LAOS, officially the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, is located in Southeast Asia, bordered by Burma, China, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. Its population was estimated to be 6.5 million.
Laos traces its history to the Kingdom which existed from the 14th to the 18th century when it split into three separate kingdoms. In 1893, it became a French protectorate, with the three kingdoms, Luang Phrabang, Vientiane and Champasak, uniting to form what is now known as Laos. Laos became independent in 1953.
The capital city is Vientiane. Other large cities include Luang Prabang, Savannakhet and Pakse. The official language is Lao.
Stone tools discovered in northern Laos attest to the presence of hunter-gatherers from at least 40,000 years ago. Archeological evidence suggests agriculturist society developed during the 4th millennia B.C.
Laos is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia, lying mostly between latitudes 14° and 23°N. Its thickly forested landscape consists mostly of rugged mountains, the highest of which is Phou Bia at 2,818 metres (9,245 ft), with some plains and plateaus. The Mekong River forms a large part of the western boundary with Thailand, whereas the mountains of the Annamite Range form most of the eastern border with Vietnam and the Luang Prabang Range the northwestern border with the Thai highlands. There are two plateaux, the Xiangkhoang in the north and the Bolaven Plateau at the southern end.
The climate is tropical and influenced by the monsoon pattern.
Theravada Buddhism is a dominant influence in Lao culture. It is reflected throughout the country from language to the temple and in art, literature, performing arts, etc. Many elements of Lao culture predate Buddhism, however. For example, Laotian music is dominated by its national instrument, the khaen, a type of bamboo pipe that has prehistoric origins. The khaen traditionally accompanied the singer in lam, the dominant style of folk music. Among the various lam styles, the lam saravane is probably the most popular.
The martial art of Muay Lao, the national sport, is a form of kickboxing similar to other styles of Southeast Asia such as Thai Muay Thai, Burmese Lethwei, Malaysian Tomoi and Cambodian Pradal Serey.
Sticky Rice is a characteristic staple food and has cultural and religious significance to the Lao people. Sticky rice is generally preferred over jasmine rice, and sticky rice cultivation and production is thought to have originated in Laos. There are many traditions and rituals associated with rice production in different environments, and among many ethnic groups.
Source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laos