General information about Laos

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Laos
Laos

Laos is the least developed and most enigmatic of the three former French Indochinese states. A ruinous sequence of colonial domination, internecine conflict and dogmatic socialism finally brought the country to its knees in the 1970s, and almost ten per cent of the population left. Now, after two decades of isolation from the outside world, this landlocked, sparsely populated country is enjoying peace, stabilising its political and economic structures and admitting foreign visitors – albeit in limited numbers due to a general lack of infrastructure. 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.

 Now, after two decades of isolation from the outside world, this landlocked, sparsely populated country is enjoying peace,
Now, after two decades of isolation from the outside world, this landlocked, sparsely populated country is enjoying peace,

Full country name: Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR)
Area: 236,000 sq km (92,040 sq m)
Population: 5.5 million
Capital city: Vientiane (pop 500,000)
People: 50% Lao Loum (lowland Lao), 30% Lao Theung (lower-mountain dwellers of mostly proto-Malay or Mon-Khmer descent), 10-20% Lao Sung (Hmong or Mien high-altitude hill tribes) and 10-20% tribal Thais
Language: Lao and Lao dialects (closely related to Thai), French
Religion: 60% Buddhist, 40% animist and spirit cults
Government: Socialist republic
President: Khamtai Siphandon
Prime Minister: Bounyang Volachit

GDP: US$9.7 billion
GDP per head: US$1700
Annual growth: 4%
Inflation: 6%
Major products/industries: Rice, tobacco, coffee, tin mining, timber, and opium
Major trading partners: Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Japan

Another information about Laos: Wat Xieng Thong