Of the three former French colonies in Indochina, Laos is the least developed and most enigmatic. A succession of colonial dominations, internal armed conflicts and a dogmatic socialism meant during the seventies, the country sank and nearly 10% of its population emigrates. Today, after being isolated from the rest of the world for almost decade and a half, this country, landlocked and sparsely populated, enjoy a period of peace. Its political and economic structures are stabilized and have gradually begun influx visitors. The total absence of foreign influence allows travelers closer to more traditional lifestyle in Southeast Asia. From the fertile lowlands of the Mekong River valley to the rugged mountains of Annam, travelers who have visited Laos qualify the country as the star of Southeast Asia.
Lao People's Democratic Republic
Tai-Kadai language family (6 ethnic groups) a 66.2%; Austro-Asiatic (Mon-Khmer and Viet-Muong) language family (30 ethnic groups) a 22.8%; Hmong-Yao (2 ethnic groups) a 7.4%; Tibeto-Burman (8 ethnic groups) a 2.7%; other ethnic groups (including Vietnamese and Chinese) a 0.9%
Lao (official), Lao dialects (similar to Thai) and French
Buddhism confessors are a 65% of the population; Christianity processors are a 1.3%; others, principally animism, also Baha'i, and Islam a 33.7%