GENERAL DESCRIPTION

Laos is a Southeast Asian country traversed by the Mekong River and known for mountainous terrain, French colonial architecture, hill tribe settlements and Buddhist monasteries. Vientiane, the capital, is the site of the That Luang monument, where a reliquary reportedly houses the Buddha’s breastbone, plus the Patuxai war memorial and Talat Sao (Morning Market), a complex jammed with food, clothes and craft stalls.

Flag of Laos

COUNTRY FACTS

POPULATION

7,000,000

CAPITAL

Vientiane (820,940)

GDP PER CAPITA

U.S. $2,353.1

LANGUAGE

Lao, French, English, and various ethnic languages

RELIGION

Buddhist, other (chiefly animist and Christian)

LIFE EXPECTANCY

66

AREA

237,955square kilometers (91890 square miles)

LITERACY PERCENT

79.9

FABIO'S REVIEW

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LOCATIONS EXPERIENCED

Laos-Luang-Prabang-Tourism-Wat-Siphoutthabat-Thippharam-18693 COVER

LUANG PRABANG

Luang Prabang, located in northern Laos, lies in a valley at the confluence of the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers. Inhabited for thousands of years, it was the royal capital of the country until 1975. It is known for its many Buddhist temples, including the gilded Wat Xieng Thong, dating to the 16th century, and Wat Mai, once the residence of the head of Laotian Buddhism.

Laos-Vang-Vieng-Tourism-Tham-Nam-(Water-cave)-Trekking-to-the-Water-Cave-18931 COVER

VANG VIENG

Vang Vieng is a small town north of Vientiane, along the shore of the Nam Song River. It is surrounded by limestone mountains and caves. Tham Poukham, to the west, is a cave with a blue-green lagoon and a reclining Buddha statue. North is the deep Tham Nam Cave, which has a spring at its entrance. Nearby, Tham Xang Cave has a stalactite resembling an elephant. The town is home to several 16th- and 17th-century monasteries.

Laos-Vientiane-Tourism-Vientiane-historical-center-Wat-Si-Muang-19072 COVER

VIENTIANE

Vientiane, Laos' national capital, mixes French-colonial architecture with Buddhist temples such as the golden 16th-century Pha That Luang. Along broad boulevards and tree-lined streets are many notable shrines including Wat Si Saket, which features thousands of Buddha images, and Wat Si Muang, built atop a Hindu shrine.

LUANG PRABANG

Laos-Luang-Prabang-Tourism-Wat-Siphoutthabat-Thippharam-18693 COVER

Luang Prabang, located in northern Laos, lies in a valley at the confluence of the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers. Inhabited for thousands of years, it was the royal capital of the country until 1975. It is known for its many Buddhist temples, including the gilded Wat Xieng Thong, dating to the 16th century, and Wat Mai, once the residence of the head of Laotian Buddhism.

VANG VIENG

Laos-Vang-Vieng-Tourism-Tham-Nam-(Water-cave)-Trekking-to-the-Water-Cave-18931 COVER

Vang Vieng is a small town north of Vientiane, along the shore of the Nam Song River. It is surrounded by limestone mountains and caves. Tham Poukham, to the west, is a cave with a blue-green lagoon and a reclining Buddha statue. North is the deep Tham Nam Cave, which has a spring at its entrance. Nearby, Tham Xang Cave has a stalactite resembling an elephant. The town is home to several 16th- and 17th-century monasteries.

VIENTIANE

Laos-Vientiane-Tourism-Vientiane-historical-center-Wat-Si-Muang-19072 COVER

Vientiane, Laos' national capital, mixes French-colonial architecture with Buddhist temples such as the golden 16th-century Pha That Luang. Along broad boulevards and tree-lined streets are many notable shrines including Wat Si Saket, which features thousands of Buddha images, and Wat Si Muang, built atop a Hindu shrine.

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