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Laos – general informations

Beautiful sunrise over the Nam Song river near the Vang Vieng village, Laos

Laos is a country located in Southeast Asia, on the Indochina Peninsula. It is located in the tropical monsoon climate zone. This climate is characterized by two seasons: the wet season, which lasts from May to October and the dry season, which lasts from November to April. The average monthly air temperatures (in the capital) are between 22-23 ° C in December-January and 29- 30 ° C in the summer months, although there are “winters” with frosts in the north and also over forty-degree heat.

The terrain carving is extremely varied here from the extensive plateaus to the mountains cut by deep valleys.

The capital of Laos is Vientian, a city located on the Mekong River, near the border with Thailand. A few kilometers from Vientian, down the Mekong, a Thai-Lao friendship bridge was built in 1994, which is now one of the four main border crossings between these countries.

The whole area of the country is crossed by numerous rivers, the largest of which are Menam, Saluin, Irawadi and – of course the longest and largest of all, flowing along almost all of Laos from the north to the south – Mekong. In the dry season, Mekong is navigable on a stretch of 700 km, while at high water level, up to 1,600 km. This river joins the territories of China, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. Mekong leaves Laos in the south with cataracts called Khone Falls.

Laos is a state without access to the sea. Sea transport takes place through ports in Thailand or Vietnam and further by land transport.

Laos borders with China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar.

Kuang Si Waterfall, Luang prabang, Laos

So far, there are no railway lines in Laos but the first track connecting the Lao-Chinese border and Laotian-Thai (near the capital – Vientian), is under construction and expected to be completed by 2021. The second in the central part of Laos will connect the Lao-Thai border (in the city of Savanakhet) with Lao-Vietnamese border.

There are 10 airports in Laos, 4 of which are international. The national carrier is the Laoairlines that makes local connections and also connects Laos with: Thailand, China, Vietnam, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and Cambodia.

The population of all of Laos is less than 7 million citizens, of which over 800,000 live in the capital.

Over 1,2 million citizens live in the 10 biggest cities of the country.

In administrative terms, Laos is divided into 18 provinces.

In the 20th century, Laos remained a French colony until 1953. In 1975, after a period of civil war, the monarchy was liquidated and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao P.D.R.) was created.

Laos is in political terms a communist country, which in no way limits economic freedoms. The only legitimate political party is the Laotian People’s Revolutionary Party. The head of state is the president elected by the parliament. The head of the government (executive branch) is the prime minister elected by the president with the approval of the parliament. Laos is nominally a republic with a unicameral parliament – the National Assembly.