Laos- the Forgotten Country

Laos is an incredibly beautiful country in Southeast Asia that is overlooked by travelers & unacknowledged by people around the world. It is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia that borders with Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar & Vietnam. Because of its vast history, the country has a lot of quirky charm to it.

In the 1800’s Siam’s (the former Thailand) rule over Laos began to grow. Then in 1863, France declared rule over most of Cambodia, which threatened the Siamese.

A few years later, the french went on an expedition to explore the Mekong River, which led them to Luang Prabang, Laos. Here a fight broke out between the French, Siamese & the Chinese brigades (the Haws), resulting in the burning of Luang Prabang. Led by the king, the people fled to the south of Laos, where the French offered them their protection.

In 1893, Laos became a French colony. Despite the French’s semi-tactical efforts, there were only about 600 French living in Laos up to 1940. But even with their small population, they still made an impact in the country that carries through today. Laos is famous for their sandwiches/baguettes. Which is the french style bread that is typically wrapped around mayonnaise, omelette (or meat), cheese, cucumbers and tomatoes. Laos also has a lot of French architecture & French signage sprinkled through the large cities, especially in the capital, Vientiane. & in larger cities, some of the older Laotians still speak French.

The outbreak of WWII broke away France’s concentration in Southeast Asia. Siam became Thailand & Japanese began to rule most of Laos- pushing out the French. From 1963 to 1973, during the Vietnam war, as part of the Secret War operation, the U.S. dropped 260 million cluster bombs on Laos, which was about 8 bombs per minute. This was more bombs dropped than the amount dropped during all of WWII. President Obama visited Laos in 2016 & pledged to help the country heal.

Thanks, Lonely Planet & BBC for teaching me a lot of this info.

I, regrettably, was unaware of the U.S.’s influence on Laos during the 60’s & 70’s. Blame it on my sense of naive, lack of education, or ignorance to learn about our world’s history on my own. Regardless of the reasonings, I am glad that I am learning so much about our world’s history now.

I, regrettably, was unaware of the U.S.’s influence on Laos during the 60’s & 70’s. Blame it on my sense of naive, lack of education, or ignorance to learn about our world’s history on my own. Regardless of the reasonings, I am glad that I am learning so much about our world’s history now.

Because of Laos’s history, it is a far less developed country than its surrounding countries (except Burma, now known as Myanmar). There aren’t a lot of major hotels here yet (also because Laos government says that a foreigner can not own more than 49% of a business in Laos), the wifi is minimal here, the roads are mostly dirt & if they are cement, there are huge potholes throughout. The driving is insane- there seems to be no rhyme or reason to it. Laotians also seem to be a lot more intimidated by Westerners than in other Asian countries, which is actually pleasing because they do not try to sell tourists things every 5 minutes.

Because of Laos incredible history, it is a forgotten, yet charming country. It has still managed to maintain its roots, even with the western tourists pushing through. So far, I have really enjoyed the countries beautiful mountain ranges, uneven roads, beautiful sunsets & relaxing vibes.

More to come on this fascinating country. xx

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