People are smiling, calm, kind… The landscapes look superb. We are going to love discovering this country!

The video of our visit to Laos

With a little Laotian who imitates Thomas (or Thomas who imitates Laotian?)

Where is Laos?

Its flag:

laos flag

General data

Surface : 236 800 km².

Population : 6,5 million d’habitants.

official religion : Buddhism (67%). others: Catholic 1.5% – Muslims: barely 1%

Political regime : republic with Marxist ideology since 1975.

Capital : Vientiane.

Head of state : Lieutenant General Choummaly Sayasone (since 2006).

Languages : Lao, Thai dialects (Hmong, Mon-Khmer and Sino-Tibetan), French and English.

Cash : le chicken : 10 000 chicken = 1 euro

Quality of life : more than three quarters of the population lives on less than $2 a day.

Life expectancy : 67 ans.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites : the city of Luang Prabang (1995); Wat Phou and Associated Ancient Settlements of the Cultural Landscape of Champasak (2001). We should go to these two places!

Jet lag : + 5h in summer, + 6h in winter.



With the exploitation of forests and fishing, the agricultural sector generates about 35% of the country's GDP, employing more than 75% of the active population. Lao agriculture is still carried out with very traditional methods, without fertilizers or technologies; it occupies only 8% of arable land, and therefore has great potential for development.


The textile industry remains a key sector of the economy and development of Laos. The activity generates many jobs and more than 25% of the country's total exports. Apart from textiles, the industrial sector remains almost non-existent.

Mineral resources

Very rich, the subsoil of Laos has never really been exploited. The mining industry therefore has enormous development potential.


Although still far from its global exploitation potential, hydroelectric energy is already positioned as the spearhead of the Laotian economy.

International aid

Very significant – more than 7% of GDP -, international aid mainly finances poverty reduction and infrastructure development programs. Japan, Sweden and France are among the main creditors…


The primary characteristic of Laos is that it does not have access to the sea. The country extends from North to South over a length of nearly 1,500 km. It shares common borders with Thailand, the Cambodia, the Vietnam, the China and Myanmar (a country formerly called Burma).

The Mekong is a very important river in the life of the country. Almost all of the arable land is located near the river, where more than half of the population is concentrated.


Like its neighbours, the country alternates between a dry season and a wet season.

From November to March: we are in dry season and the temperatures are not too high.
From April to October, Laos is subject to the regime of monsoons. The hottest months are April and May.


Lao food is close to Thai cuisine but is characterized by the use of even morearomatic herbs and peppers. Rice, and more particularly steamed sticky rice, is the basis of the diet. THE fragrant soups are also very popular.


Fruit juices : many, fresh and tasty.
Tea : sometimes replaces the water served at the table. We love !
Coffee : plantations were introduced by the French on the Bolaven plateau. You can find them almost everywhere. In general, it is served with sweetened condensed milk, with ice cubes.

- Beer : extremely widespread in Laos. There Beer Lao, brewed near Vientiane, is in a quasi-monopoly situation. It is very good and its taste rivals our good European beers.

Sports and leisure Laos

Volley-ball et Katow

Volleyball is the most popular sport in Laos. Volleyball courts can be found even in the most remote villages of the bush, and even in monasteries.

The katow is played with a ball or a rattan or bamboo ball, which can be touched with the feet or all parts of the body except the hands and arms.


This legacy of the French presence continues with astonishing popularity. There are bowling alleys even in the lost villages. The Laotians meet there at the end of the afternoon and take themselves for Marius, punctuating their comments with French expressions like “c’est bon!” ".


Laotian youth are crazy about it! Jerseys bearing the effigy of Japanese or Korean players are legion and vacant lots, playgrounds or the sandbanks of the Mekong are transformed in the evening into improvised grounds. To get an idea of ​​the impact of a World Cup on Buddhist culture, watch the film “The Cup” released in 1998: monks (Tibetans in the film) hide in the evening to go see the final.


Very popular, especially in the Luang Prabang region. They have been officially banned since 1993, but the application of this law is purely symbolic. They generally take place on Sundays or on the occasion of certain religious holidays. Bets are organized, even if officially, again, gambling is prohibited in Laos.

Know-how and customs

Relatively common to all countries in the region.

Never get angry nor show that one is losing patience. Always keep calm, avoid shouting or speaking too loudly.
Avoid touching the head Laotians, considered sacred. Avoid pointing at someone or something with your foot and climbing on Buddha statues. In the temples, it is advisable to take off your shoes and uncover your head. Women should not reach out to monks or touch them. If they want to give them a present, they must place it on a support like a table. Entry to temples will be prohibited if they wear short skirts and bare shoulders.
Avoid public displays of affection.

thank you the backpacker !

Basics of Lao

This is the vocabulary we want to try to learn for this month of travel in Laos. We realized in Cambodia that knowing a few basics of the language greatly facilitates life!

Bonjour : sabai dee
Ho are you doing ? : sabai dee bo ?
Merci: khop chai
Thank you so much: don't stop talking
Please: karuna
Excuse me: treat thot
Bye: pai kon
Oui: stone
Non: bo
I don't understand: no problem

Bathroom: Hong Nam
Where is the restroom ? hong nam yu wrong?

How much ? tao dai
Manger: cinema like
Drink: can nam
" Health ! »: nioc nioc !
Thé: nam sa
Café: you feh
Lait: nom
Sucre: male tan
Baguettes: mai tou (wooden or plastic rod)

Cold: yen
Hot: hon
Spicy: phet
Not spicy: bo phet
Menu: meh no

And: neung
Two: song
Three: sam
Four: and
Five: ha
Six: hok
Sept: chet
Eight: phet
Nine: as
Dix: sip
Our: sip and
Twelve: sip song
Thirteen: sip sam
Fourteen: sip yes
Fifteen: sip has
Seize: sip hok
Seventeen: sip chet
Eighteen: sip phet
Nineteen: cuttlefish like
Twenty: sao
Thirty: sam sip
Forty: yes sip
Fifty: has sip

Cent: neung
cent a: law and
One hundred and two: law song
Two hundred: song law
Two hundred and three: song law sam
Mille: phan neung

1100: analysis
Twenty thousand: why?
Fifty thousand: Ha sip phan