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Mekong river, Don Det island in Southern Laos
Personal hygiene in the evening, rural island life at the Mekong river at Don Det in Southern Laos. The island is since years a Southeast Asian backpacker gathering place, eclipsing the locals somehow.
Image: kk
Flag of Laos
Flag of Laos

Royal Laos National Flag
The Royal Laos National Flag until 1975

Location Map of Laos. Where in Asia is Laos?
Location Map of Laos

Destination Laos, a landlocked country in Southeast Asia on the Indochinese peninsula between Thailand and Vietnam, and north of Cambodia. Laos shares also short borders with China and Myanmar (Burma).

Laos was part of French Indochina, it became independent in 1953, but for most of the next 25 years it was torn by civil strife between the communist Pathet Lao movement and government supporters. In 1975, the Pathet Lao achieved total control, and a communist republic was established, the Lao People's Democratic Republic.

The country covers an area of 236.800 km², compared it is about the size of Romania, or slightly larger than the US state of Utah.

Laos has a population of 6.5 million inhabitants (in 2015). Capital and largest city is Vientiane (Viang Chan). Spoken languages are Laotian (official) and Thai. The majority of the Laotian people are Buddhists (67%).

Lao People's Democratic Republic | Laos

Country Profile

Laos is the least developed Asian country, 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.

After 600 years of being a monarchy, 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 centralized system as specified in the constitution.
(Source: Laos WWW Virtual Library)

related countries: France, United States


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: la, LAO

Local Time = UTC +7h
Actual Time: Thu-June-13  13:43

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 km² (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: 6.5 million (2015)
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.

Exports - commodities: wood products, coffee, electricity, tin, copper, gold, cassava

Exports - partners: Thailand 30.4%, China 27%, Vietnam 17.6% (2015)

Imports - commodities: machinery and equipment, vehicles, fuel, consumer goods

Imports - partners: Thailand 60.9%, China 18.6%, Vietnam 7.3% (2015)

Currency: (New) Kip (LAK)

Laos in numbers
Lao PDR Key Statistical Data.
Presidential Palace in Vientiane.
Buddhist monks passing the Presidential Palace in Vientiane.
Image: kk

Political system
The Lao People's Democratic Republic is a communist state, a one-party socialist republic. The executive governmental power is held by a president, who is chosen by an elected National Assembly to serve a five-year term. He is the head of state, head of government is the prime minister.

Official Sites of Lao

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

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

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 neighboring 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.



The government maintains tight control over the media, almost all newspapers and broadcast media are government owned. There is a real lack of media pluralism in Laos, the peoples party exercises absolute control over the media.
(See also: Reporters Without Borders: Laos)

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
Google News Laos
Press agencies news on Laos

Human Rights
Human Rights Watch: Laos
Background Briefings.

Press freedom
Reporters sans frontières - Laos
Annual report 2015 about Press freedom in the country.


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

White Elephant  
A sacred and auspicious White Elephant, Vientiane
© Lao Embassy
Lao Silk scarfs
Silk scarfs at a market in Pakse, Champasak province.
Image: kk

Arts & Culture

Library of Laos
Provides information on Lao culture.

Laos Photo Gallery
Pictures from central and northern Laos.

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.
Buddha images Wat Si Saket, Vientiane
Wat Si Saket Buddhas, Vientiane
Image: kk
Lao Silk weaving with a hand loom, Vientiane
Silk weaving on a hand loom in Vientiane.
Image: kk

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.
Silk Yarns
Dyed silk yarn at Lao Textiles, Vientiane.
Image: kk
Reclining Buddha at Pha That Luang, Vientiane
Reclining Buddha at Pha That Luang, Vientiane.
Image: kk

Travel and Tour Consumer Information

Destination Laos - Travel and Tour Guides

Discover Laos: Vientiane, Pha That Luang, Vat Phou, Don Det (4000 islands),

Find 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

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

Wat Hai Sok in Vientiane
Wat Hai Sok in Vientiane.
Image: kk


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 Vietnam.

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.
Clean-up day at Wat Si Muang, Vientiane
Clean-up day at Wat Si Muang


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.
History of Laos
Wikipedia entry on the history of Laos.

Sources and additional Information on Lao

Amnesty International: Laos

BBC Country Profile: Laos

Country Study - Laos

FAO: Laos

GlobalEDGE: Laos

The Heritage Foundation: Laos

Human Rights Watch: Laos

OEC: Laos

Reporters Without Borders: Laos

Wikipedia: Laos

The World Factbook -- Laos
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Other Countries in Southeast Asia:
Brunei | Cambodia | East Timor | Indonesia | Malaysia | Myanmar | Philippines | Singapore | Thailand | Vietnam

Major Cities in Southeast Asia
Bandar Seri Begawan, Bandung, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Jakarta, Johor Bahru, Kuala Lumpur, Mandalay, Manila, Medan, Naypyidaw, Phnom Penh, Singapore, Surabaya, Vientiane, Yangon