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Generic Information

Laos, officially the Lao People's Democratic Republic, commonly referred to by its colloquial name of Muang Lao, is a socialist state and the only landlocked country in Southeast Asia. Located at the heart of the Indochinese peninsula, Laos is bordered by Myanmar (Burma) and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the southeast, and Thailand to the west and southwest. Most of the western border of Laos is demarcated by the Mekong River and shares a 1,835 km border with Thailand. The eastern border with Vietnam extends for 2,337 kilometres, mostly along the crest of the Annamite Chain, and serves as a physical barrier between Vietnam and states of Laos and Thailand. Laos shares a 535 km southern border with Cambodia. In the north, the country is bounded by a mountainous 508-kilometre border with China and shares the 236-kilometre-long Mekong River border with Myanmar. The topography of Laos is largely mountainous, with the Annamite Range in the northeast and east and the Louangphabang Range in the northwest, among other ranges typically characterized by steep terrain. Elevations are typically above 500 metres with narrow river valleys and low agricultural potential. This mountainous landscape extends across most of the north of the country, except for the plain of Vientiane and the Plain of Jars in the Xiengkhouang Plateau. The southern "panhandle" of the country contains large level areas in Savannakhet and Champasak provinces that are well suited for extensive paddy rice cultivation and livestock raising. Much of Khammouan province and the eastern part of all the southern provinces are mountainous. Together, the alluvial plains and terraces of the Mekong and its tributaries cover only about 20% of the land area.

Laos has a tropical monsoon climate, with a pronounced rainy season from May through October, a cool dry season from November through February, and a hot dry season in March and April. Generally, monsoons occur at the same time across the country, although that time may vary significantly from one year to the next. Rainfall varies regionally, with the highest amounts — 3,700 millimeters (145.7 in) annually — recorded on the Bolovens Plateau in Champasak province. City rainfall stations have recorded that Savannakhet averages 1,440 millimeters (56.7 in) of rain annually; Vientiane receives about 1,700 millimeters (66.9 in), and Louangphabang receives about 1,360 millimeters (53.5 in). Temperatures range from highs around 40 °C (104 °F) along the Mekong in March and April to lows of 5 °C (41 °F) or less in the uplands of Xiengkhouang and Phongsaly in January.


Basic facts

Source / Year

Official name

Lao People’s Democratic Republic

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laos 







Capital

Vientiane

Official Language

Lao

Legislature

National Assembly

Government

One-party state

Ethnic groups

Lao 54%, Khmou 11 %, Hmong 10% and other 25%

Religions

Buddhism 66.8%, Christianity 1.7%, Others 31.5%

Country size (km2)

236,800

https://laosis.lsb.gov.la/main.do

(Lao Statistics Bureau, 2018)

Population density (per km2)

27

Border countries

5 countries; China (508 km), Cambodia (535 km), Vietnam (2,337 km), Myanmar (236 km), Thailand (1,835 km)

Exports

US$1467 million (2019 est.); wood, clothing, coffee, electricity, metals, corn and rubber.

www.tradingeconomics.com

Imports

US$1447 million (2019 est.); oil, machinery and equipment, vehicles, iron and steel, telecommunication equipment, beverages and cement.

Agricultural products

Rice, corn, starchy roots, soybean, peanut, vegetables, mung bean, tobacco, cotton, sugarcane, coffee, tea, water buffalo, cow, pig, goat, sheep, fish and poultry.

 

General information

Source / Year

Population

7,013,000

https://laosis.lsb.gov.la/main.do

(Lao Statistics Bureau, 2018)

Population growth rate

2.76%

GDP growth rate

6.29%

GDP per capita

$ 2,585

https://www.lsb.gov.la/en/home/

Population under poverty line

13.8%

https://www.adb.org/countries/lao-pdr/poverty

Other comments

Lao recommended for graduation by CDP and ECOSOC, under consideration by GA in graduation assessment in 2021.

https://www.un.org/development/desa/dpad/wp-content/uploads/sites/45/LDC_Profile_LaoPDR.pdf

Useful Information
Time ZoneGMT +7
CurrencyKip (LAK)
Telephone Dialing Code856 (plus 21 for landlines and 20 for mobiles)
Driving sideRight side
Visa requirements and costs

http://immigration.gov.la/

Exchange Rate (12 November 2021)1.00 USD = 10,607 LAK 
Rate of inflation (Y.O.Y)(4.17%)  www.bol.gov.la

 

Administrative Divisions

There are 01 capital and 17 provinces. The new province, Xaisomboun province, was established on 13 December 2013. Provinces are further divided into districts and then villages.


Logistics Performance Index

The Logistics Performance Index (LPI) is an interactive benchmarking tool created to help countries identify the challenges and opportunities they face in their performance on trade logistics and what they can do to improve their performance.  According to the latest report Global Rankings 2018 (Logistics Performance Index, https://lpi.worldbank.org/international/global/2018), Laos is currently ranked 82 . The index ranges from 1 to 5, with a higher score representing better performance.

Country


LPI

Customs

Infrastructure

International shipments

Logistics competence

Tracking & tracing

Timeliness

Rank

Score

Rank

Score

Rank

Score

Rank

Score

Rank

Score

Rank

Score

Rank

Score

Lao PDR822.7742.61912.44852.72832.65692.911172.84

Thailand

32

3.41

36

3.14

41

3.14

25

3.46

32

3.41

33

3.47

28

3.81

Vietnam

39

3.27

41

2.95

47

3.01

49

3.16

33

3.4

34

3.45

40

3.67

Cambodia

98

2.58

109

2.37

130

2.14

71

2.79

111

2.41

111

2.52

84

3.16

Myanmar

137

2.3

131

2.17

143

1.99

144

2.2

128

2.28

143

2.2

108

2.91


National Strategy for Logistics

Logistical improvements are part of the government’s strategic development plan to transform the landlocked country into a land-link. The Lao government has increased its budget allocation to infrastructure development and signed bilateral and multi-lateral agreements with its neighbors aimed at improving and facilitating logistics in the country. Recent agreements include: the Great Mekong Sub-Regional Cross-Border Transport Facilitation Agreement (GMS Cross-Border Transport Facilitation Agreement (CBTA)the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Servicesand the Framework Agreement on Facilitation of Cross-border Paperless Trade for the Asia Pacific RegionThese agreements aim to facilitate issues such as cross-border movement of vehicles, container customs regimes, driving licenses, road traffic regulations, licenses for transport operators, border-crossing and transit facilities and services.

The agreement on facilitation of cross-border paperless trade for the Asia Pacific Region aims at promoting cross-border paperless trade by enabling exchange and mutual recognition of trade-related data and documents in electronic form and facilitating interoperability among national and sub-regional Single Windows and/or other paperless trade systems, for the purpose of making international trade transactions more efficient and transparent while improving regulatory compliance. Laos has also become a member of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia Pacific (UNESCAP) Dry Ports project, which has set aside nine locations for international logistics parks in the country; these include Huoayxai in Bokeo, Nateuy in Luang Namtha, Xay in Oudomxay, Luang Prabang province, Thanalaeng in Vientiane, Lak Xao in Borikhamxay, Thakhaek in Khammuan, Xeno in Savannakhet, and Vangtao in Champassak. Logistics improvements are underway in those nine locations including Thanalaeng which is in ongoing negotiations for investment collaborations with Japan under a Private-Public Partnership (PPP), while Savannakhet recently opened for service.

There are total 2,816 km of Asian Highways linked to bordering countries; these include AH 3: Houyxay-Nateay (206 km), AH11: Vientiane - Pakse-Veunkham (853km), AH12: Thanaleng – Boten (679km), AH13: Muang Ngeun- Oudomxai (340km), AH15: Ban Lao-Lak 20-Namphao (132km), AH16: Savannaket-Ngommalad-Naphao (146km), AH131: Thakhek-Ngammalad-Namphao (146km) and AH132: Phiaphay- Samakkhixay-Phoukeua (Lao-Vietnam border 218 km). There is only AH3 and AH16 have road bearing capacity maximum 50 tonnes. The other AH needs to be upgraded.

To ensure that the Public Works and Transport sector becomes a Spearhead, safe and sustainable. The Government has defined the vision for logistic transportation of Lao PDR until 2030 as follows: “Highly effective and efficient connectivity services, domestic freight transport and logistics is competitive and sustainable”.

The Government has set the overall directions for the development of logistics:

  • define the collection and distribution points in each region that connect with the neighbouring countries, and the connection points to secure and facilitate 2 ways cargos which will focus on construction of international logistics Parks in 3 areas: Vientiane Capital City, Luang Namtha and Savannakhet and construction of 6 regional logistic parks along Laos -Vietnam and Laos - Thailand borders;
  • Improve domestic transport businesses, especially freight transport and logistics companies by strengthening company models allowing them to improve services and capabilities to compete with foreign firms and link with international transport companies along with improving the transport association;
  • Open more logistics transport businesses to make services highly competitive and able to connect with local and international markets while building high credibility and confidence amongst domestic and foreign consumers;
  • Create and improve administrative authority and enhance logistics business for rapid development so they are able to integrate internationally and improvement of coordination mechanisms to address obstacles at each stage of the logistics process such as: custom clearance, infrastructure, international goods transport, efficiency of public and private logistic services, and also create the inspection and monitoring system and providing the services according to schedule set.


Generic country information can be located from sources which are regularly maintained and reflect current facts and figures. For a generic country overview, please consult the following sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laos

https://www.imf.org/en/Countries/LAO

https://country.eiu.com/laos

(*note - this is a paid service)

Humanitarian Info

 http://www.wfp.org/countries/

 http://www.unocha.org/where-we-work/all-countries

https://reliefweb.int/country/lao


Facts and Figures

Wolfram Alpha information on Laos

World Bank information on Laos

World Population Review information on Laos