About Laos

Laos, officially known as the Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), is one of the poorest nations in Southeast Asia. A mountainous and landlocked country, Laos shares borders with Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the south, Thailand to the west, and Myanmar and China to the north.

Capital Vientiane
Largest city Vientiane
Official language and national language Lao
Area 237,955 km2 (91,875 sq mi) (84th)
Total Water (%) 2
Population 6,492,228
Currency Kip (LAK)
Time zone ICT

Visa

Below is the Visa information how to obtain on arrival.

Tourists may obtain a visa for $35 upon arrival at the airports in Vientiane and Luang Prabang, and at major border crossings. Two passport-sized photographs are required.

Demographics

The term "Laotian" does not necessarily refer to the Lao language, ethnic Lao people, language or customs. It is a political term that includes the non-ethnic Lao groups within Laos and identifies them as "Laotian" because of their political citizenship. Laos has the youngest population of any country in Asia with a median age of 21.6 years.

Laos' population was estimated at 6.5 million in 2012, dispersed unevenly across the country. Most people live in valleys of the Mekong River and its tributaries. Vientiane prefecture, the capital and largest city, had about 740,010 residents in 2008. The country's population density was 27/km2

Largest cities or towns

1. Vientiane 2. Pakxe
3. Savannakhet 4. Luang Prabang
5. Xam Neua 6. Phonsavan
7. Thakhek 8. Muang Xai
9. Muang Pakxan 10. Vang Vieng

Languages

Laos officially referred to as the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, is a landlocked state situated in Southeast Asia and covers about 236,800 kilometers squares. It is bordered by Thailand to the northeast, Vietnam to the west, China and Myanmar (Burma) to the northwest, and by Cambodia to the south. The country has a total population of about 6.8 million people. Its position has most of the time made it a barrier between its neighboring countries that are more powerful and also an intersection for communication and trade. Global conflict and migration have led to the current ethnic makeup of Laos and to the geographical dispersion of its ethnic communities.

Religion

Buddhism 64.7%
None 31.4%
Christianity 1.7%
Other 2.1%



Culture

In this most Buddhist of nations, it is no surprise that temples are a key attraction. In the capital city of Vientiane, the three-layered gilded stupa of Pha That Luang is the national symbol and most important religious monument in the country, dating from the 16th century. There are numerous other beautiful temples which on their own make a stay in the capital city vital for any visitor to Laos.
The whole of the ancient capital of Luang Prabang is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Befitting that status, this is a truly unique city. Beautifully preserved gilded temples with their attendant orange-robed monks mold almost seamlessly with traditional wooden Lao houses and grand properties from the French colonial era. Spotlessly clean streets with a thriving café culture on the banks of the Mekong and the Nam Khan, complete the picture of a city which is almost too pleasant to be true.
Wat Phu is a ruined Hindu Khmer temple complex in Champasak province. It dates from the 12th century and visitors who have been to Angkor Wat will notice the similarities.

Festivals

Laos is a land of festivals and celebrations. The Lao people love any excuse to have a party or family get together, but while they are all celebrated with enthusiasm, the majority of these festivals are based in the Buddhist faith that dominates the country and hold an important religious significance for Lao people. Festival dates may be flexible as they are tied to the lunar calendar. If you are planning to travel to Laos it is worth trying to take some time to enjoy these special times with the locals, who will welcome your joining any festive event. But be prepared to find towns you might be expecting to be peaceful, to be a lot noisier and more crowded during these times, especially during Pi Mai Lao (Lao New Year in mid-April) in Luang Prabang, Boat Race Festival in Vientiane in October and the Wat Phou festival in Champassak in February.

Many smaller festivals occur in villages and provinces around the country all year depending on the ethnic group living in the area.

Below I have listed the major festivals in order of occurrence throughout the year.

Climate

Laos is the only landlocked country in Southeast Asia, and it lies mostly between latitudes 14° and 23°N (a small area is south of 14°), and longitudes 100° and 108°E. Its thickly forested landscape consists mostly of rugged mountains, the highest of which is Phou Bia at 2,818 metres (9,245 ft), with some plains and plateaus. The Mekong River forms a large part of the western boundary with Thailand, whereas the mountains of the Annamite Range form most of the eastern border with Vietnam and the Luang Prabang Range the northwestern border with the Thai highlands. There are two plateaux, the Xiangkhoang in the north and the Bolaven Plateau at the southern end. The climate is tropical and influenced by the monsoon pattern.[37] There is a distinct rainy season from May to November, followed by a dry season from December to April. Local tradition holds that there are three seasons (rainy, cold and hot) as the latter two months of the climatologically defined dry season are noticeably hotter than the earlier four months. The capital and largest city of Laos is Vientiane and other major cities include Luang Prabang, Savannakhet, and Pakse.

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