Fodor's Expert Review Nam Ngum Lake
Forested mountains surround this island-dotted reservoir lake that's accessible by car from Vientiane. Floating restaurants here serve freshly caught lake fish, and there's a large hotel complex, the Dansavanh Nam Ngum Resort. Visitors with plenty of time to explore Laos's countryside may want to skip this trip—there are far better destinations—but those on tight schedules will enjoy the opportunity to experience rural Laos without having to venture too far from Vientiane. Getting here by public transportation is time-consuming. A better option is to take a tour. Green Discovery Laos conducts excellent day trips, 2 million kip ($246) for two people, that include a boat ride on the lake and visits to markets, fishing villages, and salt-extraction cooperatives.