Population: 5.6 million
Order of Visit: 53rd
First Visit: 13 July 2016
Last Visit: 16 July 2016
Duration: 4 Days
Must Do: Kouang Si Waterfall, Mekong River, Pak Ou Caves, Alms giving ceremony
Cities: Luang Prabang
Laos is a very beautiful and friendly country. I only spend time there for 4 days and in the city of Luang Prabang but felt a warmth from the locals. Laos has a one party government system, in this case Communist. Despite this Buddism is the dominate religion. While there is no Government support for Buddhism the Government does tolerant this religion while allowing no others at all, which is more in line with communism.
The Buddhist Monks and Temples survive by the direct support of the locals and tourists. This is best demonstrated by the Alms giving ceremony where each morning the monks work out of their temples and people provide them with food for the day. It’s a tradition that goes back many centuries.
Laos future development is based on generating electricity from its rivers and selling the power to its neighbors, namely Thailand, China, and Vietnam, as well as its initiative to become a ‘land-linked’ nation, shown by the planning of four new railways connecting Laos to those same countries but funded by the Chinese Government. I expect once completed Laos will develop more of a Western feel.
The famous Mekong River dominates this country and connects numerous countries which unfortunately meant that Laos was drawn into the Vietnam War and there are still unexploded USA bombs in the countryside.
The country is undoubtably poor, and apparently the Government is very corrupt but the people are helpful and at least this I interacted with hopeful of the future.