Laos is among the quickest-growing economies in all of Asia and it is known for many of its unique features. It is pretty easy to fall in love with this nation in Southeast Asia. Here you’ll come across some of the most humble people in Asia and some quite dazzling landscapes. Read on to discover hidden gems of this country.
Facts about Laos
1. Only Landlocked Nation in Southeast Asia
Leading to advantage in trade, all the other nations in Southeast Asia have coastlines. Laos on the other hand has all of its borders surrounded by other nations and there are no coastlines. Which means Laos is completely landlocked. This has greatly affected the country when it comes to trade and economic growth, even though a new high-speed railway line might prove to be a guardian angel.
Full of forests, rivers, rugged mountains, and some plains, Laos has about 80% of its population living off subsistence agriculture. This means that they grow sufficient food to support themselves but that’s about it. There is no profit coming from agriculture. There also isn’t much arable land, as rice is the main crop.
3. Thousand of Islands
Being a completely landlocked country does not stop Laos from having the most amazing natural attractions. On the way to the powerful Mekong River known as Si Phan Don south in the country, you’ll come across some jaw-dropping sites.
Mostly known as The 4000 Islands, Si Phan Don has some spectacular islands abundant with fine-grained shores and turquoise waves which means Laos can be the perfect choice for beach bums to have a tropical beach.
The Mekong River extends 4350 kilometers, and it has partitioned the land of Laos into thousands of elegant islets.
4. An Abundance of Wildlife
Laos has lush jungles that are home to a myriad of wildlife and this nation is also the breeding grounds for King Cobras, tigers, white-cheeked gibbons, and Asian black bears among several other wild animals.
The biodiverse Nam Et-Phou Louey National Biodiversity Conservation Area (NBCA) offers night safaris to the visitors and they get a chance to spot some of the more timid, nocturnal animals.
5. Tallest Treehouses in the world
The Nam Kan National Park of Laos offers you a stay in treehouses that reach about 100 to 130 feet above the jungle and here you can also spot black-crested gibbons in their natural domain.
This has been provided by the Gibbon Experience, which is a local tourism-based conservation project offering visitors chances to explore the jungle and you can even zipline through the trees and sleep in the jungle canopy.
6. Laotians are among the Shortest People in the world
Laotians rank second in a list of the nations with the shortest people in the world. An average person stands just 5 feet 1.37 inches tall. Among all countries in Asia, Laos also has the youngest population, as about 70% of the population are under 30 years old.
Regardless of that, Laotians aren’t dissatisfied about being short as travelers mostly find them to be among the most laid-back and friendly people they’ve come across.
The citizens of Laos are so relaxed that it’s a common joke that Laos PDR actually stands for “Laos People Don’t Rush!” and not the country’s official name “Laos People’s Democratic Republic”. So you might as well get accustomed to taking life at a relaxed pace when in Laos.
7. Diverse Languages
Only a little more than half of the population speaks Laos, the country’s official language as a Native language. Instead, several ethnic minority languages are spoken. English and French are also spoken to some extent.
8. Laos had a severe impact from the Vietnam War
This might be news to some travelers but Laos is known to be the world’s most bombed country. More than two billion tonnes of bombs (which is more compared to all of the bombs dropped on Europe in World War II) were set in Laos throughout the Vietnam War.
9. Coffee Lovers Haven
You can find the best coffee in entire Southeast Asia in Laos. Coffee is, in fact, the biggest export of this country. It is served here with condensed milk which takes it to a completely different level of sweet caffeine goodness.
7. The Laotians love their Sticky Rice
Sticky rice, being a versatile national staple, is consumed more in Laos as compared to anywhere else in this world. This dish is served sweet, sour, or fermented and it is traditionally eaten with their hands.
The Laotians love it so much that around 155 kilograms of this national dish are consumed by a single person every year.
8. Laos means the ‘Land of a Million Elephants’
The name Laos translates to ‘Land of a Million Elephants’. As the kingdom of Lan Xang used the symbol of an elephant when he ruled Laos in between the fourteenth and early eighteenth centuries.
It is considered a strong reminder of the force of an ancient civilization even though there aren’t as many elephants roaming around at present.
9. Laos has the Oldest Human Fossil in Southeast Asia
A skull and a jawbone were found in a cave in Laos, in the year 2009. It happened to be the oldest modern human fossil discovered in Southeast Asia.
It has been estimated that the skull is between 46,000 to 63,000 years old and it was discovered in the Tam Pa Ling cave in the Annamite Mountains.
10. A Nationwide Midnight Curfew
This might come off as a sign that this is a country ruled by a ‘communist’ government but in Laos, there is an official nationwide midnight curfew.
In application, this is not so much enforced on the people, but more on businesses, even though several guesthouses will request you to return before midnight.
11. Quite Expensive Postage Stamps
If you’re among those people who like to send postcards to your family back home from each nation you visit, you might notice that the stamps in Laos are comparatively much more expensive. For a postcard to Europe, one stamp will cost you about 13,000 kips (around $2).