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Driving Directions Laos

LAOS is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia. It is ruggedly moun­tainous apart from the Mekong river plains along its border with Thailand. The Annam Mountains, which reach 2,500 meters or 8,203 feet, form a natural border with Vietnam. Like its neighbor, Myanmar, it has a wealth of plant and animal life.

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Laos has a tropical monsoon climate with high temperatures throughout the year and heavy rains in summer. Laos is one of the world’s poorest countries, and its development has retarded by war, drought, and floods.

Buddhism and spirit wor­ship are the principal religions, and religious activities play a very impor­tant part in people’s lives.

It is primarily an agricultural country, with the principal crop being rice grown on small peasant plots. The mighty Mekong river provides the primary means of transport and communication, and irrigation for the rice paddies upon which the people’s subsistence depends. Corn, potatoes, and cassava are also grown.

There is some export of timber, coffee, tin, and electricity. All manufactured goods are imported, mainly food, machinery, petroleum products, and electrical equipment. The capital and largest city, Vientiane, is the country’s leading trade outlet via Thailand.

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Laos consists of a northern region centered on the Mekong River valley, with a narrower panhandle extending to the southeast. Less than three-fifths of the national territory is contained in the country’s northern section, and over two-fifths is in the country’s southern panhandle. Away from the Mekong, the high mountains of the Annamese Cordillera extend across the country.

Laos is a landlocked nation. The closest sea is the Gulf of Tonkin of the Pacific Ocean. Laos boasts few lakes. The largest by far is Ngum Reservoir.

Did you know about Laos?

Many bomb craters from the United States’ aerial bombardment of Laos in the 1960s and 1970s, during the Vietnam War, have filled with water, becoming ponds.

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