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Destination Lao, a virtual travel to Lan Xang, the "Land of a Million Elephants". This page aims to give you a broad overview of Lao's art, culture, people, environment, geography, history, economy and government.
Beside a country profile with facts and figures, the page contains links to sources which provide you with all the information you need to know about this Southeast Asian nation, e.g.: official web sites of Laos, addresses of Lao and foreign embassies, domestic airlines, city- and country guides with extensive travel and tourism information on accommodation, tourist attractions, events and more like weather information, maps, statistics and local newspapers from Laos.

Presidential Palace, Vientiane
Presidential Palace, Vientiane
Photo ©

Lao People's Democratic Republic | Laos

Country Profile

Laos Flag
Flag of Lao People's Democratic Republic

Royal Laos Flag
Royal Laos National Flag until 1975
Where in Asia is Laos?

Official Name:
Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon Lao
short form: Lao
int'l long form: Lao People's Democratic Republic
abreviation: Lao PDR
int'l short form: Lao(s)

ISO Country Code: ls

Local Time = UTC +7h
Actual Time: Sun-June-25  21:01

Country Calling Code: +856

Capital City: Vientiane - Viangchan (pop. 640 000) 

Other Cities: Savannakhet, Luang Prabang, Pakse, Thakhek.

Type: Communist state.
Independence: 19 July 1949 (from France).

Location: in center of Southeast Asian peninsula, northeast of Thailand, west of Vietnam.
Area: 236,800 kmĀ² (91,430 sq. mi.)
Terrain: The country has three distinct regions: rugged mountains in north, plateaus, alluvial plains.
Highest peak: Phou Bia in Xieng Khouang province 2 800 m.

Climate: Tropical monsoon; rainy season (May to November); dry season (November to April).

Nationality: Lao.
Term for Citizens: Laotian(s).
Population: 6.25 million (2010)
Ethnic groups: Lao Loum (lowland): 68%; Lao Theung (upland): 22%; Lao Soung (highland) 9%, including the Hmong and the Yao; and ethnic Vietnamese and Chinese: 1%.
Religions: Theravada Buddhism, animism among highland groups.
Languages: Lao (official), French, various highland ethnic, English.
Literacy: 53%.

Natural resources: unspoilt tropical forest, timber, hydropower, gypsum, tin, gold, gemstones.

Agriculture products: Rice, sweet potatoes, vegetables, corn, coffee, sugarcane, tobacco, cotton, tea, peanuts, water buffalo, pigs, cattle, poultry.

Industries: Tin and gypsum mining, timber, electric power, agricultural processing, construction, garments, tourism.

Currency: (New) Kip

Laos in numbers
Lao PDR Key Statistical Data.

Laos is the least developed asian landlocked country, surrounded by China in the north, Burma (Myanmar) to the north-west, Thailand in the south-west, Cambodia (Kampuchia) in the south-east, and Vietnam to the east.
Most Laotians are subsistence farmers, and rice is the principal crop. Forestry is economically important, but mining and manufacturing are limited. Barter is the prevalent method of exchange in rural commerce. The unit of currency in Laos is the new kip (921.13 new kips equal U.S.$1; 1996).
After 600 years of being a monachy, at the end of the Vietnam War in 1975, Laos has been ruled by a one-party Communist Government. Although Laos is opening its door to the West, under the 1991 constitution, Laos continues to be a one-party centralised system as specified in the constitution in Article 3: "The rights of the multi-ethnic people to be the masters of the country are exercised and ensured through the functioning of the political system with the Lao People's Revolutionary Party as its leading nucleus".
For the day to day running of the country, the executive governmental power is held by a president, who is chosen by an elected National Assembly, in accordance with article 3 above, to serve a five-year term.
(Source: Laos WWW Virtual Library)

border countries: Cambodia, China, Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, Vietnam

related countries: France, United States

Note: External links will open in a new browser window.  

Official Sites of Lao

The National Assembly of Lao People's Democratic Republic
Official website, with information about Laos and the National Assembly.

National Assembly building, Vientiane
National Assembly building, Vientiane
Photo ©

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lao P.D.R.
Official website of the ministry.

Diplomatic Missions
Permanent Mission of the Lao PDR to the United Nations
Lao's representation to the UN.
Embassy of the Lao People's Democratic Republic in the U.S.
With information on Lao.
Lao Embassy Bangkok
The Embassy of the Lao P.D.R in Thailand.
Lao Diplomatic Missions Abroad
Address list of Lao Missions Abroad.
Diplomatic Missions in the Lao PDR
Address list of Diplomatic Missions in the Lao PDR and Neighbouring Countries.
Tourist Survival Page
Foreign Embassies, Emergencies Contacts, Entry Procedures.

Lao National Statistic Center
Lao PDR in figures.


profile Map of Lao PDR
Political map of Laos.

Google Earth Google Earth Laos
Searchable map and satellite view of Laos.
Google Earth Google Earth Map Vientiane
Searchable map and satellite view of Lao's capital city.
Google Earth Google Earth Map Pha That Luang
Satellite view of Lao's national monument.
Google Earth Google Earth Vat Phou
Satellite view of world heritage site of Vat Phou temple.

Map of Southeast Asia
Map of the Southeast Asia region.
profile Map of Asia
Reference Map of Asia.


Lao News

Khaosan Pathet Lao
Lao News Agency.

Vientiane Mai
Online news (in Lao)
Vientiane Times
Official news from Laos, English-language weekly.
News headlines (pdf format in Lao)

Le Rénovateur
French language news paper, Vientiane.
US based site with Lao news and information.

Lao National Radio
With News in Lao, Hmong and English.
Radio Free Asia
US based news about East Asia and Laos.

International News Sources
BBC News Country Profile: Laos
With links to Laos related news and background information.
Google News Laos
Press agencies news on Laos

Human Rights
Amnesty International: Laos
Amnesty International Reports.
Human Rights Watch: Laos
Background Briefings.

Press freedom
Reporters sans frontières - Laos
Annual report 2007 about Press freedom in the country.

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Arts & Culture

Library of Laos
Provides information on Lao culture.

Laos Photo Gallery
Pictures from central and northern Laos.
A young generation Lao portal and online magazine.

Lao Textiles
Carol Cassidy's Lao Textiles workshop, studio and gallery for handwoven silk.

The art of authentic lao silk.

Asian Historical Architecture
With domestic architecture photos from Luang Prabang and Vientiane, Laos.
Silk Yarns
Silk yarn at Lao Textiles, Vientiane
© 2007

Business & Economy

Lao Trade Promotion Center
Lao trade information by Trade Information Division.

Lao PDR Yellow Pages
Find Lao companies and institutions.

Lao Airlines
Laos' national carrier.

Destination Laos - Travel and Tour Guides

Discover Laos: accommodation, hotels, attractions, festivals, events, tourist boards, and much more.

Lao National Tourism Administration
Official website with comprehensive information for people who want to visit Laos.

Ecotourism in Laos
Discover the world of ecotourism in Laos. Includes info on activities, attractions, transportation, tour operators, maps, accommodation and world heritage sites.

Discovering Laos
A tour guide to Laos by Lao Embassy.

Mekong Travel and Tourism - Laos
The Official website for tourism in the Greater Mekong Subregion.

Lao Association of Travel Agents (LATA)
Official website of the asscoiation.

Lao Images
Travel images of South Laos, Mekong, Champasak, Vat Phou, Savannakhet, and Vientiane.

Vat Phou and Associated Ancient Settlements within the Champasak Cultural Landscape
Information about the world heritage site of Vat Phou temple.
Laos People Culture, a Lao owned and operated portal site.
Laos portal with news and country information.
Phou Khao Khouay
Discover Community-based Tourism in Central Laos.
Laos hotels and tours, travel in Vientiane and Luang Prabang.

City Guide
The City of Vientiane
Small guide to Laos capital by Lao Embassy.

Settha Palace Hotel

More Hotels
Hotels in Laos
Find a Hotel in Laos.
Bokeo Travel
Discover Laos.
Lao Pictures
by Akihito Koriyama.

Hmong People 
WWW Hmong Homepage
A collection of Internet-based resources related to Hmong news and current-events, issues, history, publications, and culture.

Travel and Tour Consumer Information

White Elephant  
A sacred and auspicious White Elephant, Vientiane
© Lao Embassy


Lao American College
Lao American College, Vientiane.
Lao-Singapore Business College
LSBC offers English courses as well as a full time High Diploma and Computer classes, Vientiane.

National University of Laos
Laos Higher Education Institution, established in 1995.

Environment - Environmental organizations Laos

Lao National Mekong Committee MRC
Agency for sustainable development, utilisation, management and conservation of the water and related resources of the Mekong Basin.
The Mekong River Commission
An Agreement on the Cooperation for the Sustainable Development of the Mekong River Basin between the governments of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam.
National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute
NAFRI consolidates agriculture and forestry research activities within the country.
Nam Theun 2 Hydroelectric Project
Hydro power for Laos.

Internet Directory of NGOs in the Lao PDR
An on-line portal for information about NGOs working in Laos with contact information, detailed activities and projects, publications, photo galleries and more.
Lao Theung Lady
Lao Theung Lady © Lao Embassy


About Laos : History
Laos history provided by LNTA.
History Review
Brief history of Laos by Lao Embassy, Washington.
Refugees from Laos - Historical Background and Causes
From early history to Resistance.
The Secret War
The role of Laos in the Vietnam war.

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Other Countries in Southeast Asia:
Brunei | Cambodia | East Timor | Indonesia | Malaysia | Myanmar | Philippines | Singapore | Thailand | Vietnam