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Everything you need to know about Laos: news, reviews, in-depth analysis, opinion and more

Laos: Landlocked East Asian Country with Ethereal Buddhist Tradition

Laos has an ancient past dating to the 14th Century when the Lao Kingdom was founded and which extended its influence to Vietnam and Cambodia as well. However later on the Lao influence was limited to Laos and the country came under Siamese (Thailand) occupation in the 18th Century before becoming a French protectorate. Laotians finally experienced independence in 1949, however it was only in 1975 when Laotians overthrew the four century old monarchy, only to find themselves under a communist dispensation that has continued till today. Laos slowly opened its economy in 1988 and has since then enjoyed consistent 6% plus GDP growth. In spite of the relative progress Laos is still largely agrarian with agriculture contributing to more than 80% of the GDP.

Laos Facts and Stats:

    · National Name: Lao People's Democratic Republic
    · Capital: Vientiane
    · Total area: 230,800 sq km
    · Population: 6,677,534
    · Currency: Kip
    · Languages: Lao (official), French, English, various ethnic languages
    · Ethnicity/ Races: Lao Loum (lowland) 68%, Lao Theung (upland) 22%, Lao Soung (highland) including the Hmong (“Meo”) and the Yao (Mien) 9%, ethnic Vietnamese/Chinese 1%
    · Religion: Buddhist 60%, animist and other 40% (including Christian 2%)
    · GDP (Per Capita): $2,000 (2007 est.)
    · Life Expectancy: Male: 63 Yrs, Female: 66 Yrs
    · Literacy: 70% (2005 est.)

Laos Geography and Climate:
Laos is a landlocked country situated in the Indochina peninsula and flanked by China, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar and Cambodia. The country is home to unspoilt tropical forests and mountains, particularly in the north. The Mekong River forms the Laotian boundary with Myanmar (Burma) and Thailand.

Laotians enjoy a tropical monsoon climate with temperature range between 38 degrees C in winter to 15 degrees C in winter. The summer season lasts from October to April while the rainy spell from may to September.

Laos Economy and Culture:
Laotian economy is still under-developed despite enjoying 6% plus economic growth from 1988 onwards. There is no railway network, archaic roadways, limited telecom facilities. The Laotian government has sought international support including that from Thailand for Laos’s development. Rice is the staple Laotian crop and 80% of the population is engaged in agriculture. Laos joined the ASEAN in 1997. Laos also has abundant mineral resources that include reserves of coal, gold, bauxite, tin and other highly valued minerals.

Laotian culture is a subtle mix of Buddhist and Animist traditions and there are about 49 ethnic groups present in Laos that attest to its vast diversity and cultural affluence. The Laotian indigenous cultural elements are present in all aspects of its life including the Laotian music, which is dominated by Khaen, a type of bamboo pipe and Laos national instrument. Rice is the staple Laotian food and rise cultivation carries its own culturo-religious significance.

Laos Tourist Attractions:
Laos is a perfect tourist destination for anyone wanting a glimpse into serene landscapes with cultural attractions in the form of Buddhist monasteries and ancient ruins. Tourism is the fastest growing industry in Laos, thanks largely to the government’s efforts. Laotian capital Vientiane has many pristine Buddhist monasteries apart from bustling markets. The Plain of Jars is a marvellous archaeological site believed to be over 2,000 years old and also a World Heritage Site. Luang Prabang in Laos is an ancient Laotian city with majestic buildings and serene landscapes for which it has been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Other Tourist Attractions of Laos include:

    · Ho Chin Minh Trail
    · Pha That Luang
    · Buddha Park
    · Haw Phra Kaew
    · Lao National Museum
    · Patuxai
    · That Dam
    · Wat Si Saket
    · Wat Si Muang

Natural teak forests declining worldwide: UN

April 26, 2012 at 8:41 AM

Yangon, April 26 (IANS) Natural teak forests are in decline worldwide, almost half of which grow in Myanmar, the UN Food and Agricultural Organization has said. Such forests grow only in three other countries today -- India, Laos and Thailand.

34 percent jump in visas on arrival Jan-March

April 10, 2012 at 6:50 PM

New Delhi, April 10 (IANS) The visas on arrival issued to foreign tourists from 11 countries saw a jump of 34 percent during January-March this year compared to the same period in 2011, officials said Tuesday.

President's last foreign trip: 12 days in Africa

April 9, 2012 at 5:55 PM

New Delhi, April 9 (IANS) President Pratibha Patil is undertaking what could possibly be her last foreign trip before she ends her five-year tenure in July - a 12-day trip to two African countries, Seychelles and South Africa.


Drug-resistant malaria creating 'critical point' in fight against disease

April 6, 2012 at 12:42 PM

Washington, Apr 6 (ANI): The emergence of resistance to the drug artemisinin in western Thailand has created a critical point in global efforts to control and eliminate malaria worldwide, a new study has revealed.

Now, 'gene chip' to investigate emerging malaria drug resistance

April 6, 2012 at 12:17 PM

Washington, April 6 (ANI): A "gene chip" developed by researchers from the University of Notre Dame's Eck Institute for Global Health may contribute to the identification of malaria drug resistance and help combat the devastating disease.

Close ASEAN cooperation urged to promote growth

April 3, 2012 at 7:45 PM

Phnom Penh, April 3 (IANS) Cambodia, the current ASEAN chair, has called for stronger financial cooperation among its member countries to promote economic growth.

Natural teak forests declining: UN

March 27, 2012 at 12:32 PM

Rome, March 27 (IANS) Natural teak forests are declining worldwide and the quality of natural grown teak wood is deteriorating, said the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

Forth edition of Indo-ASEAN meets today in Delhi

February 13, 2012 at 4:58 PM

In a bid to strengthen mutual relationship between India and Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), a two-day meeting of higher delegates is set to begin today in New Delhi.....

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