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Laos: temples and Buddhist traditions

Laos (Sāthlāmalath Pasāthi Patai Pasāsunh Lāo, République populaire démocratique Lao) is a socialist republic of South East Asia, located in the Indochinese peninsula, bordered to the east and north with Vietnam, to the north with China, to the south with Cambodia, to the west with Thailand and to the north-west with Myanmar (Burma), the capital of the country is Vientiane.

Laos is a land-locked country crossed by the Mekong river, which marks the border with Burma and for a long stretch the border with Thailand, excluding the Mekong plain that occupies the south-west of the country, the Lao territory is largely made up of mountains and plateaus.

The northern region has several mountain ranges whose peaks exceeding 2,000 meters, in Xiangkhoang Plateau is of the highest mountains of Laos, Phou Bia (2,820 metres). Towards the east id the Annamite chain marks the border with Vietnam, the central region of the country is occupied by a series of limestone plateaus, as the Plateau of Khammouan, in the south lies the Boloven Plateau.

Laos Map

Laos Map

Laos has a poor economy based on agriculture, the more important cultivation is rice, other products are cassava, potatoes, corn, tobacco, cotton, coffee. Important to the economy are the freshwater fisheries and livestock. Forests provide teak and other wood. Poor mineral resources limited to gypsum, coal and tin.

  • Area: 236,800 sqkm. (Arable 4%, Pastures 3%, Forests and Woodlands 53%, Uncultivated and Unproductive 40%)
  • Population: 6,521,000 (2007 data) (Lao Loum 67%, Lao Theung 22%, Lao Soung 9%, Vietnamese 2%)
  • State Capital: Vientiane.
  • Languages: The official language is Lao. Spoken also French and Vietnamese.
  • Religion: Buddhist 98%, Christian 1,5%, Muslim 0,5%.
  • Currency: Kip (LAK)
  • Time: UTC +7 hours.

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