1) Laos has the worlds only vertical runway…. Well kinda
The Americans donated cement to Laos to build a run way and instead they built this monstrosity of a victory monument….
2) It is one of 5 countries in the world that is socialist, however socialism has been loosened to allow private enterprise
This allows the baguette ladies (those who sell delicious lunchtime sandwiches at street food stalls) to have TVs and IPads! The other four socialist countries are Cuba, China, Vietnam, North Korea
3) Laos is the only land locked South East Asian (SEA) country
It’s bordered by Thailand to the West, China to the North, Vietnam to the East and Cambodia to the South
4) Laos has more varieties of rice than any other SEA country, sticky rice is believed to have originated from Laos
Most of the Laos population are subsistence farmers and of those 77% are self sufficient for rice
5) hello is Saibaidee!
All the kids and street vendors yell this at you as you go past 🙂
6) the national dish is called laap
This is made of minced meat with lots of herbs – very fresh and normally eaten with balls of sticky rice – hence the Laos affinity with sticky rice. In the past laap wasn’t cooked and some people died from the parasites in the raw pork (they cook it these days and for the falang make with other meats or tofu)
7) foreigners are called falang
Originally this term meant French person – as part of the French protectorate of Indochina most white people in the 1900s were French! Now it’s all encompassing.
8) Laos is one of the poorest countries in the world
Most of the population lives on less than $1.25 a day. This explains why so many people want to be involved in tourism as a way to make more money for themselves and their families.
9) the population of Laos is 6.8 million
Vientiane the capital has about 1 million people
10) hydroelectric power is the biggest contributor to the GDP
However illegal and authorised logging (Laos allows China a carte blanc) is on the rise – with impacts on the environment & wildlife
11) neem is smile and nouc is cheers!
Lots of nouc nouc-ing when drinking the locally brewed whiskey – Lao Lao. If drinking with a local you have to show them your glass before you drink. If they don’t see you drink it, you have to take another shot, they often pretend not to see! Laotians also believe that you have to take even amounts of shots otherwise you’ll be lopsided – their saying is ‘you can’t walk on one leg’!