A complex and fascinating ethnology comprises 49 distinct groups, still speaking their own languages and living traditional rural lifestyles. The mountainous north offers remote lodges and everything for lovers of the great outdoors. Trekking, mountain biking and river trips are enjoyed before cooling off under crashing waterfalls. The meandering Mekong runs the length of the country before disappearing in to Cambodia. Southern Laos offers coffee plantations, dramatic waterfalls and the 5th Century Hindu temple of Wat Phou, which is one of the oldest in Southeast Asia.