Laos is a landlocked country in the Southeast Asia, occupying the Indochinese Peninsula. The Lao People’s Democratic Republic is bordered by Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar (Burma) and China. The total area of the country is more than 236 thousand square kilometres and the population is slightly below 7 million people. There is several ethnic groups including the majority of Lao people, Khmu or Hmong people. The official language is the Lao language, although French is also widely spoken and recognised.
The capital city of Laos is Vientiane, which is also the largest city and is also the important economic centre of the country. Due to the tough history, Laos belongs to one of the most corrupt countries worldwide causing low attraction for foreign investment. It is a low income economy where one third of the population lives under the poverty line. The overall human development is also one of the lowest with insufficient human rights.
Historically, Laos belonged to one of the largest kingdoms in the region with the charming name called the Kingdom of a Million Elephants Under the White Parasol. Several internal conflicts were, however, not so charming and the kingdom broke down. Laos then got under the French and Japanese rule and eventually gained autonomy in 1949 and became an independent country in 1953. Unfortunately, the independence was followed by a long and devastating civil war.
Despite the fact that Laos doesn’t have its own coastline, there is so much more to explore and experience, that no amount of time would be enough to get enough of this incredibly charming country. As the historical name implies, it is a land where elephants a huge part of national pride.
The wildlife of Laos in general is an unique collection of animals such as rhinos, tigers, monkeys or gibbons. One of the biggest attractions are definitely the temples in Luang Prabang with breathtaking Buddhist architecture or the ancient temples in the capital city. Last but not least, the Buddhist Lao culture is incredibly interesting and the local cuisine simply irresistible.