Luang Prabang

of Jars



Return to Asia
Tak Bat - Procession of the Monks
Tak Bat - Procession of the Monks

Laos is officially known as officially the Lao People's Democratic Republic.  The people of Laos referred to themselves as Lao and the official language is Lao.  The country is bordered by Thailand, Burma, Cambodia, China and Vietnam.  Its population is around 6 million.  The capital and largest city is Vientiane.   Laos was a kingdom from the 14th - 18th centuries and then broke into three areas - Luang Prabang, Vientiane and Champasak.  It was a French protectorate from the late 19th century to the mid 20th century and has a significant French influence.  In 1975 the Communist Pathet Lao party took over the cournty and it is now a single-party socialist republic. 

The most popular tourist areas are Luang Prabang and Vientiane and the country's slogan is "Simply Beautiful".  It is known for being a more relaxed and more originally authentic Asian experience.  The highlights of the country are its two UNESCO World Heritage Sites - Luang Prabang and Wat Phu.  The Plain of Jars is expected to also become a World Heritage Site when unexploded ordinance from Indochina Wars is eliminated and the site is made safe for tourism.  The monsoon season from April to October mainly affect the southern part of Laos.  November to March is the dry season with lower humidity and more bearable temperatures.


Laos was reopened to tourism in 1989.  You can obtain a 30 day travel visa for a fee upon entry to Laos at Wattay International Airport in Vientiane, Luang Prabang International Airport, Pakse International Airport in southern Laos and the Friendship Bridge at the Thai border with Vientiane.  Japan and ASEAN member states from Southeast Asia are exempt from travel visa requirements.  Check your specific country at VisaHQ.   For a list of exempt countries, visit Project Visa.


The national currency in Laos is the Kip (LAK).

View Laos map