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Travel special 2014: Breakfast on bed on a rail journey from Hanoi to

Springtime, just before the new century began. As Laos is now the new Cambodia, Vietnam was then the new Thailand, and my girlfriend and I had arrived – with our backpacks – to see what all the fuss was about. The capital Hanoi had dazzled, and we were due to take the train 420 miles down the coast to Hué. We were late, though. We were always late.

On The Road: Deep underground in the footsteps of revolutionaries

Tae bumped down on the bed frame and it cracked. Startled, he leapt up and uttered a deferential apology to the room. This was no ordinary bed but one belonging to a senior cadre of the Pathet Lao, the Laos communist leadership that had operated from a series of 480 caves deep in the north-east of the country to escape US bombardment between 1964 and 1973.

Vang Pao Soldier whose leadership of Hmong fighters led to his

Vang Pao was a fabled Hmong war veteran who led by example and exuded bravery, fighting a covert CIA-sponsored war against Laos Communist insurgents and Viet Minh in Laos during the Vietnam War. The General, once described as the "biggest hero of the Vietnam War" by the former CIA Director William Colby, went on to become the revered leader of the Hmong exiles in the United States.

Cluster bombs kill another child as nations reach accord

International delegates meeting in Laos – the most heavily bombed nation on earth as a result of a huge US bombing campaign during the Vietnam war, and where 80 million landmines still cause death and tragedy on a near-daily basis – have agreed on a new plan to help rid the world of cluster munitions. The agreement came as a 10-year-old Laotian girl was killed by a cluster bomb.

The Big Six: Mekong river retreats

Sister hotel to the French colonial FCC Phnom Penh, the Quay Hotel is a 16-room hideaway beside the river. It's minimal and contemporary: think Arne Jacobsen Swan chairs, plasma screen TVs and ergonomic design. The hotel also provides local communities with coal-free cookers and was built using natural and recycled materials: environmentally aware and slick and stylish to boot.

Rare saola dies in captivity

The first confirmed sighting in more than a decade of one of the rarest animals in the world, described as the "Asian unicorn", was revealed today.

Pregnant Briton jailed in Laos flown home

A pregnant Briton sentenced to life imprisonment in Laos for trafficking heroin flew home Thursday to serve the remainder of her sentence, just weeks before she was due to give birth.

More headlines

Pregnant Briton 'will get fair trial'

A pregnant British woman who faces possible death by firing squad for allegedly smuggling heroin will get a fair trial, officials in Laos insisted today.