Laos offers tourists countless accommodation options, whether it be a modest guesthouse for the five dollar a day, budget backpacker, or renovated colonial hotel for a family with a taste for the finer things in life. For eco-travellers or those who simply prefer the great outdoors, the latest approach to tourism provision is eco-lodge accommodation, a tremendous alternative to the bricks and mortar of the cityscape. Homestays also provide a great way to see the other side of Laos, with total absorption in the idyllic culture of this ancient land. Alternatively, overnight cruises along the Mekong River are becoming popular amongst visitors. It's possible to combine a Mekong cruise with a stay in one of the country's finest hotels such as Luang Say Residence in Luang Prabang.
Laos three main tourist destinations are the vivacious capital of Vientiane, action packed Vang Vieng, and historically steeped Luang Prabang. While many international hotel chains have claimed a slice of the high-end sector in recent years, an abundance of amiable family-run guesthouses and hotels can still be found scattered around the cities. The majority of these copacetic guesthouses generally just admit walk-in guests, whereas advanced booking is highly recommended for the grander hotels at the top of the accommodation ladder, particularly during high season and Lao New Year.
Vientiane occasionally referred to as Viangchan and Wiangchan contains a myriad of lodgings and is home to Laos first five-star property, a 14-storey hotel and the countrys tallest building. The up and coming capital is bestrewn with placatory temples and stimulating sights, emitting an atmosphere not usually found within cities, emphasised by the colonial architecture and panoramic gardens. A few year ago, the government implemented restrictions on the number of new hotels and resort permits, in order to reduce the growing number and concentrate on architectural quality, chiefly in Luang Prabang, a UNESCO World Heritage site. A number of the luxury hotels in the city are colonial style residences like Luang Say Residnece, converted with the addition of mod cons and lavish furnishings, while retaining a regal air of 19th century nostalgia. The adventure-tourism hotspot of Vang Vieng is inundated with cheerful guesthouses, ideal for the increasing number of budget backpackers the town has attracted over recent years. Its main appeal is inner tubing and kayaking on the Nam Song River and rock climbing, set in incredible landscapes. There are also higher-end accommodation alternatives for those thrill seekers who prefer to stay in a little more luxury.
The majority of Laos hotels and resorts are within close proximity of the main attractions, due in part to the vast array of historical, natural and spiritual sights and modestly-sized cities. The easiest way to explore Vang Vieng is by foot, while the archaic attractions of Luang Prabang are best experienced on a bicycle. Day trips are straightforward and allow tourists to indulge in holiday pleasures at their leisure. Paired with the warm and embracing attitude of the country, Laos has become a jewel in the crown of South East Asia.