Your guide to being an expatriate in Laos

Caffeinate Your Laos Expat Journey: Find Essential Info and Connect with Expatriates Today!

Tucked neatly between Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and China, Laos is a country that's often overlooked by travelers and expats. With its serene nature, resplendent architecture, and fascinating history, Laos is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered.


Expat destinations in Laos

Demographics of Laos:

Ethnic groups

Hmong, Laon, Phu Thai, Khmu, Lahu, Mien, Tai Neua, Tai Dam, Tai Khao, Tai Lue


Laotian (official), French, Vietnamese, Chinese dialects, Khmu, Lahu, Phu Thai

Religion Overview

Laos is predominantly Theravada Buddhist, with Buddhism accounting for about 67% of the population. Other religions include Christianity, Islam, Animism, and Confucianism.

Major Religions


Laos has a tropical monsoon climate, with rainy seasons that last from May to October and dry seasons that last from November to April.

Economy Overview

Laos is a developing country with an economy that's heavily reliant on agriculture, forestry, and fisheries. Other industries include mining, manufacturing, and construction.

Key Industries

  • Agriculture
  • Forestry
  • Fisheries
  • Mining (principally copper, gold, and tin)
  • Manufacturing
  • Construction
  • Tourism

Major Companies

  • Memento Group (timber products)
  • Lao Brewery (beer production)
  • PPC Cement (cement production)
  • Dentsu Lao Marketing & Media (marketing and media services)
  • Indochina Construction Co., Ltd. (construction)

Culture and Language Overview

Laos' rich culture is reflected in its cuisine, crafts, music, dance, and festivals. Some cultural highlights include the Boun Songkharanh (Lao New Year), Boun Bang Fai (Rocket Festival), and traditional Lao puppetry.

Cultural Highlights

  • Boun Songkharanh (Lao New Year) - This vibrant festival takes place in April and lasts for three days. It's celebrated with water-splashing, traditional dances, and delicious local cuisine.
  • Boun Bang Fai (Rocket Festival) - This festival, which typically takes place in May, is a celebration of agriculture and fertility. It features the launching of decorated rockets that are believed to bring rain.
  • Traditional Lao puppetry - This traditional art form involves the use of puppets made of wood or lacquered palm leaves to tell stories through puppet shows. It's considered a vital part of Lao culture and is often performed during festivals and ceremonies.

Geography and Landmarks Overview

Laos is home to breathtaking landscapes, lush forests, and stunning mountains. Some notable landmarks include Vang Vieng, Luang Prabang, and Khong Island.

Notable Landmarks

  • Vang Vieng - Located in central Laos, this idyllic town is known for its stunning landscapes, crystal-clear rivers, and limestone karsts.
  • Luang Prabang - This ancient UNESCO World Heritage-listed city, nestled in the mountains, is filled with colonial-era architecture, beautiful temples, and a lively night market.
  • Khong Island - Located in southeastern Laos, this picturesque island is surrounded by the Mekong River and is a haven for eco-tourism, ancient ruins, and beautiful wildlife.

National Holidays

  • New Year's Day (January 1)
  • International Women's Day (March 8)
  • Lao New Year's Day (April)
  • May Day (May 1)
  • Queen Mother's Birthday (Thursday after April 15)
  • National Day (December 2)

Political Stability

Laos is a one-party socialist republic, with the Lao People's Revolutionary Party as the only legal political party. The current political climate is stable, but there have been some concerns about restrictions on freedom of speech and assembly.

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