Laos History and Culture


The first settlements on the territory of modern Laos appeared about 10 thousand years ago. The origin of the Lao state dates back to the time of the migration of Thai-speaking peoples from South China to the Indochina Peninsula. From the 7th century in the western regions of the modern Chinese province of Yunnan, the powerful state of Nanzhao was formed, which actively conquered neighboring lands, including the territories of modern northern Laos. Then in the 7th c. the lands of modern southern Laos were conquered by the Khmer state of Chenla, which was replaced by the Angkor Empire in the 9th century.

In 1353, the Lao principalities on the territory of modern Laos and Eastern Thailand were united by the ruler Fa Ngum into a single centralized state of Lan Xang, one of the largest states in Indochina. Fa Ngum grew up in the Angkor court and was married to the daughter of a Khmer ruler. Under Fa Ngum, Lan Xang reached its peak of prosperity and power: due to the wars of conquest, the territory was significantly expanded, the country experienced an economic boom, and great monuments of architecture and religious literature were created. However, with the death of Fa Ngum, Lansang’s power began to fade, and internecine strife did not stop. As a result, at the beginning of the 18th century, the state broke up into three separate kingdoms – Luangahabang (Luang Prabang) in the north, Vientiane in the center and Champassak (Champassak, or Bassac) in the south. In the 30s.

After the capture of Vietnam by France and its subjugation of Cambodia in 1863, Laos fell into the sphere of interests of the French colonialists. Until 1950, the country remained part of French Indochina, with the exception of a short period of Japanese occupation during the Second World War. Laos gained full independence in 1953. Since 1964, the United States began to actively intervene in the country’s internal politics, assigning it the role of a springboard for aggressive actions in Indochina. It was only in 1973 that a ceasefire was decided, and in December 1975 the Lao People’s Democratic Party was established. In 1988, Laos was opened to foreigners, and in 1997 the country was admitted to ASEAN. In 1995, UNESCO recognized the city of Luang Prabang as a world cultural heritage site, and in 2001, Wat Phu Champassak temple in South Laos also added to the UNESCO list.


According to Thesciencetutor, Laos is the least economically developed of the three former French colonies of Indochina, where there are no railways, and the network of other means of communication, and the telecommunications system remains rather weak. Most of the population is engaged in agriculture. Rice is cultivated on 90% of arable land, corn, soybeans, sweet potatoes, cassava and vegetables are also grown, cotton, tobacco and sugar cane are industrial crops, and coffee is export crops. Manufacturing enterprises are limited to the processing of agricultural raw materials (rice cleaning) and sawmilling.


Laos is one of the safest places in Southeast Asia. In almost all cases, the Laotians are hospitable and treat tourists with great respect. Sometimes, however, there are cases of petty theft and pickpocketing, so do not carry large amounts of money, valuables, documents with you, and keep it all in a safe.

No vaccinations are officially required to travel to Laos. However, all of Laos, with the exception of the main tourist areas – Vientiane and Luang Prabang, is an area with an increased risk of malaria, so it is advisable to take measures to prevent this disease before traveling to remote areas during the wet season. Try to protect yourself from mosquito bites and check with your doctor about preventive medication and vaccinations before you leave. Hepatitis A, typhoid and tetanus vaccinations are also recommended. Before the trip, form and take a first aid kit with you, which will help you with minor ailments, save you time looking for medicines and get rid of the problems of communicating in a foreign language.

Tap water is not to be drunk, nor is it worth buying food on the street. Also, do not order drinks with ice. The first three days of your stay in the country should refrain from abundant consumption of fruits and vegetables. It is not recommended to eat in shops, cafes, the appearance of which is not credible.

When visiting Laos, it is mandatory to have an insurance with proper insurance coverage. In the event of an insured event, you must contact the office of the insurance company, the phone number of which is indicated in the insurance policy (the call is free).

It is not recommended to visit the areas bordering Cambodia, since there are many minefields left since the war, and even with a guide, the danger is too great. Drugs are illegal in Laos, locals who openly smoke marijuana will often offer you marijuana, but it is strongly not recommended to buy it.

Laos History and Culture