A not-very well known landlocked county. Bordered by Thailand, Cambodia, Viet Nam and China, Laos remains largely untouched by the rampages of modern tourism.
The country with an area of 236,800 sq km, is divided into 19 provinces.
The Lao population is 6.8 million people (estimated early 2009) with a population density of 27 people per sq km. Around 80% of the population live in rural and mountainous areas relying on subsistence rice farming.
Lightly populated, Laos offers visitors a breathtaking array of stunning scenery, history, culture, great food and adventure, coupled with the opportunity to see how its diverse peoples live.
This small country is still home to some 49 ethnic groups whose lifestyles have remained relatively unchanged for centuries.
The abundance of mountains, forests and rivers make this small land green and special. From the Northern provinces where Laos meets with China, Myanmar and Thailand, the Mighty Mekong river flows throughout the entire country, fed by many pristine tributaries and finally crashing over the vast 14 km wide cataract forming the Khone Falls in the southern province of Champassak.
The lack of foreign influence offers travellers an unparalleled glimpse of traditional South-East Asian life. From the fertile lowlands of the Mekong River valley to the rugged Annamite highlands, travellers who have made it to Laos tend to agree that this country is the highlight of South-East Asia.
Laos is said to be the most laid-back of all the countries in Southeast Asia. It had been isolated from the outside world for almost two decades before it opened its doors allowing visitors to enter the country in early 1990s. Now the information about Laos is out, many travellers around the world discovered unknown little land one way or another.
Today Laos is enjoying peace and a stable political and economic structure. It is a safe place to travel and live. For the last decade the country has seen a steady increase in the number of tourists and many significant advances have taken place. Though its traditional ways are still well preserved, it is changing quite fast.
Visitors soon learn that the most enjoyable way to travel in Laos is to observe local customs and rules, use their common sense, observe others, and just go with the flow.