Overland Journeys: Indochina

The remote country of Laos is one of the less visited parts of Indochina but is a fascinating destination for travellers, drawn to a country with a rich cultural heritage and beautiful scenery. The northern hills are home to a great diversity of ethnic tribes, and travelling through the countryside visiting their villages allows you to experience their traditional lifestyles. Laos is a very spiritual country, and its Buddhist heritage can be seen from the Pak Ou Caves to the temples at Wat Phou and in the capital Vientiane. But it is the city of Luang Prabang that is Laos's gem - a stunning, atmospheric city that combines magnificent temples with European-influenced architecture in a beautiful setting. Explore in depth highlights of Laos.

Travel Information for Laos
Time zone:GMT +7 (Southeast Asia time) Daylight savings:    None
Main languages:Lao
Other languages:English, French, Hmong
Currency: kips (LAK)

1 = 9302, $1 = 8336, £1 = 11087

(rates as of Sep 2016)

Internet Domain:.laInternational Dialling Code:    856

For help planning your trip to Laos including visas, vaccinations, currency exchange, flights, accomodation and insurance, see our Laos trip planning page.

Further information on Laos

Discover more about Laos - the country's geogrpahy and natural features, an assessment of its status on freedom and rights and data on the country's population and economy.

Geography & Natural Features

Map of laos

Total area: 236,800 sq km (6,000 sq km under water)

Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)

Neighbours (border lengths): Burma (235km), Cambodia (541km), China (423km), Thailand (1,754km), Vietnam (2,130km)

Climate: Tropical monsoon climate with a rainy season from May to October and a dry season from November to April.

Highest mountain: Phou Bia (2,817m)

Freedom & Rights

Summary status and rankings for Laos from classifications of different organisations measuring political and economic freedom, democracy and civil rights. See more details of these rankings.

Freedom in the WorldNot Free -
Democracy IndexAuthoritarian regime 157/167
Economic FreedomMostly Unfree 150/179
Press FreedomVery serious situation 169/179
ILGA LGBT rightsLimited rights -
Corruption PerceptionsHigh corruption 145/174
Overall Ranking:    179/195

Other Data & Links

Full name: Lao People's Democratic Republic     Status: Independent Country

Population: 6,803,699 (rank: 102/196)     Density: 28.7 people/sq km (rank: 149/196)

Ethnic groups: Lao 55%, Khmou 11%, Hmong 8%, other (over 100 minor ethnic groups) 26% (2005 census)

Religions: Buddhist 67%, Christian 1.5%, other and unspecified 31.5% (2005 census)

GDP (PPP): $20.78 billion       GDP per capita: $3,100 (rank: 147/195)

Information derived from the CIA World Factbook. Other country profiles: BBC News.