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Laos Travel Guide

Laos, an appealing destination encompassing gilded temples, rich culture, and scenic landscape, has much to know. Going through this Laos travel guide, you like to take a step into this fascinating country from the towering temples in the north to the tropical beaches in the south and  all of the history as well as culture in between.

LAOS AT GLANCE - Laos, officially the Lao People's Democratic Republic, is a country located at the heart of the Indochinese Peninsula in Southeast Asia. Running along the Mekong River, between latitudes 14° and 23°N, and longitudes 100° and 108°E, Laos is bordered by Myanmar and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east and Cambodia to the southeast and Thailand to the west and southwest. This small country covers an area of  237,955 km2 (91,875 sq mi). Geographically, Laos can be split into three different regions — Northern Laos, Central Laos and Southern Laos.  These regions, however, are different from each other by not only the natural beauty and the history but also the people living style and the food taste. Today, Laos is divided into 17 provinces and 1 prefecture. The largest city, also capital of Laos, is Vientiane prefecture set by the Mekong River, but not doubt the most famous place in Laos would be the ancient capital of Luang Prabang, also a World heritage site. 

Consisting of 49 main ethnicities, the Laotian people are distributed in different elevation that features  three main groups: lowlands, midlands and  highlands. More than half of the Lao population is lowland inhabitants living in valleys and urban centers . They, wherefore, make for the politically and culturally dominant people of Laos. The Lao belongs to the Tai linguistic group who began migrating south from China in the first millennium CE.

QUICK FACTS ABOUT Laos

Local Time
GMT+7h
Politic System
Democratic Republic 
Capital City
Vientiane, Laos
Largest City
Vientiane City
Currency
Kip (LAK)
Main religion
Buddhism (66%), Tai folk religion (30.7%) , Catholicism (1.5%)

Drive
Right side
Calling Code
+ 856
Police EmergencyPhone no: 191
Fire EmergencyPhone no: 190
AmbulancePhone no: 195
Total Areas237,955 km2 
Population7,123,205 ( in 2019)

More Information on Laos

Because of rugged mountains, Laos remained unknown until the foundation of the Lanexang Kingdom  in 14th century. Considered as the first king of this empire, Chao Fa Ngum successfully united numerous medieval city states into a unified kingdom with the capital city being Luang Prabang. The Lanexang Kingdom had a large territory that encompasses the Mekong River in the middle from North to South.

In the middle of the16th century, King Saya Setthathirat shifted  the capital from Luang Prabang to Vientiane in central Laos since it was hard to  manage the whole country from the far spot of Luang Prabang. Right until middle of the 17th century, Laos become more powerful and its  culture also flourished.  But the prosperity didn’t last long as the Lane Xang Kingdom has been split into three hostile dynasties in the 18th century. And some parts of Laos have been invaded and controlled by both Thai and Vietnam people.   

In together with Vietnam, Laos felt into hands of French people in 1893. During the domination of France, Laos people organized some anti-imperialism movements which has been closely connected to the insurgency of the three countries in Indochina, which eventually led to the end of World War II in 1945. However, the French colonialists came back to invade Laos for the second time and created tragedy in Thakhek on 21 March 1946. After the victory in Dien Bien Phu (Vietnam), the Geneva Accord was signed to restore peace in Laos.

But not long after the Geneva Accord, the American replaced the French to carry out the American war in southern Vietnam and also expanded it  to Laos. From the beginning of 1964 the American Air Force launched bomb raid over not only Northern Vietnam but also Central Laos. That’s why Laos receive over million ton of American bombs over the 20-year period. Thank to the victorious battle and solidarity among the Lao people, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) was established on 2 December 1975.

Ever since then, Lao people came into a peaceful period though there were some conflicts with the Hmong People Fond.  In 1986, the Lao PDR began to carry out a renovation policy, shifting from a centralized economy to a market economy. Today, the Lao PDR has the political stability, constant economic growth and favourable conditions of investment, strengthening and promoting the people's democratic regime.

Laos

Laos TRAVEL GUIDE IN DEPTH

Highlights of Laos

If you're having trouble deciding which places you need to visit in Laos, then take a look at below travel guide and see our choices for the best destinations in Laos

Oudomxay

Oudomxay, Laos - Travel guide

Oudomxay is a province of Laos, located in the northwest of the country. The province capital is Muang Xai. Oudomxay Province covers an area of 15,370 square kilometres (5,930 sq mi). The province borders China to the north, Phongsali Province to the northeast, Luang Prabang Province to the...
Xieng Khouang

Xieng Khouang, Laos - Travel guide

Xiangkhouang  is a province of Laos, located in the Xiangkhouang Plateau, north-east of the country. Originally known as Muang Phouan, the present capital of the province is Phonsavan. The population of the province as of March 2005 census is 229,521.
Khong Island

Khong Island, Laos - Travel guide

Khong Island or Don Khong is the largest island and the seat of administration in the Si Phan Don riverine archipelago located in the Mekong River, Khong District, Champasak Province, southern Laos.
Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang, Laos - Travel guide

This is Laos's religious and artistic capital, and its combination of impressive natural surroundings, historic architecture, and friendly inhabitants make it one of the region's most pleasant towns. The city's abundance of ancient temples led UNESCO to declare it a World Heritage...
Pakse

Pakse, Laos - Travel guide

Pakse  or  Pakxe  is the capital and most populous city in the southern province of Champasak, making it the third most populous city in Laos. It has a population of about 87,000,situated at the confluence of the Xe Don and Mekong Rivers. It also...
Vientiane

Vientiane, Laos - Travel guide

Vientiane delivers a relaxing riverside break where one of the best things you can do is grab a drink and enjoy the sun’s spectacular show as it sets over the Mekong. Despite being the largest city in Laos and the hub of commerce and administration, Vientiane is still refreshingly laid...
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SHARING TRAVEL EXPERIENCE

The personalized, distinctive experience unveils the best things in Laos; top rated hotels, popular restaurants, funny shopping , essential highlights, entertainment and nightlife. This travel information helps you to plan wonderful holidays in Laos at low cost possible

Laos FREQUENT ASK QUESTIONS

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Do I need a visa to travel to Laos?

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How to apply for Laos e-visa ?

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What is the internet access like in Laos?

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ARTICLES ON TRAVEL IN Laos

Written by our specialists from the viewpoint of their own travels, these guides will help you decide on the shape of your own trip to Laos. Aiming to inspire and inform, we share our recommendations for how to appreciate Laos at its best