Northern Laos, like Vientiane in the Central region, is dominated by a singular city: Luang Prabang, the former capital of Laos and a UNESCO World Heritage city. The main road, Xiang Thong, of Luang Prabang is a wonderful patchwork of traditional Lao wooden houses and hints of European architecture - reminders of when Laos was part of the French colony of Indochine. Golden-roofed wats (temples), decorated with mosaics and murals of the life of Buddha sit under the gaze of wrap-around balconies and 19th century shuttered windows. As a visitor, you cannot help but be amazed by the tidiness and cleanliness of perhaps the most charming city in all of southeast Asia. With UNESCO so closely involved, and a largely responsible group of local business owners, the pressures of mass tourism development have been held at bay, but for how much longer, remains to be seen. The region is served internationally by Luang Prabang airport which has scheduled flights from Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Hanoi and Siem Reap and domestically from Vientiane in Central Laos. Visa-on-arrival is available at Luang Prabang airport and the price is variable based upon your nationality. You need a passport picture to obtain a visa. If you don't have one, they'll scan your picture from your passport and charge you an additional $1.