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Laos (Land of A Million Elephants)

Laos also known as Lao PDR [Lao People's Democratic Republic] or in Lao (Sathalanalat Pasathipatai Pasason Lao) and one of the last places to see old Indochina. The capital and largest city of Laos is Vientiane, and other major cities include Luang Prabang, Savannakhet and Pakse. The pace of Laos is slow and its people relaxed and friendly. Sabaidee, the Lao greeting that you will hear wherever you go.

Laos is landlocked socialist republic communist state and lies between China, Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam and Cambodia. The Mekong River forms the country's western border and the Annamite mountains form its eastern border with Vietnam. The total land area is approximately 237,000 sq km - an area similar to that of the United Kingdom. The main features of the country are its mountains and the Mekong River valley.

The Mekong River and its 15 tributaries make up a total of 2,400 km of waterways, but only about one third of these are navigable. 70% of the country is mountainous. In the south, the Annamite mountains reach 2,600m in height. The Khammouanne plateau in the centre of the range is mass of limestone karst. At the south of the range is the Bolaven Plateau. The north of Laos is made of steep sloped mountain ranges with the highest mountain in the country at 2820m in Xiang Khouang province. Over half of Laos is forest.