeast Asia’s most precious assets. Moreover, it is relatively under-travelled, making it all the more fascinating for visitors who want to experience the region’s centuries-old traditions. One of the best routes for those who wish to tackle northern Laos is the Phongsaly Loop. Kicking off in the former royal capital of Luang Prabang, the journey encompasses everything from golden temples to hotels built in former Chinese consulates. There’s little doubt that one of the area’s chief draws are its spectacular landscapes, which are among the most affecting in the whole of Asia. Expect a charming tapestry of mist-shrouded mountains that tumble down to spectacular river valleys. Unsurprisingly, trekking is a highlight with routes taking walkers through evergreen mountains and on to spectacular ridges.
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