World Travelling Guide
World Travelling Guide



Accommodation in Southern Africa and South Africa including accommodation in Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo Province, North West Province, Free State, Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga

List of countries
Map of South East Asia

Laos Travelling Guide
Laos Travelling Guide

General background: In 1975, the Communist Pathet Lao took control of the government, ending a six-century-old monarchy. Initial closer ties to Vietnam and socialization were replaced with a gradual return to private enterprise, an easing of foreign investment laws, and the admission into ASEAN in 1997.

Area comparative: Slightly larger than Utah.

Climate: Tropical monsoon; rainy season (May to November); dry season (December to April)

Terrain: Mostly rugged mountains; some plains and plateaus.

Population: 5,777,180 (July 2002 est.)

Ethnic groups: Lao Loum (lowland) 68%, Lao Theung (upland) 22%, Lao Soung (highland) including the Hmong ("Meo") and the Yao (Mien) 9%, ethnic Vietnamese/Chinese 1%

Religions: Buddhist 60%, animist and other 40% (including various Christian denominations 1.5%)

Language: Lao (official), French, English, and various ethnic languages

Government type: Communist state

Capital: Vientiane

Legal system: Based on traditional customs, French legal norms and procedures, and Socialist practice.

Economic overview: The government of Laos - one of the few remaining official Communist states - began decentralizing control and encouraging private enterprise in 1986. The results, starting from an extremely low base, were striking - growth averaged 7% in 1988-2001 except during the short-lived drop caused by the Asian financial crisis beginning in 1997. Despite this high growth rate, Laos remains a country with a primitive infrastructure; it has no railroads, a rudimentary road system, and limited external and internal telecommunications. Electricity is available in only a few urban areas. Subsistence agriculture accounts for half of GDP and provides 80% of total employment. The economy will continue to benefit from aid from the IMF and other international sources and from new foreign investment in food-processing and mining.

Communication/Telephone system:
Service to general public is poor but improving, with over 20,000 telephones currently in service and an additional 48,000 expected by 2001; the government relies on a radiotelephone network to communicate with remote areas.

Places of interest:

Travel tips: There are constant threats of bombings and terrorist activities.