The region's sole landlocked nation that is starting to open up to the world: get to know Laos, one of Southeast Asia's hidden gems.

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It is a land of virgin forests, and is also one of the poorest.

The tension between these abundant natural resources, on one hand, and the poor's lack of access to these, on the other, helps characterize the Lao People's Democratic Republic (PDR).

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The bus carries more than 40 Chinese nationals heading towards the tourist town of Luang ...

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13 Chinese tourists killed as bus plunges into ravine in Laos

The exact number of dead and missing from the dam collapse remains a mystery because of ...

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Thick mud hampers Laos dam rescue with hundreds still unaccounted for

Twenty-seven people are confirmed dead, with 131 still missing, after the Xe-Namnoy dam ...

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Floods from Laos dam collapse force evacuations in Cambodia

The dam collapse this week in southern Laos that left at least 26 dead and scores missing ...

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'Battery of Asia': Laos's controversial hydro ambitions

(4th UPDATE) Questions begin to emerge over the collapse, with some of the displaced ...

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Laos PM says 131 missing from dam collapse as 26 bodies recovered

(UPDATED) The accident releases 5 billion cubic meters of water – more than 2 million ...

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Hundreds missing in Laos after hydropower dam collapse

The 3 animals, nicknamed Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee and Peace, were among six found stuffed ...

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'Kung Fu' red pandas settle into new Laos sanctuary

A construction worker says a gas cylinder suddenly erupted at the construction site of ...

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6 Vietnamese workers killed by blast at Laos hydropower plant

The downfall of millionaire 'Mr X,' long shielded by cash and contacts in Laos, has ...

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The Laos Connection: Mr X and the cartels hooking Southeast Asia on pills

'Human rights is in a precipitous downward spiral in every ASEAN country except perhaps ...

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Southeast Asia's leaders steer away from democracy – activists

COUNTRY PROFILE
LAOS
Capital Vientiane
Land Area 236,800 sq km
Population 6,803,699 (2014 estimate)
Currency Kip
Demonym Lao or Laotian
Government Single-party Socialist Republic
Head of State Choummaly Sayasone (since 2006)
Head of Government Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong
Independence October 22, 1953
National Anthem Pheng Xat Lao (Hymn of the Lao People)
Language Lao
Religions Theravada Buddhism, Satsana Phi
Year of ASEAN Membership 1997
GDP Per Capita US$1,279
Internet Subscribers 90 (per 1,000 persons)
Inflation Rate 7.70% (2011)
Urban Population 33.2%
Life Expectancy 67.1 years
Tourist Arrival 2,724,000