Laos is a country in Southeast Asia. The country borders Myanmar, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand.

Laos gained independence in 1953, with the political status of a constitutional monarchy. However, the monarchy did not last long after independence. It is now a one-party socialist republic. 

Laos has a thickly forested landscape. It is covered by mostly rugged mountains, with the highest peak being Phou Bia. The country consists of three geographical areas, north, center, and the south.

Laos is also one of the most corrupt countries in the world. This fact doesn’t slow down, however, the rapid growth of the tourist industry. Annual tourist visits have grown from 80,000 in 1990 to 1.9 million in 2010. The country has an official tourism slogan of ‘SIMPLY BEAUTIFUL’. The country has a great combination of architecture and history from the tourism point of view. Main tourist attractions in the country include Buddhist culture and architecture in Luang Prabang. Temples of Vientiane, cultural influence in The Plain of Jars region, also attract numerous visitors. Luang Prabang and Wat Phu are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Rivers are a major transportation way in Laos. This fact also adds to the tourism beauty of the country.

There are numerous ethnic groups, which form the population of Laos. 67 percent of Laotians are Theravada Buddhists. 1.5 per cents of Christians live in the country too. The official language spoken in the country is Lao. However, only around half the population of the country can speak Lao. The rest of the people speak local ethnic languages. As it was a French colony, the French language is also widely used in Government and commerce areas.

The official currency is Lao Kip. The approximate exchange rate is ₭8190.3 for US$1. Thai Baht, US Dollar, Euro and Pound Sterling are the easiest currencies to exchange. They are also widely acceptable in shops, markets and hotels in Vientiane and Luang Prabang. You can also use credit cards in these places. And most ATMs are reliable nowadays. 

There are various taxis and other kinds of public transport operate in Laos. It is not advisable to hire a car, due to Laos driving standards. However, if you are capable, it is an excellent way to get off the beaten track and to explore. A safer option is to hire cars with a driver through hotels or tourist agencies.

In Laos, they use electric sockets of types A and C. The standard voltage is 230V.

Laos is a culturally rich country. The main influence on culture here has Buddhism, though some cultural factors predate Buddhism. The national instrument, Khaen (bamboo pipe), is an ancient instrument that is still a delicacy for your ears.

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July 12, 2016 12:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

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