Laos is landlocked and lies between Thailand, Myanmar, China, Vietnam and Cambodia. The Mekong River forms the countries western border and the Anna Mite Mountains form its eastern border with Vietnam.
The total land area is approximately 237,000 sq km. An area similar to that of the United Kingdom. The main features of the country are its mountains and the Mekong River valley.
Laos has a monsoon climate of a dry and a wet season. The dry season lasts from November to May with the cooler period in December and January. At its coldest, the temperatures can fall to as low as 15. The cold periods tend to be at night and early morning with colder temperatures at higher altitudes. During the hot period of the dry season, between March and May, temperatures can reach the high 30s. The rainy season is a lot cooler, and rainfall varies according to altitude. Generally speaking, the monsoon season produces severe rain that lasts for short periods of time. The wet months vary according to location, in Vientiane, they are from May to September, in Luang Prabang, and August is far wetter than any other month.
Parts of the Anna mite chain are covered with tropical evergreen forest, where rainfall is highest and in the south, tropical pine forests can be found.
Laos, the land of a million elephants and one of the last places to see old Indochina. The pace of Laos is slow and its people relaxed and friendly.
There are 68 official ethnic groups in Laos, belonging to three main groups.
For much of its history, Laos has been under the thumb of its neighbours at various times the Cambodians, Burmese, Vietnamese, Chinese, and Siamese. The result is that Laos has experienced great difficulty in establishing a national identity.
Laos folk music uses the Khen a set of pipes. Lam Wong is a popular folk dance where couples dance in circles to Lam Vong music.
It has a large number of animal species, including as many as 500 different birds. Reptiles include many snakes, including king cobras. There are a large number of lizards. Mammals include wild cats, bears, leopards and tigers. There are up to 500 wild elephants, although more than twice those numbers are in captivity. There are a number of rare species which include rhinos and wild cattle.
The Lao language is a member of the Tai language group, sometimes known as Tai Kadai or Kadai.