|Southeast Destination 2: Laos
Immediately after Vietnam, I was sent to Laos. Laos is a landlocked country between Vietnam, Burma, Cambodia, Thailand, and China. It is not as developed as the neighboring countries because it is landlocked and lacks ports. Of course, being a communist country doesn't exactly help either. However open the economy may be, policies have to filter through corruption of the politians at hand. With that said, Laos is a beautiful place. And if you love mountains, boy do I have the route for you. Take 13 North All the way from Vientiane to Luang Prabang. In the middle, stop by Vang Vieng. It's about a 10-hour drive through mesmerizing mountains; totally, totally georgous (if you're not throwing up like I was).
I was sent there to continue our series on "Neighboring Orients." I covered Vientiane, the capital, and roamed around the country with another reporter. What a lovely city. Just lovely. No traffic (yet). Friendliest people you'll ever find (more so than Texas, can you believe it?)
Definitely stay in Inter City Hotel, eat the grilled fish and watch the sunset right next to Mekong River while sipping on Beerlao. A very worthwhile trip, including the $500 peachy cell phone bill.