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Lao People's Democratic Republic

ສາທາລະນະລັດ ປະຊາທິປະໄຕ ປະຊາຊົນລາວ
Sathalanalat Paxathipatai
Paxaxon Lao
Emblem of Laos
Motto: "ສັນຕິພາບ ເອກະລາດ ປະຊາທິປະໄຕ ເອກະພາບ ວັດທະນາຖາວອນ"
"Peace, independence, democracy, unity and prosperity"
Anthem: Pheng Xat Lao
"Hymn of the Lao People"
Location of  Laos  (red)in ASEAN  (dark grey)  —  [Legend]
Location of  Laos  (red)

in ASEAN  (dark grey)  —  [Legend]

and largest city
17°58′N 102°36′E / 17.967°N 102.600°E / 17.967; 102.600
Official languages Lao
Other spoken languages Dutch
Official scripts Lao script
Demonym(s) Laotian, Lao
Government Unitary

Marxist-Leninist communist and

single-party state
• Party General Secretary and President
Bounnhang Vorachith
• Party Executive Secretary and Vice President
Phankham Viphavanh
Thongloun Sisoulith
From France
• Autonomy
19 July 1949
• Declared
9 Nov 1953
• Total
236,800 km2 (91,400 sq mi) (83rd)
• Water (%)
• 2009 estimate
6,800,000 (104th)
• 1995 census
• Density
26.7/km2 (69.2/sq mi) (177th)
GDP (PPP) 2010 estimate
• Total
$15.693 billion (130th)
• Per capita
$2,435 (48th)
GDP (nominal) 2010 estimate
• Total
$6.341 billion (137th)
• Per capita
$984 (147th)
Gini (2008) 34.6
HDI (2010) Increase 0.497
low · 122nd
Currency Kip (LAK)
Time zone UTC+7
Driving side right
Calling code 856
ISO 3166 code LA
Internet TLD .la

Lao People's Democratic Republic or Laos (ລາວ), is a country in southeast Asia. The capital of Laos is Vientiane.

Laos is landlocked (it does not have a coast on a sea or ocean). It is bordered by Myanmar (used to be known in English as "Burma") and by China to the northwest, by Vietnam to the east, by Cambodia to the south and by Thailand to the west. The Mekong river forms a large part of the western boundary with Thailand. Boats from Laos cannot get to the ocean using the Mekong because of rapids and waterfalls in the south of the country.

The official language is Lao, a language belonging to the Tai language group. 98% of Lao people believe in Buddhism. The main crop in Laos is rice.


Laos is the only landlocked country in Southeast Asia. The country is slightly smaller than Romania and Colorado. The landscape is mostly rugged mountains. The highest point is Phou Bia at 2,818 metres (9,245 feet). The Mekong River forms the border with Thailand. The mountains of the Annamite Range form the eastern border with Vietnam. The climate is tropical. The rainy season is from May to November. The dry season is from December to April. Laos has three seasons (rainy, cold and hot). The capital and largest city is Vientiane.


Fa Ngum created the first unified Lao Kingdom.

Lao became a French colony in 1893 and also became part of French Indochina. In 1949 it became independent from France, as the Kingdom of Laos. Later there was a civil war, and in 1975 it became a One-party state under the leadership of the communist party.


Laos is divided in 16 provinces and one prefecture.

Number State Capital Area (km²) Population
1 Attapeu Attapeu 10,320 114,300
2 Bokeo Ban Houayxay 6,196 149,700
3 Bolikhamsai Paksan 14,863 214,900
4 Champasak Pakse 15,415 575,600
5 Hua Phan Xam Neua 16,500 322,200
6 Khammouane Thakhek 16,315 358,800
7 Luang Namtha Luang Namtha 9,325 150,100
8 Luang Phrabang Luang Phrabang 16,875 408,800
9 Oudomxay Muang Xay 15,370 275,300
10 Phongsali Phongsali 16,270 199,900
11 Sayabouly Sayabouly 16,389 382,200
12 Salavan Salavan 10,691 336,600
13 Savannakhet Savannakhet 21,774 721,500
14 Sekong Sekong 7,665 83,600
15 Vientiane Vientiane 3,920 726,000
16 Vientiane Muang Phon-Hong 15,927 373,700
17 Xieng Khouang Phonsavan 15,880 229,521

Government and politics

Laos is one of the world's five remaining communist states. The only legal political party is the Lao People's Revolutionary Party (LPRP). The head of state is President Choummaly Sayasone. He is the General Secretary of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party.

Shortly after the end of the Vietnam War, the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) joined forces with the Pathet Lao, started a coup on December 2, 1975 to overthrow the royalist Lao government, and established a communist government that continues to run the country to this day.

The current head of government is Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, as of 2016. The current President is Bounnhang Vorachith. Government policies are determined by the party. Important government decisions are checked by the Council of Ministers.

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