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LAOS: all you need to know about this Asian country in just a few minutes

Laos, in the long form Lao People's Democratic Republic, also translated as People's Democratic Republic of Laos (Lao: ປະ ເທດ ລາວ (Lao) and ສາ ທາ ລະ ນະ ລັດ ປະ ຊາ ທິ ປະ ໄຕ ປະ ຊາ ຊົນ ລາວ (Sathalanalat Passathipatai Passasson Lao)) is a country without access to the Asian Sea Southeast, surrounded by Burma (or Myanmar) and China to the northwest, Thailand to the west, Cambodia to the south and Vietnam to the east.

The city of Vientiane is its capital, the official language Lao, the official currency the kip. Laos' motto is "Peace, Independence, Democracy, Unity and Prosperity", and its flag consists of three horizontal bands, the upper and lower bands of red color and the middle one of blue color, with a white disc in its center. . The national anthem is Pheng Xat Lao. The inhabitants of Laos are called Laotians.


Confined to the center of the Indochinese peninsula, Laos is located between the 14th and 22nd parallels north. It has an area of ​​236,800 km2. It has a border with China (200 km), Burma (150 km), Thailand (1,000 km), Vietnam (1,000 km), and Cambodia (150 km).

Mountains and plateaus occupy more than 70% of the country.

Watered by the Mekong, not very navigable because of its irregular flow (1,898 km in Laos over a total route of 4,200 km), which largely forms the border with Thailand, the country stretches from north to south over 1000 km from the borders of China to the border of Cambodia. The river is sometimes only a hundred meters or several hundred meters wide, depending on the place and the time of year.

Discover Luang Prabang, video created

by the Luang Prabang tourism office


Provinces of Laos

Main articles: Subdivisions of Laos and List of towns in Laos.

Laos is divided into 17 provinces (khoueng) and 1 prefecture (kampheng nakhon). They are themselves divided into districts (ເມືອງ, muang), Laos having a total of 148, then into villages (ບ້ານ, baan).

1. Oudomxay Province

2. Sayaboury Province

3. Xieng Khouang Province

4. Houaphan Province

5. Bokeo Province

6. Phongsaly Province

7. Luang Namtha Province

8. Luang Prabang Province

9. Province of Vientiane

10. Vientiane Prefecture

11. Khammouane Province

12. Savannakhet Province

13. Xaisomboun Province

14. Borikhamxay Province

15. Attapeu Province

16. Province of Saravane

17. Sékong Province

18. Champassak Province


According to ethnologists, this population is made up of 68 ethnic groups (47 listed by the Lao National Building Front). Officially in the late 1960s, the government adopted an arbitrary classification based on ethno-geomorphological concepts. These ethnicities have been classified into three main groups:

  • The Lao Loum, or "Lao des plains" (68% of the population), which includes the Lao ethnic group proper, who speak Lao (or Laotian) as well as similar ethnic groups who use Tai (Tai Lu, Tau Neua, Tai Dam, Tai Deng, etc. Lao belongs to the Tai group of Tai Kadai languages.

  • Les Lao Theung, in Model healthy village (Plateau des Bolovens)

  • The Lao Theung or “Plateau Lao”, sometimes pejoratively called Kha (a word meaning “slave” in Lao, reflecting their disadvantaged status in society), Mon-Khmer language (about 22%); The Môn-Khmers (or Austro-Asians) comprising 31 ethnic groups: Kuemu (Khmou or Khmu), Pray, Singmou, Khom, Thene, Idou, Bit, Lamed, Samtao, Katang, Makong, Try, Trieng, Ta-oi, Yeh, Brao, Harak, Katou, Oi, Krieng, Yarou, Yeh, Souai, Gnaheune, Lavy, Kabkae, Khmer, Toum, Ngouane, Meuan and Kri.

  • The Lao Sung or “Lao des Sommets” (9%), a name which brings together the Hmong, the main ethnic minority in the country, and the Yao (or Mien), both of Hmong-Mien and Tibetan-Burmese speakers. The Sino-Tibetans including eight groups: Akha, Sing, Sali, Lahou, Sila, Hayi, Lolo and Hor…

Discover Luang Prabang in the center of Northern Laos

& fly to the Thai idyllic beaches

To continue to discover Laos in a fun and informative way, we recommend that you join this Facebook group of Laos enthusiasts! Amoureux de la culture du Laos

Information sources and copyright: Amoureux de la culture du Laos


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