Facts About Laos


Laos is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia, sharing its borders with Burma, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the country has literally struggled to find its place in the world economy. All of it, sadly, to no effect! Despite the fact that it remains one among the poorest nations in the world; Laos has managed to conjure up its individuality on a global scale. A distinct nation that presents itself as thriving as nature’s own! It’s the real Laos! And though Laos is lesser known to people than Thailand, its sister country, it doesn’t mean that this place, in any ways, plays a second fiddle. For Laos has its own simple but unique culture which has attracted, tourists and travellers alike, from the time immemorial. This place is enthralling and abundant with unending natural landscapes. The setting is absolutely riveting, backed by its people’s simplicity, makes it a nation worth visiting. So read on to discover more about this beautiful but unyielding country.

Fast Facts

Official Name: Lao People’s Democratic Republic
Capital: Vientiane (locally known as Viangchan)
Official Language: Lao
Other Languages: French, English and various ethnic languages
Demonym: Lao or Laotian
Religion: Buddhism (predominant), Christian and Others
Legislature: Unicameral National Assembly
Independence: 19 July 1949
Republic Day: 2 December 1975
Constitution: 14 August 1991
Area: 236,800 sq km
Population: 6.4 million (UN, 2010)
Currency: Kip
National Animal: Elephant

Interesting And Amazing Facts On Laos

    • This country is quite young as it got freedom in the year 1949 from the French rule.
    • It is the only country in Southeast Asia which is landlocked, And because of being landlocked, Laos does not have a navy.
    • Laos is covered with mountains and thick forests, which makes communication a little difficult here.
    • The Mekong River can be called the river which instils life in this country, as it not only forms a vital transportation route for people here, but also helps in generating electricity, irrigating crops and fishing.
    • The Mekong River is also known as Mae Nam Khong, which translates to ‘mother of all rivers’.
    • Most of the important cities are located along the sides of the river Mekong, which stretches up on a winding course of 2600 miles i.e. from China to the ocean at the south of Vietnam.
    • There are three main plateaus in Laos, namely, Xiangkhiang, Khammouan and Bolovens. Out of these, Xiangkhiang is the largest one while Bolovens is the one really fertile for crops such as rice, coffee, tea and others, thereby acting as food bowl of the nation.
    • The people of Laos are known around the world for their honesty and simplicity; mainly the followers of Buddhism, these people have discovered joy in minimalism.
    • The climate of the country primarily depends upon the two major winds which blow throughLaostwice a year. From May till October, winds from the Indian Ocean bring heavy rainfall to this place, but later when it changes direction, winds originating from China are hot and dry, which blow from November till April.
    • The undulating landscapes of this place are bustling with a vast variety of wildlife. The thick envelope of greens provides the much needed habitat for a number of animal species, foremost being the Red Panda. But, a lot of these species are at grave risk of extinction because of mining and parts of lands being sold to the neighbouring countries too.
    • The country is facing a problem of rapid deforestation; the forest cover has been reduced to 42 percent from an astounding 70 percent. The greens have been reduced to mere handful of protected reserves spread across the country.
    • One of the few mystical creatures which reside in the wilds of Laos is one of world’s longest venomous snakes, King Cobra, which measures fourteen foot in length. Along with it, Irrawaddy Dolphins also are found in abundance here.
    • The country had been populated since last 10,000 years and the earliest of the settlers were Khmers, who are still existent, though in Cambodia. In 1353 came a Lao prince, Fa Ngum, who changed the name of this country to Lan Xang, which meant the kingdom of a Million Elephants.
    • In the year 1779, most parts of Laos were annexed by the Siamese (now Thai) people. But later the French colonists took control of this country and forcefully removed the Siamese off the Western part of theMekongRiver. The fragments were reunited by the French into a country they namedLaos.
    • The country has been influenced by a number of cultures and countries. In the year 1945, the Japanese took over the country for a brief time but the French regained the control till they announced Laos to be a free country in the year 1949.
    • Though Laos is among the poorest countries of the world, the people here have found the way to happiness by accepting Buddhism as their major religion. Buddhism helps them in finding joy in simple living. Most of these people live in hamlets which are situated by the rivers. The main occupation here is agriculture.
    • Despite of many reforms in Laos, running water is still a luxury and most people have to carry water from the river for daily use.
    • Sports in Laos is quite primitive as people play Kataw, which is like Volley Ball but instead of using the hands to play the sport, these people use their feet to kick a ball made up of woven bamboo to cross the net. Another sport is rhinoceros-beetle wrestling in which people bet on beetles to predict the last beetle standing.
    • The laws against drugs and liquor in Laos are rigid, Though there are no major restrictions on alcohol; it is served at a few bars and restaurants. But using drugs and trafficking drugs is a major taboo, the punishment for trafficking narcotics is a death sentence.
    • The Khone Papeng waterfall situated in Laos is the largest waterfall in whole of Southeast Asia.