Laos is a landlocked communist country in Southeastern Asia which is bordered by China, Cambodia, Vietnam, Burma and Thailand.
Historically, its people come from the Kingdom of Lan Xang also known as the Land of a Million Elephants, tracing its heritage from the fourteenth through the eighteenth century. It is a country that gained its independence in 1949 but, after a long civil war, a communist movement came to power in 1975.
Travelers to Cambodia need to understand that the infrastructure of the country is extremely limited and that eighty percent of the population earns its money through agriculture. Ferry boats will take people from one place to another and people with pickup trucks will line them with benches for public or long distance travel.
There is no railway and many of the roads away from major municipalities are not paved or are not able to be accessed throughout the year. Telecommunications may only be via cell phone in some areas of the country.
The country of Laos has two World Heritage sites, Luang Prabang and Wat Phou. Visitors can see these sites as well as the Plain of Jars, also in the running for a World Heritage Site. Luang Prabang is the former capital of the Kingdom of Laos until 1975. Wat Phou is a ruined Khmer temple complex in southern Laos dating from the 11th through the 13th century.
Located at the base of mount Phu Kao about 6 kilometers from the Mekong River, this site is currently a center of Theravada Buddhism. Buddhist temples can be visited as well in other places in Laos, such as the Buddha Park along the Mekong River near Vientiane. Now that the Chinese government has recently allowed its own citizens to travel in Laos and Chinese tourists make up 25 percent of all travelers to Laos.
The most common food staple in Laos is rice, which has cultural and religious significance to its people.