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Tat Kuang si waterfalls in Luang Prabang, Laos, © Gough

"Laos Information & Facts" was last updated on Feb 27, 2013

Welcome to Laos! ;-)

Here's some interesting facts on Laos for you:

  • Laos shares it borders with Thailand, Cambodia, China, Burma and Vietnam, and is one of the few remaining communist states in the world
  • Laos is sadly one of the largest producers of opium and cannabis…. 

The price of opium per kilo in Laos was $1,227 in 2008, and it's still rising! But Afghanistan is still number one producer of opium in the world.

  • Did you know that the Americans trained and recruited the indigenous people of Hmong during the Vietnam war?

- This is one of the reasons as to why many Hmong people are continuing to flee as refugees to Thailand.

  • The "Plain of Jars" in the north are estimated to be 2000 years old, and the heaviest jar weighs 6 tons!
  • Poverty 

27% of the Lao population is living under poverty line (A survey by Lao National Committee for Rural Development and Poverty Reduction conducted in 2007-2008) while 25% of India's population is living under the poverty line (2007-CIA Factbook) - in other words: Laos is considered to be one of East Asia's poorest countries and is dependent on donations from abroad.

Practical Laos facts:

The capital of Laos: Vientiane

Currency: Kip I felt like a millionaire when I took out 1.600.000 Kip from the ATM, but it only equals about $200 Haha.

Official language: Lao

Largest religion: Buddhism

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Why should you visit Laos?

  • Laos is still unexplored in the eyes of a backpacker!

The last couple of years, more and more backpackers have laid their eyes on Laos. There are tourists visiting the country, but not as much as Thailand for example. This is your golden opportunity to go off the beaten track!

Kip money in Laos
  • Backpacking in Laos is cheap!

You can get meals as low as 10,000 Kip (= less than a dollar), and cheap accommodation as well!

How cheap it can get depends on where and how you're traveling in Laos. Destinations like Luang Prabang and Vientiane don't exactly have the abundance of cheapest rooms in Laos since they're both heavily visited by tourists and backpackers.

Laotian food bought at food stalls and markets are cheaper than at restaurants, dorms are cheaper than guesthouses and so on.

And whether you'll find Laos cheap or not, depends highly on what you're accustomed to. Backpackers from countries with low price level will probably not find Laos cheap, while travelers from other countries with a high price level will certainly do.

The cheapness is in the "eye of the beholder" ;-)

An old women in Laos, © Muellek
  • The people of Laos are so humble and kind in approach! Meeting the locals is definitely a highlight when backpacking to Laos. As with the Cambodians, the Lao people have gone through a lot - war is just one of the things!
  • The beautiful nature in the north will blow you away!
  • Go and look for the rare Irrawaddy dolphins in one of world's largest rivers - the Mekong! Maybe you even catch a glimpse of the giant catfish or the freshwater stingrays!
  • Visit the 4000 Islands in the south and witness the beauty of the waterfalls!
  • Explore the Bolaven Plateau in Southern Laos and meet the exciting ethnic groups of Mon-Khmer and Alak!

Vientiane articles

Getting to Vientiane

Vientiane accommodation

Vientiane restaurants

Vientiane shopping

Vientiane attractions & sightseeing

Luang Prabang articles

Getting to Luang Prabang

Guesthouses in Luang Prabang

The food in Luang Prabang

Shopping in Luang Prabang

Review of Kuang Si waterfalls

Review of Ock Pop Tok weaving class

Luang Prabang activities and attractions

Vang Vieng articles

Getting to Vang Vieng

The food in Vang Vieng

Accommodation in Vang Vieng

Vang Vieng bars

Review of limestone caves in Vang Vieng

Water tubing in Vang Vieng

Pakse articles

Getting to Pakse

Pakse hotels and guesthouses

The food in Pakse

Review of Bolaven Plateau

Don Det (4000 islands) articles

Getting to Don Det island

Don Det accommodation

The food on Don Det island

Activities and attractions in 4000 islands

Other articles

Weather in Laos

Laotian culture

History of Laos

About the Hmong people

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Having trouble on where to travel in Laos? How to set up an itinerary?

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North Laos is my personal favorite - it offers endless beautiful green fields, trekking opportunities, hill tribe villages, boat trips, caving and tubing …

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