Laos pleasantly surprised me...the people are some of the friendliest I've met. Life seems far more relaxing here than in other SE Asian countries. It is one of the poorest countries in the region but everyone seem to be well looked after.
Luang Prabang in the northern part of the country is an absolute delight...it exudes a timeless charm with its many temples and monks. I recommend that you read Michael Buckley's description of Luang Prabang, and his travel guide book "Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos Handbook" (Moon Publications).
The country is the least commercialised of the SE Asian countries and as such it's a welcome relief to get there after all the hustle and bustle of the other countries. I fear Laos may change and lose it's charm...and as a tourist I know that I may have contributed to it. But I understand the needs of the country to exploit resources. Perhaps more "eco-tourism" is in order...