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Laos is a landlocked country located in Southeast Asia. It is located at the heart of the Indochinese Peninsula. Myanmar borders Laos. The Northwest part of Laos is bordered by China, while the East part of Laos is bordered by Vietnam. Cambodia and Thailand are also bordered with Laos at the Southwest and West part of Laos. The country area is approximately 1,050 km from the Northwest to Southeast. The capital city of Laos is Vientiane. It is located on the Northern part of Laos along the Mekong River.
The geological landscape of Laos is diverse into forested mountains, upland plateaus and lowland plains. The population is equally diverse through agriculture, particularly the cultivation of rice activity. The neighbouring country such as Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar gives a big influence on Laos’s culture. Since the 5th and mid-19th century, the elements of Indian culture are spreading in Laos. Nowadays, Buddhism is the religion practised by most of the population in Laos. Both of Buddhist and Hindu religion has shaped the visual, performing and literary arts of the country — however, many of the indigenous and minority peoples in the remote areas or mountainous regions in Laos still maintaining their idiosyncratic ritual and artistic traditions.
On the 19th to mid-20th century, Laos is colonised by the French that infused Laos with a European cultural element. Laos emerged from the turmoil in 1975 as a communist country, guided by Marxist-Leninist ideology. Economics reformation, as well as the development of tourism in Laos in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, have strengthened Laos’s economy. The impact from that, the country’s debt is shrinking and lessen the dependence on international aid.
In Laos, the tourism sector is one of the fastest-growing sectors. Visitors to the country increased from 80,000 in 1990 to 1.876 million in 2010. The official slogan for Laos tourism is "Simply Beautiful". The main attractions found in Laos include the Buddhist culture and colonial architecture in Luang Prabang. The ancient temple is located in Vientiane.
To get to Laos, a visa is needed by most of the countries. Thirty-Day visas are available on arrival at the international airport and land borders. However, citizens of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), including Japan, South Korean, Russia and Switzerland can enjoy visa-free access to Laos. Singapore citizen can also enjoy free-visa access to Laos for 30 days as Singapore is one of the ASEAN countries. Citizens of African and Middle Eastern countries must apply for a visa in advance before coming to Laos. If you are exceeding your stay in Laos, it is not a major crime. However, you need to pay approximately US$10 for each day upon departure.
Laos is a multi-lingual country. The official language of Laos is Lao. Various foreign language has been used by the elite in Laos such as French. French was once used by the upper-class society in Laos. However, in the late 1970s, English had begun to displace it. Vietnamese became the third language of the elite people under the leadership of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party.
Laos has the typical tropical monsoon climate throughout the region. However, the mountains provide some variations in the temperature. May to October is a rainy season in Laos. The average rainfall in Laos is 1,300 to 2,300 mm due to the winds of the Southwest monsoon. During the dry season, from December to February, the minimum temperatures are between 16°C to 21°C. Meanwhile, the temperature can be more than 32°C in March and April due to the Northeast monsoon. In the wet season, the average temperature is 27°C.
Laos cuisine is almost similar to its neighbour countries such as Thailand and Vietnam. The best cuisine in Laos is spicy soup, sticky rice and their meat dishes. In Vientiane, French cuisine is very popular here. This is because Laos was formerly colonised by France. Each big city of Laos serves different specialities.
You can get to Laos by using a flight. From Singapore, several airlines provide the trip to Laos. The main airport in Laos is located at the capital of Laos, Vientiane. The airport in Vientiane is the Wattay International Airport. The airport is located 3 km from the city centre. The airport consists of an old and small domestic terminal and a new international terminal. From Singapore, there is no direct flight to Laos. However, if you like to have transit in other countries like Thailand and Malaysia, you can also take AirAsia, Thai Airlines or any other airlines to get to Laos. If you are coming from Singapore, you can take a flight from Singapore Changi Airport to Wattay International Airport, Laos. The fare for the journey costs around SGD290 depending on the date and time you want to travel. The journey from Singapore Changi to Wattay International Airport will take up to 6 hours including transit time.
Infrastructure and transport facilities in Laos are considered not sufficient compared other countries. There is no railway route in Laos except the short route connecting Vientiane and Thailand through the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge.
Buddhism is the main religion throughout Laos. Thus, there are many temples and stupas in every part of the city and town. The most popular temple is located in Luang Prabang. Luang Prabang is awarded as a UNESCO World Heritage City. Apart from that, many other attractions in Laos can be found in Savannakhet, Champasak and Bokeo.
Luang Prabang is located in the Northern part of Laos. It is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. This town ranks the top must-visit destinations in Laos. There are more than 30 temples in Luang Prabang. You can also visit former royal palaces, old French colonial architecture and beautiful natural sites.
That Luang or also known as The Great Stupa. It is located in Vientiane. That Luang is a national symbol of Laos as it is featured on Laos’s official seal. It is also one of the most sacred monuments in the country. From the outside, the That Luang looks like a fortress surrounded by high walls.
Vang Vieng is located at the North of Vientiane. Vang Vieng is popular among the travellers especially young backpackers. You will be amazed by the scenery. It is surrounded by mountains, rivers, paddy field and many more. There is a Nam Song River which has a famous tubing activity in Vang Vieng. Travellers usually will sit in a larger inner tube and floats along the river. Apart from that, there is a well-known Tham Poukham Cave which features a ‘Blue Lagoon’. It is a nice spot to swim and swing on a rope.
Bolaven Plateau is located in the Southern part of Laos. This Bolaven Plateau is famous for its scenery and waterfalls. The waterfalls are known as the most spectacular waterfalls in Southeast Asia. The Bolaven Plateau and Tad Fane Waterfall are open every day throughout the year. The waterfalls are more impressive during the rainy season between July and October. However, if you are visiting during October and February, you can observe the coffee harvesting activities around the plateau.
Wat Phu is located in Champasak. It is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Wat Phu means mountain temple. It is situated on a hillside and offers spectacular views of the surrounding. Travellers who love nature, art and history will amaze by the architecture in Wat Phu. The best time to visit Wat Phu is during the third lunar month usually in February. They will hold an annual festival at the Wat Phu.
Buddha Park or also known as Xieng Khuan is one of the most popular sculptures in Laos. The Buddha Park has more than 200 religious statues that have a height of 40 meters.
Kiridara Luang Prabang is a four-star hotel located alongside Ban Vieng Mai Road. This hotel is very near to the famous attractions in Luang Prabang such as Buddhist temples. From this hotel, you can watch a spectacular view of Mount Phousi. You can get to Kiridara Luang Prabang by using a flight to Luang Prabang International Airport. The airport is located 20 min away from the Kiridara Luang Prabang Hotel.
Sengtawan Riverside Hotel located in Vientiane. This hotel offers you breath-taking views alongside the Mekong River. The hotel is just 10 min away from the city centre, international airport and popular tourist attractions in Vientiane. This hotel is ideal for all types of guests, whether you are in Vientiane for work or vacation.
The Luang Say Residence is located in Luang Prabang. This hotel is located in a very strategic place as it is close to many attractions in Luang Prabang. The Luang Say Residence is close to Wat Mai, Phu Si and Royal Palace Museum. A night market is also located nearby the Luang Say Residence. When you are staying in Luang Say Residence, you will be served with many services. The hotel provides complimentary transportation within 5 km from the hotel. The guests are served with complimentary breakfast as well. The Luang Say Residence also has a library and a garden.
Salana Boutique Hotel is located in Vientiane. The hotel is strategically located at Salana Boutique Hotel is just a 7-minute walk from the National Museum of Lao and a 12-minute walk to Wat Si Saket.