Laos was under the control of Siam (Thailand) from the late 18th century until the late 19th century when it became part of French Indochina. The Franco-Siamese Treaty of 1907 defined the current Lao border with Thailand. In 1975, the Communist Pathet Lao took control of the government, ending a six-century-old monarchy. Initial closer ties to Vietnam and socialization were replaced with a gradual return to private enterprise, a liberalization of foreign investment laws, and the admission into ASEAN in 1997.
The country is located in Southeastern Asia, northeast of Thailand, west of Vietnam. The bordering countries are Myanmar, Cambodia,China, Thailand, and Vietnam. As most of the Southeast Asian countries, Laos is a tropical country with humid and moist weather. The natural resources found in Laos are timber, hydropower, gypsum, tin, gold, and gemstones.
The population is about 6,217,141. The nationality is Lao or Laotian. The ethnic groups of Laos are Lao Loum living in the lowland, Lao Theung living in the upland, Lao Soung living in the highland, including the Hmong and the Yao. Some of them are also ethnics from Vietnamese and Chinese. Most people are Buddhist. The official main language is Lao, but French and English are also spoken.
The capital of Laos is Vientiane. The city is situated along the great Mekong River. The currency is kip (LAK).
Tourist attractions in Northern Laos are mountains region and unspoiled colorful villages of many ethic minorities such as Hmong, Iko, Mien and Samtoa which made this northern part of Laos become a spotlight destination. This place is known as Luang Namtha.
Houaixay region is one of the key trading port of these three countries, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand, known as the Golden Triangle. This place is also well known of its precious stones and gold mining.
When Traveling to the southern part of Laos to the border of Cambodia is Kong Island. This island is decorated by the biggest waterfall in Southeast Asia known as Khoneprapheng Waterfall.
In Pakse, the formal royal palace capital of Champasack and the ruins of pre-Angkorian Wat Phou Temple can be visited. The Luang Prabang, which is recently named as World Heritage Site by UNESCO, is also in Pakse.