Named "Land of a Million Elephants and the White Parasol" by Fa Ngum, a Cambodia-backed Lao prince who married a Khmer princess and ascended the throne as a result. The tradition seems to have continued into the 20th century, where the last king Sisavong also married a Khmer princess (granted she was one of 15 wives he had). The culture and food of Laos has some similarity to its neighbours Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand - yet it has managed to avoid the rapid development and transformation that its neighbours have undergone.
Laos is considered "off the beaten track". Not the easiest of countries to travel to, literally four international airlines fly in and out of the capital Vientiane (China Eastern, Vietnam Air, Air Asia and Thai Airways).