Laos is a medium-sized country in Asia. To the west is Thailand. The border is formed by the Mekong River. To the east is Vietnam. Laos is about six times the size of Switzerland. Approximately the same number of residents live there. This is four times more than 50 years ago.
The national language is Lao. Laotians also have their own writing system. Most Laotians are Buddhists. In the capital of Vientiane there are many religious temples that are decorated with gold.
Life is not so good in Laos. Most of the lots barely have enough money to live on. Those who are poor do not receive money from the state, and there are almost no doctors or hospitals. Thus, the average age is only 55 years old. Many women do not know how to read and write.
In 1893, Laos, along with neighboring countries Cambodia and Vietnam, became part of the French colony of Indochina. In 1954, the country became independent. But soon the Vietnam War began. It ended in 1975. Since then, the country has been ruled by communists.