Wat Phu Champasak

Admission US$3, children 8 & under free – Open: 8 am – 4.30 pm
The ancient Khmer religious complex of Wat Phu is one of the highlights of any trip to Laos. tretching 1400 m up to the lower slopes of the Phu Pasak range (also known more colloquially as Phu Khuai or Mt Penis), Wat Phu is small compared with the monumental Angkor-era sites near Siem Reap in Cambodia. 


Founded by the French in 1905 as an administrative outpost, Pakse sits a the confluence of the Mekong River and the SeDon ( Don River ) and is the capital of Champasak province. 

Eating in Vientiane

When we arrived in Vientiane this time and heard an expat describe the city’s eating as “dollar for the dollar the best in the world”, we thought he’d had one too many happy pizzas


Maybe it’s because everything closes early, even in the capital, that just about everyone in Laos gets up before 6am. Their day might begin with a quick breakfast, at home or from a local noodle seller, before work.

Politics & The Economy

At first glance the politics and economy of Laos seem simple enough: a one- party system is controlled by ageing revolutionaries that themselves have me a new elite, who have the power to control the exploitation of the country’s natural resources, can squash any dissent and cooperate enough with foreign donors to keep the aid dollars coming in. But this generalization is just that – the reality is more complex.

Ethnic Groups

Laos is often described as less a nation state than a conglomeration of tribes and languages. And depending on who you talk with, that conglomeration consists of between 49 and 134 different ethnic groups. (The lower figure ii that now used by the government).


Laos has one of the lowest population densities in Asia, but the total population has more than doubled in the last 30 years, and continues to grow.

Women in Laos

For the women of Laos roles and status vary significantly depending on their ethnicity, but it’s fair to say that whatever group they come from they are seen as secondary to men. 


About 60% of the people of Laos – mostly in lowland, with sprinklings of tribal Thais – are Theravada Buddhists. Theravada Buddhism was apparently introduced to Luang Prabang (then known as Muang Sawa) in the late 13th or early 14th centuries, though there may have been contact Mahayana Buddhism during the 8th to 10th centuries and with Tant Buddhism even earlier.


The focus of most traditional art in Lao culture has been religious, specifically Buddhist. Yet, unlike the visual arts of Thailand, Myanmar and Cambodia, lever encompassed a broad range of styles and periods, mainly become has a much more modest history in terms of power and because existed as a political entity for a short period. 

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