Simply Beautiful Laos
Laos is the untouched beauty of South-east Asia. Originally called “Lane Xang” which means “Land of a Million Elephants”, it holds the rich history of an ancient buddhist kingdom. Laos is a must-see country in South-east Asia, this is partly due to Laos’ reputation of having some of the friendliest people in the world. Laos has only recently been developing its tourism industry and due to this, it is an unexplored gem in South-east Asia, full of mountainous regions and bordered by the mighty Mekong River along its southern regions. Surrounded by China, Myanmar,
Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia, its location couldn’t be a more perfect spot for exploring South-east Asia and all the beauties this region has to offer. It is a very laid-back country, famous for its popular phrase “Bor Penyang!” or “No Worries!”. It has long been a favourite backpacking spot due to its authentic ethnic vibe, unique hospitality and genuine exotic feel! Expect to see the largest waterfall in South-east Asia, the second most forested country in the whole of Asia. Dine on a selection of unique Lao dishes, usually accompanied by a side of sticky rice, Laos being the highest consumers of “Khao Niaow”, consuming an average of 150kg per person, per year!
Laos has the second highest percentage of forest in all of Asia, covering 71.6% of the country’s total land mass. The biodiversity of Laos is extremely unique. Providing refuge to a huge variety of wildlife including a wide variety of endangered species. Laos is home to species which are so endangered, they have an almost mythical status, such as the Saola, nicknamed the “Asian Unicorn”, suspected to be the most endangered
terrestrial mammal in the world!
The forests of Laos hide many secrets, as we are still discovering new species. Such as the Kha-nyou, which to belongs to a family of animals which were thought to have went extinct 11 million years ago. Who knows what undiscovered secrets are still hiding in these magical forests waiting to be found!
Though Wild Laos could easily become a thing of the past if we do not act soon. Laos is suspected to have one of the highest rates of the illegal wildlife trade and illegal logging in South-east Asia. Supporting projects such as ours is desperately needed to help conserve the treasure chest which is Laos’ amazing biodiversity, for future generations.
The ‘Secret War’
Even though the people of Laos are famously friendly, Laos has a tragic history which is sadly very unknown to much of the world, so much so that it is known as the ‘Secret War’. Unfortunately, due to civil war caused by French colonization and United States of America’s ‘War on Communism’. A huge amount of Lao people and wildlife either perished or were deeply affected during this war. See below some quick facts about the ‘Secret War’ in Laos:
- Laos is the most heavily bombed nation in the history of the world
- More bombs fell on Laos between 1964-1975 than were dropped during the entirety of WWII
- On average, a load of bombs fell every 8 minutes for 9 years -- that adds up to over 2 million tonnes of explosives!
- 30% of the bombs that were dropped failed to detonate, authorities suspect this to be 80 million cluster bombs. These remain in many of the poorest parts of Laos even today and continue to kill and injure local communities and wildlife.
- There are teams of people and organisations working every day, to clear the unexploded bombs in the poorest and most remote places of Laos. This is in effort to keep the people of Laos and its wildlife safe for future generations.
- An estimated 450,000 Lao people were killed during this war and an undocumented number of wildlife.
- Due to the poverty caused by the war, many local people had to resort to hunting wildlife in order to feed their families. This led to a severe decline in populations and continues to threaten many species to this day.
Despite the country’s tragic history, local Lao people welcome tourists with open arms, wanting to share and immerse them in their many cultures and traditions. It is important that Laos’ tragic history does not go forgotten and a visit to this stunning country will play a small part in helping to fix the damage that was done in the secret war.