Laos Country Guide

 
 

Buddhist monks by GuillaumeG

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. With a land area of 237,000 sq. km. (91,400 sq. miles) and a population of only 6.5 million (2012), Laos has the lowest population density in Southeast Asia.
 
 
 
 
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Laos in the region from (CIA) World Factbook

Understand
Despite being just one hour by air from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok, life in Laos has continued much in the same way it has for hundreds of years, although things are now slowly beginning to change. In the mid-90s the government reversed its stance on tourism, and then declared 1998 "Visit Laos Year". Despite governments efforts, monks still outnumbered tourists throughout the country. This is now rapidly changing, with tourist numbers rising every year.

Why Visit Laos

Thailand promotes itself as amazing, Vietnam can well be described as bustling, Cambodia's Khmer temples are awe-inspiring but the adjective most often applied to Laos is "forgotten". Although there are a few grand (but relatively unheard of) attractions, visitors who are drawn by the laid-back lifestyle and opportunity to watch the sunsets on the Mekong River will simply explain the attraction by revealing that the true meaning of "Lao PDR" is "Please Don't Rush"! Laos is the least Westernised of the countries in Indochina and seem to be lost in time.

Former Royal Palace in Luang Prabang by dalbera

Vientiane is the capital and largest city in Laos, with an estimated population of 236,000 (2012). Despite being the largest city, Vientiane is a laid-back "cosmopolitan village". After you are done visiting the Buddhist temples in Vientiane, the next best thing is to walk along the Mekong River and enjoy the scenic view. Luang Prabang was the former capital of Laos and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a charming town, home to 50,000 people, featuring golden roof temples, wooden houses and European architecture.

The Ban Nan Trail is a two-day trekking tour in Northern Laos passing through villages, forests, rice fields and rivers. Champasak is a province in Southern Laos and home to several ancient Khmer ruins, which together are a World Heritage Site. Vang Vieng is a backpacker hangout for exploring limestone caves and tubing on the Nam Song River. Tha Khaek is a popular base for exploring the Phou Hin Boun National Park. Nong Khiaw is home to beautiful Karst cliffs where you'll discover hill tribe villages

Saffron-robed Buddhist monks by Benh LIEU SONG

Climate
Laos has three distinct seasons. The hot season is from March to May, when temperatures can soar as high as 40°C (104°F). The slightly cooler wet season is from May to October, when temperatures are around 30°C (86°F). Tropical downpours are frequent (especially July-August) and in some years the Mekong River floods. The dry season from November to March, experiences low rainfall and temperatures as low as 15°C (59°F) and 0°C (32°F) in the mountains at night. This is also the peak of the tourist season in Laos.

 
Laos
Country Guide

Laos Hotels
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Champasak
Huay Xai
Louang Namtha
Luang Prabang
Muang Sing
Pakse
Phonsavan
Savannakhet
Thakhek
Vang Vieng
Vientiane

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