Photo: Thatluang, Vientiane, Laos by Phoonsab Thevongsa
Laos is a county that is unknown well from other people in the world, which there is little people are well-aware its. Land lock, the landscape lies just downstream from north to south by the Mekong River, which is like the mainstream that feeds the Lao people. The Mekong separates to be the Nam Ngum River and many rivers is a subsidiary of the Mekong River; Laos is surrounded by high mountains with lush greenery. Laotian people are predominantly Buddhist, so it is not surprising that you will find temples in every city and almost every village in the country, and you will find many temples in these places.
Photo: Thatluang Stupa,Vientiane Capital, Laos. thank you photo by Mr. Phoonsab Thevongsa
Welcome to Laos, officially the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (The Lao P.D.R) with many wonderful tourism attractions, self-identity culture, fine-mouthed tradition while Laos is developing to digital generation and many more Lao can connect to the internet as well as social media. Luangprabang province is the world heritage city and still be the most popular for tourists, this city is remaining the Lao real tradition by slow life, people give-alms to monks in the morning, temples, ancient Lao houses, and antique locations, and those are waiting for travelers.
Laos is a dream destination of many visitors, especially to who never been in Laos before. Moreover, ex-travelers would like to come back to Laos again. If you love adventure traveling with your heart truly, love nature, waterfalls, underground caves, green mountains sight-seeing, rivers, and other beautiful locations are waiting for special people like you! Finally, I’m going to explain more all about Laos – 6 things as below details.
1. Flag of Laos
The character of Lao flag has the red line on the top and bottom and there is a blue line with a white center circle in the middle of itself, they are between two red lines. Its circle looks like a moon.
Photo: Flag of Laos
2. The National Flower for Laos
Frangipani or we call “Dok Champa” in Lao, It is the national flower of Laos which has white calyces with yellow color in the middle of itself. Basically, the meaning of Frangipani is “Joy in life and sincerity”. When you visit Laos during Lao New Year Festival in April, the Frangipani blooms fully with sweet romantic aroma. Lao prefer to use “Dok Champa” mixing with handmade perfume and making steering wheel for neck jewelry (like flower necklace), especially they like to use it in Baci ceremony, festival or give to visitors for warmly welcome, put on ears or head of Lao women, using in Lao dancing show. In addition, Frangipani tree is used for decorating at the many important locations for examples: temples, monument, park and many other areas in Laos. Finally, I would love to say that the “Dok Champa” is the symbol of a wonderful culture.
Photo: Frangipani or Dok Champa, a national flower of Laos
3. Culture of Laos
Lao people are spirited heart, frankly, happy, like to give alms, helping other people, humble and respect each other. Commonly, we always greet words as “Sabaidee”, meaning hello with a smile or Nop.
The Nop has three types and is acting with front two hands to beside each other on chest level for the same age firstly, but those hands do not touch our body. Secondly, the level of Nop shows a bit higher scale of respecting, children priority do this kind of greeting with their adults for example parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and more other age people. Lastly, sitting floor with Nop and/or two hands on the ground are using for monks, Buddha recognition, adore and worship Buddhist religion.
Ordinary, as you know feet are a part of our body. But, we should not take feet on a high point, using it’s for choosing something or do not touch people by feet. Because Lao believe that feet are the low thing and are not courtesy. We should use our hand instead.
Photo: Example of Nop to Monk
4. The best time travel Laos
You should know that when to travel to Laos, The best time travel Laos in November and February. Because the weather is cold in November and December, we suggest you should carry warm clothes like jackets, sweaters, and pants; the weather of Laos is tropical with humid.
There are 2 seasons in Laos: the dry season and rainy season.
- The dry season starts from October through April, March through May is the weather is quite very hot. The weather is too sunny, travelers should bring sunglasses, sun skin, wearing light clothes or cotton, bug repellent is essential.
- The rainy season is in May or June through September or October; There will have rain almost every day and night, it’s good to have waterproofs, for example, an umbrella, raincoat, sandals, and slippers.
5. Currency Laos
Do you know what kind of currency Lao people use? LAK ( it is stand from Laotian Kip) or Lao call “KIP “in officially, it is official currency Laos. Presently, there are eight type number of money using for buying: 1) 500 Kip; 2) 1,000 Kip; 3) 2,000 Kip; 4) 5,000; 5) 10,000 Kip; 6) 20,000 Kip; 7) 50,000 Kip; and 8) 100,000 Kip
According to our cost of living, I will explain to you more know-how to use Lao Kip and explain more about our currency. If you exchange from USD 100 to USD 200, you will get about a million Kip above. Five hundred kip is fragment amount and it can buy nothing yet, so we don’t see much on buying products; it is a particular use Money tree (Money tree is a group of small money for giving-alms at temples), also put into Monk’s and it is end of amount from grocery store, mini mark with those price end on 500 Kip only.
• 1,000/2000 Kip can buy about candies or a confectionery bag
• 2,000-5,000 Kip can buy a bottle of water, 5,000 Kip can pay for a bus ticket from northern/southern bus station to Talad Sao mall (Morning market) and buy a bag of street food.
• 10,000 Kip is for a noodle soup (Khao Piek) and 15,000 Kip is for a cooked meal, for example, fire rice, fried noodle, etc…
• 50,000 Kip – 100,000 Kip can pay for 2-3 cheap meal/person and etc…
The price may changes, depending on the cost of living, quality of foods, type of foods or brand name foods. Because I explain from my personal experience for your information only. please update from time to and be flexible in actual situations.
Travelers can exchange USD from many exchange store near your hotel. If you don’t have LAK cash, you can use your VISA for paying in some restaurants, hotels, convenience stores, etc and also withdraw from many ATM. As my experience, we can use QR Code of stores for payment if you have a bank account with BANQUE POUR LE COMMERCE EXTERIEUR LAO PUBLIC (BCEL) as service One Pay or LAO DEVELOPMENT BANK (LDB) as LDB Trust.
More detail please contact banks directly, their website link as below:
Currently, There are 43 Commercial Banks in Laos and you can use as per your convenience. So, I will give you more List of banks and link to Bank of the Lao P.D.R is https://www.bol.gov.la/en/comercial_bank
Thank you information from BCEL, LDB, and Bank of the Lao P.D.R
6. Where is Laos?
Laos is in Southeast Asia; also surround by these next five countries, the east border is next to Vietnam, west is next to Thailand, northern west with Myanmar, north with China and south with Cambodia as the last. Which Vientiane Laos, Vientiane is a capital city of Laos. The population is about 7 million, area: 236,800 square km.
Google Map of Laos