John Henderson, Los Angeles Times:
In 1990, about 14,400 people visited landlocked Laos. By 2015, that number had swollen to 4.7 million. A country the World Bank ranked among the 10 poorest in the world in 1991 is now at 118.
I spent three weeks in February 2017 traversing the country, trekking along the northern border with China and kayaking along the Mekong River on the southern tip near Cambodia.
I started in the middle of the country, going north, then heading south, which seems not to make sense on its face but was faster than traveling north to south or the other way around.