Lao tourism

Laos Travel

The small country of Laos, officially the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, a mushroom-shaped landlocked country with an area of 236,800 sq km, is surrounded by Thailand to its west, Cambodia to its south, Vietnam to its southeast and running parallel to it all the way along its east, China to its north and abuts Myanmar to its northwest. It is infamous as an opium growing region, part of the “Golden Triangle.”

Laos Tours

by David McKelvey

It has an unhappy past in that the French exercised control over it till 1954, when it gained independence as a Monarchy, with the caveat that a French military mission would stay on to protect its interests. The US took over this role, dragging it into the Vietnam War, where it sided with the Communist Pathet Lao. It was bombed relentlessly by the US forces and holds the unwanted record of being “the most bombed city in the world.” In 1975, King Savang Vatthana abdicated to the Pathet Lao, which christened the country as the “Lao People’s Democratic Republic”.

Laos Hotels

by Prince Roy

Laos’ thickly forested interior consists mostly of rugged mountains, with Phou Bia the highest at 2,817 m, along with accompanying plains and plateaus. The climate is wet tropical. May to November sees heavy rain, while December to April remains dry. Vientiane, its biggest city is also its capital, the other cities of note being Savannakhet, Luang Prabang and Pakxe. Of the population of over five million, almost 60% profess Theravada Buddhism. Many are animists, or spirit worshipers. The Vietnamese settlers profess a mix of Mahayana Buddhism and Confucianism.

Buddha Park

by Adam_BT

Laos has a unique culture, quite different from its neighbours. Buddha images “Calling for Rain” posture is not seen in other Southeast Asian Buddhist art. It also has its own version of the Hindu epic ‘Ramayana’. Its popular folk music uses a unique wind instrument called the khaen, to which tunes the locals dance the lamvong, a whirling folk dance.

Lao economy depends on trade with Thailand, Vietnam, and China. Pakxe has experienced cross-border trade growth with Thailand and Vietnam. But the country is also dependent on foreign aid. Laos has no railways or roads worth the name, barring its central national highway. Employment is virtually self-employment on rice plantations. Industrial growth is being fuelled by the momentum that tourism imparts. Economic development has also been hindered by brain drain.

Lao National Museum

by David McKelvey

Vientiane, situated in the Mekong Valley, has a population of 250,000 while the Vientiane metropolitan area houses over 730,000. Its sights are Buddha Park; Haw Phra Kaew, former temple, now a museum; Lao National Museum; Patuxay monument; Pha That Luang, a Buddhist stupa and the Wat Sok Pa Luang, a Buddhist temple, among others. The other cities, Luang Prabang, Champasak and Vang Vieng also have historical monuments. The Plain of Jars is worth a visit. Wattay International Airport serves Vientiane, and the country’s national airline, Lao Airlines is also quite active. There is no shortage of accommodation in Laos. Caution needs to be exercised against malarial mosquitos.

A passport and visa are required. Visas are also issued on arrival. Laos time is UTC + 7 hours.

Local currency is the Kip and the exchange rate is 1 US Dollar = 8,650 Kip (LAK).

Date posted: 19th July, 2018

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