Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Laos, the lost paradise ...Λάος, ένας χαμένος παράδεισος

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Laos (pronounced /ˈlɑː.oʊs/, /ˈlaʊs/, or /ˈleɪ.ɒs/), officially the Lao People's Democratic Republic, is a landlocked country in southeast Asia, bordered by Burma (Myanmar) and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the south, and Thailand to the west. Laos traces its history to the Kingdom of Lan Xang or Land of a Million Elephants, which existed from the fourteenth to the eighteenth century.
After a period as a
French protectorate, it gained independence in 1949. A long civil war, ended officially when the communist Pathet Lao movement came to power in 1975, but the protesting between factions continued for several years.

Laos: A Rugged Paradise
Josh Haner/The New York Times
Published: 26/01/2009

Explore the raw beauty of this country while gliding down the Mekong River and traversing tumbling waterfalls.
read more here

Laos in Brief:

The Peoples’ Democratic Republic of Laos is located in the center of Indochina, sharing borders with China to the North 416 kilometers, Myanmar to Northwest 236 kilometers, Thailand to the West 1,835 kilometers, Cambodia to the South 492 kilometers and Vietnam to the East 1,957 kilometers.With a total area of 236,800 square kilometers, around 70% of Laos' terrain is mountainous, reaching a maximum elevation of 2,820 meters in Xieng Khouang Province. The landscapes of northern Laos and the regions adjacent to Vietnam, in particular, are dominated by rough mountains. The Mekong River is the main geographical feature in the west and, in fact, forms a natural border with Thailand in some areas. The Mekong flows through nearly 1,900 kilometers of Lao territory and shapes much of the lifestyle of the people of Laos. In the South the Mekong reaches a breadth of 20 kilometers, creating an area with thousands of islands.

The time in Laos is 7 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMS +7).
When to visit:
The best time to visit Laos is between November and April.
The hot season from March to May is very dry and certain river trips are not possible.
People and population:
Population: 6.2 million.
Density: 23 people/square kilometer.
The population consists of 49 ethnic groups, in 4 main linguistic
The official language is Lao. Other languages used are French, English. Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese.
Electric current: 220 volts
Credit Cards:
Visa is the most common. Master Card and American Express are accepted at most banks in the larger towns (such as Vientiane and Luang Prabang), and in the big hotels, restaurants and souvenir shops.
The Kip is the official currency of the Lao PDR and the following bank notes are currently in circulation: 500; 1,000; 2,000; 5,000; 10,000; 20,000 and 50,000 Kip. The best currencies to use when exchanging money are: US Dollars, Euros and Thai Baht. You can exchange your currency at the bank, airport, or at a foreign currency exchange office.
Films can be found in shops in the larger towns, also if you need a digital download service for your digital camera it is also available
Silk and cotton fabrics, objects made from wood (sculptures, cut-out figures), pottery and traditional instruments are part of the rich tapestry of Laotian craftsmanship Common
Lao people are frank, open and friendly, and they possess a strongly developed sense of courtesy and respect. Everyone who adheres to the latter will receive a warm welcome.The generally accepted form of greeting among Lao people is the Nop. It is performed by placing one’s palms together in a position of praying at chest level, but not touching the body. The higher the hands, the greater the sign of respect. Nonetheless, the hands should not be held above the level of the nose. The nop is accompanied by a slight bow to show respect to persons of higher status and age. It is also used as an expression of thanks, regret or saying good-bye. But with western people it is acceptable to shake hands. The feet form the inferior part of the body (as much spiritually as physically). You must never indicate or touch another person or object with your foot.
Source: Lao National Tourism Administration

Η Λαοκρατική Λαϊκή Δημοκρατία του Λάος είναι ένα κράτος το οποίο βρίσκεται στην Άπω Ανατολή και έχει τροπικό κλίμα.
Πρωτεύουσα είναι η Βιεντιάν.
Επίσημη γλώσσα είναι η Λάο.
Έχει έκταση 236.800 τετρ. χλμ. και πληθυσμό, σύμφωνα με εκτιμήσεις του 2008, 6.677.534 κατοίκους.

"A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step." -- Lao Tzu
Copyright © Demetrios the Traveler


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