A report on Laos and Luang Prabang

View of Luang Prabang, 1897
Pha That Luang in Vientiane is the national symbol of Laos.
Market in Luang Prabang, pre-1901
Fa Ngum, founder of the Lan Xang Kingdom
Damage caused by a communist ground attack on Luang Prabang airfield, 1967
Local Lao soldiers in the French Colonial guard, c. 1900
Statue of Sisavang Vong, King of Luang Phrabang 1904–46, King of Laos 1946–59
French General Salan and Prince Sisavang Vatthana in Luang Prabang, 4 May 1953
A riverboat and marchers in the Lao New Year parade in Luang Prabang
Ruins of Muang Khoun, former capital of Xiangkhouang province, destroyed by the American bombing of Laos in the late 1960s
O-lam, the most popular dish in Luang Prabang
Pathet Lao soldiers in Vientiane, 1972
Luang Prabang International Airport
Mekong River flowing through Luang Prabang
Monks collecting alms at dawn
Paddy fields in Laos
Buddhist Temple at Haw Kham (Royal Palace) complex
Laos map of Köppen climate classification.
Royal Palace
Flag of the ruling Lao People's Revolutionary Party
Primary school
Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and ASEAN heads of state in New Delhi on 25 January 2018
Luang Prabang night market
Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith with Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2016
Buddha images at Vat Visounarath
Hmong girls in Laos, 1973
Boats on the Mekong
A proportional representation of Laos exports, 2019
Pak Ou Caves
GDP per capita development in Laos
Landscape with a wooden footbridge crossing the Nam Khan river, where two workers are working at the consolidation of this structure, holding a big beam during the monsoon
Near the sanctuary on the main upper level of Vat Phou, looking back towards the Mekong River
Wat Nong Sikhounmuang
Rivers are an important means of transport in Laos.
Pha That Luang in Vientiane. The Buddhist stupa that is a national symbol of Laos.
Mahosot Hospital in Vientiane.
National University of Laos in Vientiane.
An example of Lao cuisine
Lao women wearing sinhs
Lao dancers during the New Year celebration
New Laos National Stadium in Vientiane.
Wat Nong Sikhounmuang - buddhist pagoda in Luang Prabang.

Luang Phabang, (Lao: ຫລວງພະບາງ/ຫຼວງພະບາງ) or Louangphabang (pronounced ), commonly transliterated into Western languages from the pre-1975 Lao spelling ຫຼວງພຣະບາງ (ຣ = silent r) as Luang Prabang, literally meaning "Royal Buddha Image", is a city in north central Laos, consisting of 58 adjacent villages, of which 33 comprise the UNESCO Town Of Luang Prabang World Heritage Site.

- Luang Prabang

In 1520, Photisarath came to the throne and moved the capital from Luang Prabang to Vientiane to avoid a Burmese invasion.

- Laos

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Ban Tha Lat, Mon inscription (9th CE), was found in 1968, in an area where other pieces of 
archaeological evidence testified to an ancient Mon presence. It is now at Ho Phra Kaeo Museum, Vientiane, Laos

Vientiane

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Ban Tha Lat, Mon inscription (9th CE), was found in 1968, in an area where other pieces of 
archaeological evidence testified to an ancient Mon presence. It is now at Ho Phra Kaeo Museum, Vientiane, Laos
Buddha sculptures at Pha That Luang
Haw Phra Kaew or Temple of the Emerald Buddha
Wat Si Muang
Buddha Park
Vientiane from Patuxai
Wattay International Airport
Older taxis in Vientiane are being replaced by newer Chinese-made cars, like this Soueast Lioncel.
Thanaleng Train Station

Vientiane (, ; ວຽງຈັນ, Viangchan, ) is the capital and largest city of Laos.

By the 8th century the Mon had pushed north to create city states, in Fa Daet (modern Kalasin, northeastern Thailand), Sri Gotapura (Sikhottabong) near modern Tha Khek, Laos, Muang Sua (Luang Prabang), and Chantaburi (Vientiane).

Kingdom of Lan Xang (green) in 1400 CE

Lan Xang

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The Lao Kingdom of Lan Xang Hom Khao (ລ້ານຊ້າງຮົ່ມຂາວ lān sāng hôm khāo, ; "Million Elephants and White Parasols") existed as a unified kingdom from 1353 to 1707.

The Lao Kingdom of Lan Xang Hom Khao (ລ້ານຊ້າງຮົ່ມຂາວ lān sāng hôm khāo, ; "Million Elephants and White Parasols") existed as a unified kingdom from 1353 to 1707.

Kingdom of Lan Xang (green) in 1400 CE
Statue of Fa Ngum, founder of the Lan Xang kingdom
Mainland Southeast Asia in the early 15th century
Teal: Lan Xang
Purple: Lan Na
Orange: Sukhothai Kingdom
Blue Violet: Ayutthaya Kingdom
Red: Khmer Empire
Yellow: Champa
Blue: Đại Việt
Lan Xang and Mainland Southeast Asia in 1540 CE
Wat Visoun, as seen by Louis Delaporte c.1867
Wat Visoun, Luang Prabang
Statue of King Sai Setthathirath at Pha That Luang, Vientiane
Wat Xieng Thong, Luang Prabang
Seated Buddha figure from Lan Xang, 17th century
Pha That Luang and its place in Vientiane
Monk repainting a Nāga at Pha That Luang
The Khone Falls, on the Mekong River.

The kingdom is the precursor for the country of Laos and the basis for its national historic and cultural identity.

The fertile northern Mekong valleys were occupied by the Dvaravati culture of the Mon people and subsequently by the Khmer, where the principal city-state in the north was known then as Muang Sua and alternately as Xieng Dong Xieng Thong "The City of Flame Trees beside the River Dong", (modern city of Luang Prabang).

Lao language

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Kra–Dai language of the Lao people.

Kra–Dai language of the Lao people.

Map showing the general migration patterns and diversification of the Tai peoples and languages from the original Tai Urheimat of southeastern China.
Wat Phra That Phanom in Nakhon Phanom. Built in the 16th century over earlier Khmer ruins when Isan was part of Lan Xang, the temple is an important place of pilgrimage, attracting Lao from Laos as well as Isan to its temple festivals.
Temple mural of Wat Photaram in Maha Sarakham Province. Dating to the reign of Siamese Ruler Rama III (1788-1851), the writing is in the Tai Noi script, an old form of the Lao alphabet.
A bilingual Lao-French street sign in Vientiane. Although the influence of French on the Lao language has waned considerably, hundreds of words of French origin are used in Laos.
Lao script on a sign at Wat That Luang, Vientiane.
An example of the Tai Tham alphabet formerly used in Laos for religious literature.
A sutra in the Khom script. This Khmer script was used to write Buddhist, Brahmanic and ritual texts.

It is spoken in Laos, where it is the official language for around 7 million people, as well as in northeast Thailand, where it is used by around 23 million people, usually referred to as Isan.

Northern Lao, specifically the speech of the city of Louang Phrabang was originally the prestigious variety of the language with the city serving as the capital of Lan Xang for the first half of its existence, with the kings of the city made kings of all of Laos by the French.

Areas of Laos controlled by the Pathet Lao and bombed by the United States Air Force in support of the Kingdom of Laos.

Laotian Civil War

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Areas of Laos controlled by the Pathet Lao and bombed by the United States Air Force in support of the Kingdom of Laos.
French General Salan and Prince Sisavang in the Lao capital, Luang Prabang, 4 May 1953
Pathet Lao soldiers in Xam Neua, 1953
The Geneva Conference of 1954.
The Ho Chi Minh trail was used by Vietnamese and Laotian people from the very beginning. Captured Viet Cong, circa 1959
The Laotian Armed Forces training Center at Khang Khai, Laos, March 1960
Anti-communist Hmong guerrilla troops in 1961.
Barrel Roll operational area, 1964
Barrel Roll and Steel Tiger operational area, 1965.
Damage caused by a communist ground attack on Luang Prabang airfield, 1967
North Vietnamese troops march through Laos, 1967
Barrel Roll, Steel Tiger and Tiger Hound operational areas.
A map of the Ho Chi Minh Trail, 1967.
A U.S. Air Force Bell UH-1P from the 20th Special Operations Squadron "Green Hornets" at a base in Laos, 1970.
A Royal Lao Air Force (RLAF) North American T-28D-5 Trojan armed trainer loaded with bombs at Long Tieng airfield in Laos, September 1972
Pathet Lao soldiers in Vientiane, Laos, 1973
Hmong woman and child at Long Tieng, Laos military base in 1973.
Laotians hired to assist U.S. troops assigned with the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command sift then move tons of dirt on a mountain near Xépôn, Laos (July 2004)
Unexploded cluster sub-munition, probably a BLU-26 type. Plain of Jars, Laos. 2012
UXO on display at a museum in Vientiane
Anti-aircraft troops of the Laotian Peoples Liberation Army.

The Laotian Civil War (1959–1975) was a civil war in Laos which was waged between the Communist Pathet Lao and the Royal Lao Government from 23 May 1959 to 2 December 1975.

The CIA's covert operation's clandestine army would give way, harrying the PAVN and Pathet Lao as they retreated; Raven Forward Air Controllers would direct massive air strikes against the communists by USAF jets and RLAF T-28s to prevent the capture of the Laotian capitals of Vientiane and Luang Prabang.

Mekong

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Trans-boundary river in East Asia and Southeast Asia.

Trans-boundary river in East Asia and Southeast Asia.

Mekong River south of Chamdo.
The Mekong from Phou si
The confluence of the Mekong and the Nam Ou Rivers, Laos
Floating homes on the Mekong, Cambodia
Mekong Delta, Vietnam
The Mekong in Laos
Floating market, Cần Thơ, Mekong delta
Cầu khỉ (monkey bridge) and small nước mắm (fish sauce) workshop on the bank of the Tiền River (branch of Mekong), Binh Dai District, Ben Tre Province, Vietnam
Hamlet, Tiền River, Binh Dai District, Ben Tre Province, Vietnam
19th century map showing the Mekong river as the "Mei-Kong" river
Members of the Mekong expedition of 1866–1868
Extirpated from most of its pan-Asian range, Cantor's giant softshell turtle can still be found along a stretch of the Mekong in Cambodia (Khmer called "Kanteay")
Bank erosion on the Song Tien, a Mekong branch, Binh Dai District, Ben Tre Province, Vietnam.
Fish Farming on Mekong branch, Song Tien, Đồng Tháp Province, Vietnam
Mekong ferry, Neak Loeung, Cambodia
Slow cruise boats, Pakbeng, Laos

From the Tibetan Plateau the river runs through China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam.

The international Lancang-Mekong River navigation improvement plan for 2015–2025, conceived by China, Myanmar, Lao, and Thailand, aims to make the river more navigable for 500-tonne cargo vessels sailing the river from Yunnan to Luang Prabang, a distance of 890 kilometres.

Evolution of the Lao Script

Lao script

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Evolution of the Lao Script
Lao script on a sign at Wat That Luang, Vientiane.
These now-obsolete Lao letters were once used to spell words of Pali and Sanskrit derivation, but were removed, reducing the consonant inventory and the similarity of spelling between Thai and Lao.

Lao script or Akson Lao (ອັກສອນລາວ ) is the primary script used to write the Lao language and other minority languages in Laos.

* In the Northern (Luang Prabang) dialect of Lao, ໃ◌ is pronounced as rather than ; similarly, in the Northeastern (Houaphanh) dialect, ໃ◌ is pronounced as.

Sisavang Vatthana on 3 November 1959, shortly after his accession upon the death of his father on 29 October.

Sisavang Vatthana

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The last king of the Kingdom of Laos and the 6th Prime Minister of Laos serving from 29 October to 21 November 1951.

The last king of the Kingdom of Laos and the 6th Prime Minister of Laos serving from 29 October to 21 November 1951.

Sisavang Vatthana on 3 November 1959, shortly after his accession upon the death of his father on 29 October.
French General Salan and Prince Savang in Luang Prabang, 4 May 1953

His rule ended with the takeover by the Pathet Lao in 1975, after which he and his family were sent to a re-education camp by the new government.

In 1961, a majority of the National Assembly had already voted Boun Oum into power and King Sisavang Vatthana left Luang Prabang, visiting the capital to give the new government his blessing.

Train at Vang Vieng station

Boten–Vientiane railway

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Train at Vang Vieng station
Vientiane Station
Bridge construction in Luang Prabang Province
Viaduct under construction near Vientiane.

The Boten–Vientiane railway, also known as the China–Laos railway or the Laos section of the Kunming–Singapore railway, is a 422 km in Laos, running between the capital Vientiane and the northern town of Boten on the border with Yunnan, China.

Construction began at Luang Prabang on 25 December 2016.

Oun Kham

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Oun Kham (ອຸ້ນຄຳ, June 5, 1811 – December 15, 1895) was King of Luang Prabang during 1868-1887 and a second time between 1889 and 1895.

The last two years of his reign ended with the establishment of a French protectorate over Laos.

Route 13 (Laos)

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N13 Milestone {{convert|9|km|mi|abbr=on}} from Chinese border at Boten
Laos Route N13 at Muang Xay
Laos Route N13 at Vang Vieng
Laos Route N13 at Pakxan
Laos Route N13 at Savannakhet

Route 13 is the most important highway in Laos.

It connects the city of Vientiane to Luang Prabang in the north and roughly follows the line of the Mekong River down to the border with Cambodia.