Laos Overview Information, Need to know about Laos, Laos People, Laos History, Laos Language, Laos Geography, Laos Government & Politics
Laos's Overview
The official language of the LPDR is Lao as spoken and written in Vientiane. As an official language, it has successfully become the lingua franca between all Lao and non-Lao ethnic groups in Laos. Of course, native Lao is spoken with differing tonal accents and with slightly differing vocabularies as you move from one part of the country to the next, especially in a north to south direction. But it is the Vientiane dialect that is most widely understood.
Laos was once described as less a nation state than a conglomeration of tribes and languages ... less a unified society than a multiplicity of feudal societies'. This is still borne out by the country's ethnic mix: Lao traditionally divide themselves into four categories - Lao Loum, Lao Thai, Lao Theung and Lao Sung - roughly classified according to the altitude at which they live, and, by implication (not always accurate), their cultural proclivities.
Since 2 December 1975, Laos has been titled the Lao People's Democratic Republic (Sathalanalat Pasathipatai Pasason Lao). Informally, it is acceptable to call the country Laos, or in the Lao language, Pathet Lao (pather means land or country, from the Sanskrit pradeshay. 'Among English- speakers there is a growing tendency to drop the extra's' added by the French and simply use 'Lao' as the country's shortened unofficial name. After 1975, the former pro-Western, monarchical regime was replaced by a government that espoused a Marxist-Leninist political philosophy (see History for more details). The national motto is Peace, Independence, Democracy, Unity & Prosperity (the latter being substituted for 'Socialism'in 1991).
In spite of the fact that phli (spirit) worship has been officially banned, it remains the dominant non-Buddhist belief system in the country. Even in Vientiane. Lao citizens openly perform the ceremony called SII khwan or baasli (baci in the common French transliteration) in which the 32 guardian spirits known as khwan are bound to the guest of honor by white strings tied around the wrists. Each khwan is thought to be guardians over different organs - mental and physical - in a person's body.
Landlocked Laos shares borders with China, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. It covers 235,000 sq km, an area slightly larger than Great Britain. All. of Laos lies within the tropics, between latitudes 14°N and 23°N and longitudes 1000E and 10goE. Rivers and mountains dominate the topography, and their interaction accounts for most of the country's geographic variation.
The human history of Laos stretches back more than 10,000 years as stone tools and skulls unearthed in Huaphan and Luang Prabang provinces can confirm. The famous giant jars in Xieng Khouang province and stone columns in Huaphan province date from the neolithic period. Over centuries, rural settlements grew slowly to from muang (townships) along the Mekong River.
Ha noi
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Ho Chi Minh
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Bach Long Vi
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Da Nang
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