Population: 6,500,000 (est.)
- The Lao kip is the official currency of Laos.
- Of the people of Laos 67% are Theravada Buddhist, 1.5% are Christian, and 31.5% are other or unspecified according to the 2005 census.
- Laos is a Marxist–Leninist single-party state.
- Chinese ancient texts dating back to the 5th century have mentions of a kingdom in southern Laos and refer to it as Chenla.
- Laos was divided coming under the supervision of Thailand to later be replaced by the French in 1893.
- Laos became independent on 19 July 1949.
- It became a republic on 2 December 1975 and adopted its constitution on 14 August 1991.
- The legal system of Laos is a mix of traditional customs, socialist practices and French norms and procedures.
- The country is rich in natural resources like timber, gypsum, tin, gold, and other gemstones.
- Abbout 80% of jobs are in agriculture.
- The main exports coming out of Laos are wood products, coffee, electricity, tin, copper and gold.
- The months of May to November are the monsoon months in Laos which is followed by a dry period.
- A good time to visit Laos may be during dry spells as lack of rain makes travel easier and the temperature stays around 15 to 38C.
- The government maintains a strict control over the media in Laos.
- Laos is largely an inexpensive destination to visit, with the Thai Baht and the US Dollar also being accepted.
Laos, officially the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia, bordered by Burma and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the south, and Thailand to the west. Its population was estimated to be around 6.5 million in 2012.
Laos traces its history to the kingdom of Lan Xang, which existed from the 14th to the 18th century when it split into three separate kingdoms. In 1893, it became a French protectorate, with the three kingdoms, Luang Phrabang, Vientiane and Champasak, uniting to form what is now known as Laos. It briefly gained independence in 1945 after Japanese occupation, but returned to French rule until it was granted autonomy in 1949. Laos became independent in 1953, with a constitutional monarchy under Sisavang Vong. Shortly after independence, a long civil war ended the monarchy, when the Communist Pathet Lao movement came to power in 1975.
Laos is a single-party socialist republic. The capital city is Vientiane. Other large cities include Luang Prabang, Savannakhet, and Pakse. The official language is Lao. Laos is a multiethnic country with the politically and culturally dominant Lao people making up approximately sixty percent of the population, mostly in the lowlands. Various Mon-Khmer groups, the Hmong, and other indigenous hill tribes, accounting for forty percent of the population, live in the foothills and mountains. Laos’ “strategy for development is based on generating electricity from its rivers and selling the power to its neighbours”, namely Thailand, China, and Vietnam. Its economy is accelerating rapidly with the demands for its metals. It is a member of the Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA), Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), East Asia Summit, and La Francophonie. Laos applied for membership of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1997, but as of 2012 the country is only an observer state.