Brief information |
Location & terrain
Flora & fauna
The Peoples’ Democratic Republic of Laos is located in
the center of Indochina, sharing borders with China to
the North 416 kilometers, Myanmar to Northwest 236
kilometers, Thailand to the West 1,835 kilometers,
Cambodia to the South 492 kilometers and Vietnam to the
East 1,957 kilometers.
With a total area of 236,800 square kilometers, around
70% of Laos' terrain is mountainous, reaching a maximum
elevation of 2,820 meters in Xieng Khouang Province. The
landscapes of northern Laos and the regions adjacent to
Vietnam, in particular, are dominated by rough
The Mekong River is the main geographical feature in the
west and, in fact, forms a natural border with Thailand
in some areas. The Mekong flows through nearly 1,900
kilometers of Lao territory and shapes much of the
lifestyle of the people of Laos. In the South the Mekong
reaches a breadth of 20 kilometers, creating an area
with thousands of islands.
The time in Laos is 7 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time
When to visit:
- The best time to visit Laos is between November and
- The hot season from March to May is very dry and
certain river trips are not possible.
People and population:
Population: 6.2 million.
- Density: 23 people/square kilometer.
- The population consists of 49 ethnic groups, in 4 main
The official language is Lao. Other languages used are
French, English. Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese.
Electric current: 220 volts
Visa is the most common. Master Card and American
Express are accepted at most banks in the larger towns
(such as Vientiane and Luang Prabang), and in the big
hotels, restaurants and souvenir shops.
The Kip is the official currency of the Lao PDR and the
notes are currently in circulation: 500; 1,000; 2,000;
5,000; 10,000; 20,000 and 50,000 Kip.
The best currencies to use when exchanging money are: US
Dollars, Euros and Thai Baht. You can exchange your
currency at the bank, airport, or at a foreign currency
Films can be found in shops in the larger towns, also if
you need a digital download service for your digital
camera it is also available
Silk and cotton fabrics, objects made from wood
(sculptures, cut-out figures), pottery and traditional
instruments are part of the rich tapestry of Laotian
Lao people are frank, open and friendly, and they
possess a strongly developed sense of courtesy and
respect. Everyone who adheres to the latter will receive
a warm welcome.
The generally accepted form of greeting among Lao people
is the Nop. It is performed by placing one’s palms
together in a position of praying at chest level, but
not touching the body. The higher the hands, the greater
the sign of respect. Nonetheless, the hands should not
be held above the level of the nose. The nop is
accompanied by a slight bow to show respect to persons
of higher status and age. It is also used as an
expression of thanks, regret or saying good-bye. But
with western people it is acceptable to shake hands.
The feet form the inferior part of the body (as much
spiritually as physically). You must never indicate or
touch another person or object with your foot.
Source: Lao National Tourism Administration