Laos

SUMMARY:
Laos offers the traveler the experience of traditional Southeast Asia. In other words, things aren’t up to 21st century code over here. The jungles are untamed, the economy is in shambles, and it is the third largest opium producer in the world. Plus, the scenery is amazing.

PROFILE:
Full Country Name: Lao People’s Democratic Republic
Area: 236,800 sq km (92,040 sq mi)
Population: 5.7 million
Capital city: Vientiane (pop. approx. 598,000)
People:: Lao Loum, Lao Theung, Lao Soung, Vietnamese, Chinese
Language: Lao (also French, English, and other ethnic languages)
Religion: 60% Buddhist, 38.5% animist and other religions, 1.5% Christian
Government: Communist State

MONEY & COSTS:
Currency: Kip
Relative cost:
Budget meal: US$0.50-1
Budget room: US$2-8

If you really need to watch your budget, you can get by for as little as US$6-8 a day, but it’s more if you want features like air conditioning and hot water. While the kip is the legal currency of Laos, the Thai bath and the US dollar are also accepted (particularly in cities).

TRANSPORTATION:
On the land, buses and modified flatbed trucks are the common forms of transportation. Travelers will commonly need to take the river to get to their destination. There are some long-distance ferries called heua duan between Vientiane and Huay Xai. For short trips, a river taxi or speed boat to get where you need to go.

RELIGION:
Most Laotians are either Buddhists or animists. With the population so spread out, it is difficult for missionaries to concentrate their efforts in one central location. This means that there are many unreached people living in some of the more remote areas of the country.

CALL TO MISSIONARIES:
With the population so spread out, it is difficult for missionaries to concentrate their efforts in one central location. This means that there are many unreached people living in some of the more remote areas of the country. Missionaries to Laos must put up with all the hardships of an underdeveloped country. Leeches, unreliable electricity, and an extremely low population of Christians are just some of the obstacles that must be overcome.