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Home : Holidays : Southeast Asia : Laos : Laos is a hassle-free tourist destination

Laos is a hassle-free tourist destination

Laos is a land with no coastline.Covering an area of 236,800 square kilometres Laos is about two thirds the size of Germany. In the west the country borders on Thailand and Burma, in the north on China and Vietnam, in the east on Vietnam and in the south on Cambodia. Laos is the only Southeast Asian country without direct access to the sea. Most of the country is mountainous, and where there are no mountains one meets with highland plateaus.

Laos' main artery is the Mekong, which for more than 1,800 kilometres - almost half of its entire length - passes through the country or forms the boundary between Laos and Thailand.

Laos is the least populated of the Indochinese countries. A devoutly Buddhist nation, Laos has opened up to provide travelers with an opportunity to experience the diversity, tradition and natural beauty of the country, and gain an insight into how life in Asia may once have been.

If you??re looking for a hassle-free tourist destination, experience Laos in all its majestic beauty. Natural in almost every aspect, Laos is one of Southeast Asia??s least developed nations offering the adventurous raveler a land of many surprises.

Population

The population of Laos is about 5.5 Million, which in terms of population makes Laos the third smallest country in Southeast Asia (after Brunei with 300,000 and Singapore with 3.1 Million).

About half of the country's population are Laotians, a people ethnically closely related to the Thais. The languages Thai and Laotian are also very similar.

Roughly one quarter of the population, mostly to the South, ethnically belongs, like the Cambodians, to the Mon-Khmer group, about 15 % are Thais, and various hill tribes make up another 10 % of the population.

Laos is one of the very few countries in Southeast Asia without significant ethnic tensions. The long-time leader of the communist movement in Laos, former Prime Minister Kaysone Phomvihan, was born of a Vietnamese and a Laotian parent.

The citizens of the country have a reputation for being extremely peaceful and friendly - even though Laos had been caught up in the Vietnam war and in a civil war lasting for years.

Entry Regulations

All Western visitors need visas and you can get one at the Vientiane Airport upon arrival for US $ 50, 2 photographs is needed and you have to show your roundtrip flight ticket.

You can also booked arrangements with tour agencies. The arrangement does not necessarily have to cover the entire validity of the visa. Those having booked only short term arrangements for Laos can stay for additional days, but have to follow several regulations.

Laos is still a strongly regulated country. In order to see more of the country travellers staying longer than the initial arrangement provided, will have to book an additional arrangement at a local tour agency.

Only a small number of travel agencies are allowed to cooperate directly with the Laotian departments. Most tour offices and travel agents offering Laos arrangements have to turn to those few major travel agents, for bureaucratic procedures including visas, the booking of hotel accommodation and other touristic services.

Public Holidays

2006Holiday Name
Sun Jan 1New Year's Day
Fri Jan 6 Pathet Lao Day
Fri Jan 20 Army Day
Sun Jan 29Chinese New Year
Wed Mar 8 Women's Day
Wed Mar 22 People's Party Day
Thu Apr 13 Pi Mai (Laotian New Year) (3 days)
Mon May 1 Labour Day
Sat May 13 Buddha Day (Vesak)
Thu Jun 1 Children's Day
Tue Jul 11 Khao Pansa (Buddhist Fast Begins)
Sun Aug 13Lao Issara (Free Laos Day)
Mon Oct 2 Bouk Khao Pansa (Buddhist Fast Ends)
Thu Oct 12 Liberation Day
Sat Dec 2 National Day