The only landlocked country in Southeast Asia was for a long time a forgotten land, remote, weak and surrounded by the stronger neighbours Siam/Thailand and Vietnam who dominated it. In the cold war, after the Vietnam War, Laos became a Communist state and was pretty much isolated to it’s western neighbour Thailand, which was always on the American site in the post World War II era. There were tensions between the two countries who lead even several times to armed conflicts. These conflicts ceased by and by after the downfall of the Soviet Union and eastern Europes Communistic system. The way was free for a reformation a la China, the big, emerging neighbour in the north.

IMG_5200 - Vientianne

Little Laos, the country with the mountain tribes and the last thick forests in Southeast Asia started opening it’s economy for foreign investment, mainly from China, Vietnam and Thailand. Late Capitalisms hunger for profit in times of overaccumulation and overproduction and technical potences never seen before performs a high-speed industrialization of the no more forgotten country. The forests fall, streets and big infrastructural networks are under construction. The countries capital Vientiane is under massive change. The quiet, charming country, the ‘Juwel of the Mekong’, as it is marketed by the tourist industries, is eating up it’s natural treasures in fast motion.

There is an interesting remark to make here. The country is in all-day-language always called ‘Lao’, even the official country name is ‘Lao Peoples Democratic Republic’. On the other hand it appears officially in international affairs always as ‘Laos‘. Why are there two different expressions for the same country?

Well, so much I know, the vocabulary ‘Laos‘ is meaned as the plural of ‘Lao’, so it comprehends several Laos to one united Laos. That dates back to the times of French colonialism, when France got several Laotian kingdoms under their control.

Ah, one more thing: the ‘national drink’, rice whiskey, is also called ‘lao’. ‘Lao’ also means ‘alcohol’. It’s just so.


A forgotten Country

The People of Laos


Map of Laos

The ‘Jewel of the Mekong’



A very short History of Laos

Human Rights






Read the whole article on Laos

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