Landlocked Laos is one of the world's few remaining communist states.
Luang Prabang Kingdom (18th-19th century) was established after the golden age of Lan Xang Kingdom (14th-18th century). This prosperous kingdom left Laos with many examples of the kingdom's architecture, the Royal Palace in Luang Prabang and Vientiane.
Laos was a French colony until 1953, which led to the introduction of European architecture, education and cuisine. Its history has been marked by political instability and conflict, particularly during the Vietnam War.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Luang Prabang, which features many important Buddhist temples and traditional Lao architecture, is a testament to Laos' rich cultural history and attracts many visitors each year.