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Geography and Population

Geography and Population

Laos is a small land-locked country in Southeast Asia. Laos is surrounded by China in the North, Myanmar in the North-West, Thailand in the West, Cambodia in the South and Vietnam in the East. The Mekong River is the longest river in the country and play an important role in the life of Laotians.

Inland area: 236,800 km2

Width: 478 km

Length: 1162 km

Located towards the east of the peninsula of what was known as Indochina with no access to the sea, Laos shares its borders with China to the North, Myanmar to the North-West, Thailand to the West, Cambodia to the South and Vietnam to the East. An estimated 70% of the total area is dominated by rugged mountains, dense jungle and plateau. Peaks rise from 1500 to 2500 m, the highest one being the Phu Bia at 2820 m. The Mekong River, which still remains the main transportation link, extends 1800 km. Areas cultivated are located along the Mekong plain, where half of the population is concentrated.

Laos has 6.5 million inhabitants with an average density of 27 inhabitants/km2.

48% of the population is Lao, 14% tribal Thai, 13% Sino Tibetan (including the Hmong and Yao ethnic minorities), 24% Mon-Khmer and 1% Vietnamese and Chinese.

There are actually a lot of different ethnic minorities groups (69) in Laos but most of them belong to the three main categories: The Lao Loum, the Lao Theung and the Lao Sung.

85% of the population lives in the countryside.


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