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Laos

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HISTORY

From the start of the 8th century, the Lao people migrated to this region from the southern parts of China. During the ancient time of Laos, it was inhabited by the hunters and gatherers who later became farmers and practiced the cropping of pulses and rice. The culture and population of Laos was influenced by the Indian culture. The religion named Theravada Buddhism was introduced to Laos by Indian merchants during the 1st Century A.D.

During the period from 9th to 13th century, the whole region of the present day Laos was ruled by Khmers from Cambodia. But during the 14th century, a province named Lan Xang was founded by the Laos inhabitants. Chao Fu Ngum became the first king of this kingdom and ruled till 1421. During his reign, the Lan Xang kingdom prospered greatly but his successors couldn’t do that well.

Another great ruler named Sourinyavongsa came in the 17th century and ruled from 1637 to 1694, which is known as a golden period. After this, a number of other kings ruled the kingdom.

French invasion in Laos started in late years of 1980 and in early 1990s. This led to growing influence of the French in Laos. In 1893, the Siamese finally surrendered the region of east of River Mekong to the French rulers. After a series of wars and struggle, Laos regained its independence and started its own political reign.

LOCATION AND GEOGRAPHY

The Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) is located in the northwest of the Indochina Peninsula in the region of Southeast Asia. It is bound by 5 countries that share their boundaries with Laos. The countries that surround Laos are China, Cambodia, Vietnam, Burma and Thailand.

Laos is situated between 14° and 23°N latitudes and 100° and 108° E longitudes. Laos stretches about 17,000 Kilometers (6563.7367 square miles) from North to South. The width from East to west measures 500 Kilometers (193.051 square miles) at the widest area whereas 140 Kilometers (54.0543 square miles) at the narrowest area.

The north part of Laos is covered with mountainous region with the mountains having the average height of around 15,000 meters.

The plains areas are full of large and small areas of plains along the area of Mekong River. The largest plain region is the Vientiane Plain which is located at the lower regions of the river named Nam Ngum. The other eminent plain areas are the Savannakhet plain and Champassak plain which are based near the areas of Se Bang Fai, Se Bang Heing and Mekong Rivers. These plains acquire one fourth of the area of Laos and are blessed with a very fertile soil.

The country also possesses a great number of rivers and streams which are networked throughout the area of Laos.

The most famous Mekong River has an area of 1,835 Kilometers where it flows through the country from North to South.

The topography of Laos is blessed with abundant natural resources tin, iron, coal, sapphire, sulfur and many more.

CLIMATE

Being a tropical country, Laos has a weather which is highly influenced by monsoon. There are two separate monsoon seasons witnessed by Laos. In the southwest, the monsoon season persists through the months of May to October which is the wet season. In the northeast dry weather is witnessed during monsoon which comes from November to April.

The temperature usually hikes in the moths of January to May. During this time, the climate becomes sticky if the rain arrives in the month of May.

The best weather in Laos is considered to be the weather in the months of November to February. This period is considered best for tourists to visit the country.

There is a considerable amount of sunlight that can be witnesses in the weather paired with a high rate of rainfall and high amount of humidity. The weather can sometimes be uncomfortable during the rainy and humid weather.

The average temperature that is witnessed in Laos throughout the year is 22°C to 27°C.

PEOPLE, CULTURE AND RELIGION

In Asia, Laos is considered as the lowest populated region. The population of Laos is approximately 5.4 million people who are divided into around 68 diverse cultural groups. The groups are basically based on the language, traditions and culture.

The language spoken by the people is Lao which is a part of the Tai Kadai group of languages. This language is very similar to that of the Thai. Due to the similarity in both theses languages the people in Lao are seen following the TV and Radio shows of Thai language.

Since the 14th century, when the Mon Buddhist Monks introduced Buddhism, it has been widely spread and accepted by the Lao people. The religion is adopted by around 90% of the population of the country.

The people in Lao are intensely following the Buddhism and related culture since its very onset. They even greet each other with a prayer like gesture called a Nop. A nop is a form of greeting that a young person or a person of lower designation performs for the elder or superiors.

TOURISM

Laos is considered as one of the best tourist destinations of the Southeast Asia. There is a lot to explore in the exotic lands of Laos. It is a home to a lot of breathtaking vistas and adventurous activities that one can take up during a visit to this country.

The country of Laos is blessed with many famous tourist destinations like Pha That Luang, Wat Si Muang, Vat Phou, Wat Si Saket, Royal Palace, Mount Phousi and much more.

The country is globally famous for its picturesque tourist attractions that offer a lot of adventure to the tourists. Tourists can take up trekking trips, cruise trips and can even enjoy the indoors of the cities on their trip to Laos. All the fun is also accompanied by the special and mouth watering cuisine of Laos and that of the Southeast Asia.

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