A boat on the Mekong River at VientianeLet's get yourself fully informed before your trip to Laos with Paradissa's Laos travel guide, travel tips and travel advice, travel destinations and photos. All information here is the written by Paradissa tour guides and staff from our own travel experiences in Laos. Have nice reading and please don't forget to share with us your travels in Laos.

Geography of Laos

Laos, a landlocked country, shares its borders with Myanmar, China, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. The country is bounded between the latitudes 14 -23 degrees North and the longitudes 100-108 degrees East; the whole country is within the tropic region.

History of Laos

Most parts of Laos, Cambodia and Thailand were inhabited as early as 10,000 years ago. Many of the ethnic groups in this area belonged to the Austro-Asiatic ethno-linguistic family.

State & Law of Laos

Before 1975, different areas of Laos were ruled by different kings. In the 19th century the French came and Laos was integrated into French Indochina along with Vietnam and Cambodia. In October 1953, Laos was independent from France through the French – Laotian Treaty, the first Indochina War was finished, but the country didn't enjoy peace then. There were different political factions in Laos at the time, fighting for influence in different areas of the country. In the mean time, Indochina was ready to come into a new war with foreign involvement- the Second Indochina War, which would not come to an end in 1975.

Laos Economy

After many years of warfare, peace finally came to Laos in 1975 along with the other Indochinese neighbors: Vietnam and Cambodia. The Lao government took total control of the country in 1975 when the economy was in a bankrupt state. Between 1975 – 1979, the Lao government implemented accelerated socialization policy which nationalized all important economic sectors and collectivized agriculture. The country took a change for the worse: crumbling public infrastructure, lack of food and consumer goods, higher rate in infant mortality and shorter life expectancy. The worsening conditions pushed the Lao government to stop accelerating the socialization policy and turned to consolidating existing state-owned businesses while stopping the expansion of socialization and collectivization. Also in 1979, the Lao government implemented a new policy changes which allow a free-floating currency and free commodity pricing which helped to bring the economy gradually to a more stable state.

Laos People & Population

According to the 2006 estimate, Laos has a population of  6,368,481 people with an annual growth rate of 2.39%. Life expectancy of the total population is 55.5 years and infant mortality is high at 83 deaths per 1000 live births. On average, a woman has 4.68 children. Laos is a multi-ethnic society of which over 60% follows Buddhism. The literacy rate is high at 66.4%.

Laotian Society & Conduct

Below are some helpful guides to Lao culture, traditions and culture traits which may be of use especially to the independent travelers.

Languages in Laos

Laos is a multi-ethinic country and each ethnic group has their own their language or dialect. But the official language of Laos is the Lao language as spoken and written in Vientiane. Standard Lao and standard Thai belong to the same linguistic group of the Thai-Kadai language family. The native speakers of Lao standard language and Thai standard language can mutually understand one another thanks to the similarity.

Religion & Ideology in Laos

Theravada Buddhism is followed by 60% of Lao population and it's the most popular religion in the country. King Fa Ngum, the first king of Lan Xang Kingdom, declared Theravada Buddhism the state religion in the 13th century. Others following kings were active patrons of Buddhism building more wats, teaching the religion in schools...

Festivals & Events in Laos

Laos is country of multi-ethnic nature and each community has a lot of festivals all year round. Some festivals may affect your tour itinerary in the country and/or your travel interests. It's always good to know the main ones that are more likely encountered on your holiday in Laos. Many other festivals held in different regions are not mentioned here. If you plan to travel thoroughly through Laos or if you plan to have an adventure tour in remote regions of the country, please consult our travel experts for further information.

Food & Drinks in Laos

Lao food and drink: Laos is a country of multi-ethnic group and each group has its own version of traditional cuisine. On the general level, Lao cuisine is fresh and spicy. The country's cuisine can be best described as blend of more Thai cuisine, Vietnamese cuisine and Chinese cuisine.