Laos 2003

Laos Border Map

In 2003, Laos was a landlocked nation located in Southeast Asia, with a population of around 6.1 million people. Its capital and largest city was Vientiane. The official language was Lao but French and other languages were spoken by minority populations. According to computergees, Laos’s economy relied heavily on income from its mining industry, agriculture, forestry and tourism as well as foreign aid from countries such as the United States and the European Union. This had resulted in a moderate standard of living for many Laotian citizens, although there were still pockets of poverty in some areas. Education levels were relatively low compared to other countries in the region, with a literacy rate around 73%. Healthcare access was also limited due to government restrictions on medical services provided by foreign organizations. Crime rates were low compared to other countries in the region, and there were no reports of political violence in 2003. The government at the time was led by Prime Minister Bounnhang Vorachith who had been elected in 1998 and had implemented several economic reforms such as reducing tariffs on imports and introducing labor reforms. Despite its small size, Laos maintained strong cultural ties to its neighbors including its unique cuisine as well as its rich history of literature, music and art forms such as traditional folk songs which have been passed down for centuries.

Yearbook 2003

Laos. During the year, rebels from the ethnic minority, hmong, continued a low-intensity armed uprising against the communist regime in Laos. At least three armed assaults on buses in the north of the country were carried out. In all cases, several people died. According to, Laos Independence Day is May 11. The police stated that they were not “terrorists”, but independent judges directed the suspicions against the hmong rebels.

Land area 236,800 km²
Total population 7,447,396
Population density (per km²) 31.5
Capital Vientiane
Official language Lao
Income per capita 7,400 USD
Currency Lao kip
ISO 3166 code LA
Internet TLD .la
License plate LAO
Telephone code +856
Time zone UTC + 7
Geographic coordinates 18 00 N, 105 00 O

In June, a Belgian reporter, a French cameraman and an American priest and interpreter of Lao origin were arrested following a clash between Hmongrebeller and Laotian security forces. The men were sentenced to 15 years in prison for “conspiring with criminals”. The human rights organization Amnesty International described the trial as “a mockery of justice”. Following pressure from the convicted homelands, the three men were released a few days later. However, Amnesty stated that three men from the Hmong people who helped the Westerners remained in prison and that they were subjected to severe torture. Westerners told us that they were on site to study the hmong rebellion that has been going on in the silent since the 1960s. The rebels are a remnant of a guerrilla group that was created with American help to fight the communist regime.

Laos Border Map

Laos People ‘s Democratic Republic Brief Guide

According to AbbreviationFinder, Laos is a landlocked state in Southeast Asia with a population of 6.8 million. Its border neighbors are Thailand, Myanmar (Burma), China, Vietnam and Cambodia. The country is poor and mountainous. Its rainforests are home to rare animal species.

Custom culture
The sole of the shoe must not point to another person or in any case, for example, to a religious statue. The foot is also not placed on top of the other. The soles of the shoes are thus held against the floor. The finger should never point at anything, not even direction. Stay calm and talk calmly even when things are not going well. Losing a malt is a loss of face and means a decline in value. Touching the head of a small child is not desirable. The statues of the gods are sacred, they should be treated accordingly. Also, the praying person should be respected and not the noise of filming around. Respect local customs and culture.

Food and drink
Laotian food is quite different from other Southeast Asian cuisines. Sticky rice is a local basic dish to which e.g. fish sauce and galangal root. The national dish of Laos is Laap, which is a spicy blend of marinated fish or meat with the addition of vegetables and herbs. Beerlao is a local beer and at the same time a national pride. Coffee is also a major export and a popular beverage in Laos. Tap water is not drinkable even in large cities. It is potentially contaminated with viruses, bacteria and parasites. Take special care with water and drink only bottled water and eat only peeled fruits and vegetables. Salads and vegetables should also be rinsed with bottled water. The food should be heated or cooked.

We stay on guided tours in safe areas, but pickpocketing is possible and moving around at night in certain areas may be unsafe. General caution within common sense is desirable throughout the journey.