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Laos: Vientiane

Here under Laos, you will find travel information classified by city or region of Laos, as well as general information.

Lao People's Democratic Republic (Laos) is a country with no access to the sea. It is one of the few remaining official communist states.

Laos population is 6.2 million; its land area is 91,500 square miles (the size of the United Kingdom, or Utah).

Political unrest in neighboring Vietnam precipitated Laos into the Second Indochina War. In 1975 the communist Pathet Lao, backed by the Soviets and communist Vietnamese, deposited the royalist government of King Savang Vatthana who was supported by the US and France. After taking control of the country, they renamed it Lao People's Democratic Republic.

Laos has a thick forest type landscape and many mountains. The highest mountain is Phou Bia, at 9,250 feet. The government reserved 21% of the nation's land area as National Biodiversity Conservation Areas (NBCA), which may become one of the finest national park systems in Southeast Asia.

Plain of Stone JarsLaos cities are Huay Xai, Luang Prabang (temples), Pakse, Savannakhet, Vientiane (capital, Mekong River). Other travel destinations include Vang Vieng (limestone caves) and the Plain of Jars.

High visa costs (from US$30 upwards) discourage many local travelers. Laos benefits from a laid-back lifestyle, and is a forgotten land. Accommodation outside the Mekong Valley consists of basic hotels and guesthouses, and a couple of nicer hotels in Vientiane, but there are no restrictions on where you can stay. N.B. sexual relations between Lao nationals and foreigners are illegal.

Discovering Laos, The Land of A Million Elephants (Tourism Office of Laos official website)

Next: Vientiane

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