- Vientiane; 716,000
- 236,800 square kilometers (91,429 square miles)
- Lao, French, English, various ethnic languages
- Buddhist, animist, other
- Life Expectancy:
- GDP per Capita:
- U.S. $1,800
- Literacy Percent:
Laos Facts Flag
Laos is a poor, landlocked, and mountainous country in Southeast Asia. Agriculture, mostly subsistence farming, dominates the economy. Most people live in the valleys of the Mekong River and its tributaries, where rice can be grown on fertile floodplains. Soon after independence from France in 1953, the country fell into turmoil; in 1975 the communist Pathet Lao seized power with help from North Vietnam. Many fled the regime, and the U.S. resettled some 250,000 Lao refugees. One of the few remaining communist states, the economy is hampered by poor roads, no railroad, and limited access to electricity.
- Industry: Tin and gypsum mining, timber, electric power, agricultural processing
- Agriculture: Sweet potatoes, vegetables, corn, coffee; water buffalo
- Exports: Wood products, garments, electricity, coffee, tin
—Text From National Geographic Atlas of the World, Eighth Edition
National Geographic Traveler presents the New Year's must-see places. From Argentina to Oz, this list reflects what’s authentic, culturally rich, sustainable-minded, and of course superlative in the world of travel today.
Adventurer Alex Honnold's wildest dream trip is to climb his way across Southeast Asia and Australia. Learn more about this trip and others in our Ultimate Adventure Bucket List.
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