About Laos

Laos is a Southeast Asian country traversed by the Mekong River and known for mountainous terrain, French colonial architecture, hill tribe settlements and Buddhist monasteries.


Vientiane, the capital, is the site of the That Luang monument, where a reliquary reportedly houses the Buddha’s breastbone, plus the Patuxai war memorial and Talat Sao (Morning Market), a complex jammed with food, clothes and craft stalls.

  • Area: 236,800 km².

  • Population: 7.2 million.

  • Religions: Buddhism (66%), animism (20%), Christianity (2%).

  • Political system: single republic of Marxist ideology since 1975.

  • Capital: Vientiane.

  • Head of state: Bounnhang Vorachith (since 2016).

  • Head of government : Thongloun Sisoulith (since 2016).

  • Languages: Lao (official language), Tai dialects (Tai Dam, Tai Lue, Tai Daeng), Sino-Tibetan dialects (Hmong, Yao), Tibeto-Burmese (Akha, Lahu), French and English

  • Currency: the kip.

  • Minimum wage: 900 000 kips per month (about 90 €).

  • Human Development Index: 139th (0.586) out of 189.

  • Unesco World Heritage Sites: the city of Luang Prabang (1995); Wat Phou and the associated ancient settlements of Champasak cultural landscape (2001).