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Southern Laos

Southern Laos is one of the most charming and unspoiled areas to be found in modern Asia. Stepping onto one of the picturesque islands is like stepping back in time.

The quiet and unassuming town of Pakse is usually the gateway to access the charms of Southern Laos. Pakse is easily reached by plane from Vientiane, Bangkok or Siem Reap.

From Pakse, you can board a traditional rice barge, now converted into a 12 cabin vessel which sails this beautiful stretch of the Mekong. Alternatively, head off on your own steam to visit the pre-Angkorian temple of Wat Phou in Champassak. Allow your guide to explain the mysterious origins of this temple and its ancient practices.

Head deeper into Southern Laos and discover the beautiful Four Thousand Islands region. Here, the Mekong River has formed several small islets and islands, a handful of which are inhabited and even fewer of which have electricity. None of the islands have roads or vehicles and the slow pace of life is utterly charming. Using one of the simple guesthouses as your base, explore picturesque waterfalls, see crumbling colonial architecture and take a boat ride to look for the rare Irawaddy river dolphins.

North of Pakse, travellers can visit the Bolaven Plateau which is home to lovely waterfalls, ethnic minority hilltribes, coffee plantations and a large protected bio-diversity area. This is a rewarding area to explore but as with most of Southern Laos, accommodation is on the basic side.

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ISLAND OF THE MONTH: ZANZIBAR

HOT NEW OPENING: ZURI ZANZIBAR 

Opening its driftwood doors to the world this month, Zuri Zanzibar is a hip and chic 'daring-to-be-different' hotel. Located on the Spice Island's north-western shores, Zuri Zanzibar is a super-stylish boutique bolthole set to break design boundaries and delight all those who visit.

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ISLAND OF THE MONTH: ZANZIBAR

HOT NEW OPENING: ZURI ZANZIBAR 

Opening its driftwood doors to the world this month, Zuri Zanzibar is a hip and chic 'daring-to-be-different' hotel. Located on the Spice Island's north-western shores, Zuri Zanzibar is a super-stylish boutique bolthole set to break design boundaries and delight all those who visit.