Southern Laos, bordered on the west by the Mekong (with Thailand on the far side), with Cambodia to the south and Vietnam across the mountains to the east, offers a great diversity of attractions in close proximity. Some of the larger towns have large Vietnamese and Chinese populations and feel distinctly Indochinese, while Champasak still carries the unexpected air of a former tiny Lao royal principality. Travellers seeking insights into ancient history and culture will want to linger at the Khmer temple of Wat Phu, while the Si Phan Don (Four Thousand Islands) region will fascinate those with an interest in geology, colonial relics, natural beauty and current Lao rural lifestyle. The temperate Bolaven Plateau is home to a number of Mon-Khmer minorities; it offers superlative natural beauty, but still bears some scars from the Second Indochina War. Attapeu is, literally, the end of the road in southern Laos - but this is precisely its appeal.