Visit Laos, the land of a million elephants
Laos became a democratic people's republic in 1975 and has increasingly opened up to tourism. You can still enjoy the serentiy of the Laotian people, take the time to visit a mountain village, admire the wild landscapes or travel down the Mekong to discover the true face of Laos.
Don't miss the royal cities
Vientiane, a capital of contrasts between colonial neighborhoods and business distrcits, animated markets and golden temples.
Luang Prabang, a charming royal capital and typical old Asian city with its 50 monasteries and pastel temples.
And don't forget Vang Vieng and its high plateau landscapes and chalky peaks.
Area: 236,800 square kilometers
Surrounded by China, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and Myanmar, Laos is a completely landlocked country. However the Mekong Valley, the life-giving river of Indochina, and its fertile plains take in almost all the country's rice paddies; it is here that the civilizations and capitals were established whose vestiges are still admired today. 85% of the population is rural. Two-thirds of the country is covered by vast forests, rivers, mountains and plateaus.
Laos has a hot, humid tropical Climate. The dry season goes from November to April, and the rainy season from May to October. During the latter, there is abundant rainfall, flooding is common and it is very hot. Though it is pleasant to visit throughout the year, the dry season (winter) is preferred.
People's democratic republic
There are about 5.3 million inhabitants, 50% of whom are Laos, as well as Theung Laos or Khas, Hmongs and Yaos. The country also includes minority populations of Vietnamese and Chinese, exclusively in the cities.
The official language is Lao, but each tribe also has its own language. French is still spoken by the older generation and English is being learned by many young people.
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