More recently, the entry of foreign tourists into Laos was prohibited. Now the government of Laos is taking all necessary measures to attract as many tourists as possible to the country. This is easy for them, given that tourists themselves want to visit this country, which has hundreds of Buddhist temples and monasteries, ancient cities, picturesque mountains, beautiful waterfalls, therapeutic hot springs, as well as Lao traditional spa treatments.
Geography of Laos
Laos is located in Southeast Asia. Laos borders Myanmar (Burma) and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the south, and Thailand to the west. This country has no access to the sea. The total area of Laos is 236,800 sq. km., and the total length of the state border is 5,080 km.
Most of the territory of Laos is mountains and plateaus. The highest point in the country is Mount Phou Bia, whose height reaches 2,800 meters. The plains in Laos are located along the Mekong River, which flows through the entire country from north to south.
According to itypemba.com, the capital of Laos is Vientiane, which is now home to more than 800 thousand people. Historians claim that Vientiane was founded in 1560.
The official language in Laos is Lao, which belongs to the Tai-Kadai languages.
Religion in Laos
About 67% of the population of Laos consider themselves Buddhists (they belong to Theravada Buddhism – the most conservative direction of this religion), and another 1.5% are Christians (they live mainly in Vientiane and its environs).
According to equzhou.net, Laos is the People’s Democratic Republic. Its head is the President, who is usually also the general secretary of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party, which is based on communist principles.
The Constitution of the country enshrined the leading role in the political life of the country of the People’s Revolutionary Party of Laos.
The Parliament of the country is a unicameral National Assembly, consisting of 132 deputies, who are elected by secret ballot for 5 years.
Climate and weather
The climate in Laos is subequatorial, strongly influenced by the monsoons. The monsoon season is from May to October. Dry season is from November to April. The difference between day and night air temperatures is 10C.
The average annual air temperature in Laos is +26.5C. The highest average air temperature is in April (+34C), and the lowest is in December and January (+17C).
Despite the presence of two weather seasons in Laos (monsoon season and dry season), tourists can safely visit this country all year round.
Rivers and lakes
The Mekong River flows through the entire territory of Laos from north to south. Thanks to the Mekong, agriculture is developed in Laos. 90 kilometers north of Vientiane is Nam Ngum Lake, which is considered the most beautiful in Laos.
No less than 49 ethnic groups now live in Laos, and each of them maintains their own customs, traditions and culture. However, more than half of the country’s population belongs to the Lao people, and therefore their influence on the general culture of Laos is decisive.
The rich culture of Laos has its roots in Theravada Buddhism, which is considered the most conservative school in this religion.
In Laos, they celebrate the Chinese New Year on a grand scale, as well as the Lao New Year – Boon Pimai. Other popular holidays in Laos are the celebration of the incarnation of King Vessantara as the Buddha, the celebration of the birth and death of the Buddha, the Tat Luan harvest festival, and the Boon Nam water festival.
The cuisine of Laos differs markedly from the culinary traditions of other Asian countries. Only in the northeastern part of Thailand can you find dishes similar to those found in Lao cuisine.
The staple foods in Laos are rice, noodles, vegetables, herbs, fish, poultry, pork, and beef.
Traditional Lao dishes are “glutinous rice” (to be dipped in sauce), “feu” noodle soup, “laap” (meat or fish dish with lime juice, with sauce served with vegetables on special occasions), salad from papaya.
Tourists are advised to try fruit juices, fruit cocktails and local beer in Laos.
Sights of Laos
According to official data, there are now about 5 thousand historical and architectural monuments in Laos. Some of them, such as the ruins of Wat Phou in Champasak, are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The top 10 best Lao attractions, in our opinion, may include the following:
- Pha Luang Stupa in Vientiane
- Monastery “City of Golden Temples” in Luang Prabang
- Pak U caves with Buddha statues
- Wat Phra Kaew temple in Vientiane
- That Chomsi Pagoda in Luang Prabang
- Wat Si Saket temple in Vientiane
- Wat Visun Monastery in Luang Prabang
- The Ho Chi Minh Trail in eastern Laos
- Jah Valley in northeastern Laos
- Ancient ruins of Wat Phou in Champasak
Cities and resorts
The most populous city in Laos is, of course, Vientiane, which now has over 800,000 inhabitants. For comparison, in Pakse, which is considered the second most populous city in Laos, about 100 thousand people live.
Most tourists come to Laos to visit Buddhist shrines, or look at the unique local historical and architectural monuments.
However, there are hot springs in Laos that have medicinal properties (for example, the hot springs of Bo Noi and Bo Ya in the north of the country).
Many hotels in Laos have excellent spa centers that offer classic and local spa programs to their guests.
As a rule, a spa session in Laos begins with a 60-minute traditional Lao massage. Spa programs include aromatherapy, Indian head massages, flower baths and more.
Tourists from Laos usually bring folk art, jewelry, fabrics (silk in Laos is better in quality than, for example, in Thailand), scarves, scarves, bags, blankets, food, tea, coffee. Make sure the item you buy is made in Laos and not imported from China or Thailand.
Mon-Fri: 09:00-17:00 (some shops open later).
Most shops are open on weekends.
Ukrainians need to apply for a visa to visit Laos.
Since 1955, the Laotian kip (its international designation: LAK) has been in circulation in Laos. One Laotian kip = 100 atame. Major credit cards (Visa and MasterCard) are accepted in hotels, restaurants and some tourist shops.
The amount of more than 2 thousand dollars must be entered in the declaration, and so, in Laos there are no restrictions on the import and export of foreign currency. It is impossible to export the local currency from Laos (however, as well as import it).
Items with the image of the Buddha can be exported from Laos only if they are souvenirs.
Useful phone numbers and addresses
The interests of Laos in Ukraine are represented by the Embassy of Laos in Russia:
Index – 121069, Russia, Moscow, st. M. Nikitskaya, 18 T:
Email: [email protected]
The interests of Ukraine in Laos are represented by the Embassy of Ukraine in Thailand:
Postcode – 10330, Bangkok, Wireless Road, CRC Tower
685-32-16 Email: [email protected]
190 – call the fire brigade or ambulance
191 – call the police
The difference is +5 hours. those. if in Kyiv, for example, 09:00 am, then in Vientiane – 14:00.
Tipping is not common in Laos. Only prestigious hotels and restaurants in Vientiane sometimes add a 10% service charge to the bill. If you want to give a tip, then 10% of the bill will be enough.
Before visiting Laos, doctors recommend making preventive vaccinations against typhoid fever, malaria, rabies, diphtheria and tetanus, as well as hepatitis A and B.
The crime rate in Laos is quite low. Laos is a safe country to travel to, but of course that doesn’t mean you don’t have to worry about safety there. There are pickpockets in this country too.