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Laos Information - Page 1
Geography
The Lao People's Democratic Republic is a landlocked country in Southeastern Asia. It is bordered by Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar (Burma), China and Vietnam.

Vientiane is the capital. Other cities include Luang Prabang, Pakse and Savannakhet.

The terrain is mountainous with some some plains and plateaus. The principal river is the Mekong.

Laos has a tropical monsoon climate.

Environment
A number of National Biodiversity Conservation Areas, set up by the Lao government, cover over fourteen percent of the country.

Phou Khao Khouay National Park, designated a National Protected Area in 1993, is the nearest National Park to Vientiane.

Animals found in Laos include bears, elephants, gibbons, jackals and macaques. The Laotian rock rat, thought to have become extinct eleven million years ago, was photographed by Western scientists in 2006.

Architecture
The Champasak Cultural Landscape is on the World Heritage List. The complex dates from the fifth to the fifteenth centuries and includes Wat Phou and two cities on the Mekong.

Traditional and French Colonial architecture can be seen in Luang Prabang, also a World Heritage site. The former Royal Palace, built in the early twentieth century, now serves as the National Museum.

Wat Sisaket is one of the oldest surviving religious buildings in Vientiane; many thousands of Buddha images cand be seen in the monastery. The Pha That Luang (the Great Sacred Stupa), also in the capital, is said to contain a relic of the Lord Buddha.

Population
The population of Laos was estimated at 6,677,534 in 2008.

Languages
Lao is the official language. French, English and a number of ethnic languages are spoken.

Religion
Around two-thirds the people are Buddhist, a significant percentage are animist, and small numbers practice the Baha'i Faith, Christianity and Islam.

Food
Laotian cuisine is hot and spicy using ingredients such as garlic, chilli peppers, lemon grass, coriander, lime juice, peanuts, and fermented fish sauce. Sticky rice is the staple food.

Laap (finely chopped meat or fish with herbs and spices) is a popular dish. Noodle soup and spring rolls are also favourite foods.

Green papaya salad is eaten. Vegetables include cabbages, carrots, cucumbers, green beans, onions, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes.

French baguettes are sold in the towns.

Fruits available in Laos are bananas, coconuts, custard apples, durians, guavas, mangoes, oranges, papayas, pineapples, starfruit, and watermelons.

Coffee and tea are grown. Local alcoholic drinks are rice whisky and beer.

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