Laos Brief Information
Laos is a state in Southeast Asia, in the very center of the Indochinese Peninsula. In the north, Laos borders with China, in the east – with Vietnam, in the south – with Cambodia, in the west – with Thailand, in the northwest – with Myanmar. The total area of Laos is 236.8 thousand square meters. km.
NATURE AND CLIMATE:
Laos has the cleanest ecological environment in Southeast Asia. 70% of the country is occupied by mountains and forests, especially in the north and east of the country. In the south and west are strips of lowlands in the valleys of the Mekong River. This is the most famous river of the country, which runs along the entire country, and together with 15 tributaries make up 2,400 km of waterways. During the rainy season, the river overflows up to 14 km wide. creating fertile floodplains suitable for agriculture. All the main agricultural regions of the country are concentrated along the Mekong. The Mekong is also the main transport artery of Laos.
According to bridgat, the climate of Laos is subequatorial, monsoonal with a division into 3 seasons: humid and hot – from May to October, dry and cool – from November to February, dry and hot in March-April. Average temperatures in December-January range from 14° to 23° C, in July – within 28-30° C. The highest air temperature is up to. 40 ° С – happens in the Mekong valley in March-April, and the lowest – less than + 5 ° С – on a plateau in the far north of the country. Precipitation varies greatly from 3000 mm per year in the mountains (maximum in the southeast of the country, on the Boloven plateau – 3700 mm) to 1300-1700 mm in the plains. The flora of Laos is truly diverse: humid evergreen subtropical forests with a large number of ferns, magnolias, lianas and laurels cover the north of the country, bamboo thickets and light monsoon deciduous forests – the plateau of central and southern Laos, evergreen wet tropical lasas – mountain slopes. In the forests there are gibbons, several species of monkeys, a wild cat, a tapir, a flying fox, a leopard, an elephant, several species of deer and antelopes.
The capital of Laos is Vientiane with a population of about 500 thousand people.
3 hours ahead of Moscow
The population of Laos is approximately 7 million people. The population density is one of the lowest in Asia (18-22 people per sq. km). 50% of the population is ethnic Lao, 25% Khmer, 15% Thai, Miao and Yao, 10% Vietnamese, Chinese, etc. Most of the population lives on the fertile river plains, although many ethnic minority tribes live in the mountains. 85% of the country’s population lives in rural areas, and only 15% are urban residents
The official language is Lao, French and Thai are also common among the educated part of the population, and English is less common.
The most common religion in Laos is Theravada Buddhism, practiced by 60% of the population. The rest of the population adheres mainly to animism and shamanism. As in most countries in Southeast Asia, there are rules of conduct that must be followed so as not to offend the feelings of the local population:
– take off your shoes before entering the temple
– keep your head below the image of the Buddha and the monks.
Don’t turn your back on the Buddha
– remember: you can not touch or stroke people on the head
– don’t get mad at people
– do not wear too revealing clothes, especially when visiting temples and pagodas
– In Laos, as in most other Buddhist countries, the head is considered the most important part of the body. It is the home of the soul and a symbol of purity, while the feet are considered the dirtiest part of the human body. So never point your foot at anything, stretch your legs in anyone’s direction, and don’t pat children on the head.
The national currency of Laos is the Kip. Banknotes in denominations of 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 100,000, 20,000, 50,000 kip are in circulation. 1$ = ~ 8000 kip. Currency can be exchanged at airport exchange offices and at banks, but many banks only accept US dollars or Thai baht. A better exchange rate is usually offered by exchange offices in the markets and around the main shopping streets, but in this case there is a high risk of fraud. However, for settlements in tourist places, US dollars are freely accepted. Credit cards and traveler’s checks are only served by major banks in the capital, and are almost impossible to use in the provinces. There are no ATMs. The card can be cashed in a bank with a commission from 2 to 5%.