Sunday, December 10, 2017

A brief look at Lao-South Korean diplomatic relations

A brief look at Lao-South Korean diplomatic relations

The relationship between the two countries has grown considerably in just the last 10 years.  Foreign investment and the number of tourists from South Korea to Laos has skyrocketed.  Here's a brief look at their diplomatic relations.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Vat Haw Pakaew received a new crown

In Vientiane, the famous Vat Haw Pakaew, received a new crown
after its renovations in 2015.
Video Credit: Vientiane Times, May 3, 2015

Heavy debt load in Laos

By:  David Hutt, Asia Times News, November 4, 2017

Twenty years since the 1997 Asian financial crisis, analysts are once again looking skeptically at potentially unsustainable debt piles in the region. Largely untouched by the ’97 collapse, Laos could get pulled into a new era of financial turmoil.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

A golden crown for the Tat Luang

More than 10 kg of gold leaf placed on the That Luang stupa.
Video Credit: Vientiane Times, October 31, 2016

A taste of North Korean food in Vientiane

Original Title:  Would You Like A Side Of Propaganda? Lunch At A North Korean Restaurant
By:  Elise Hu, NPR News, September 5, 2016
With contributions from:  Xaisongkham Induangchanthy

North Korean restaurant in Laos
North Korean restaurants, like this one in Vientiane, Laos, 
don't just serve North Korean cuisine.  They are run by the North Korean 
government as a way to earn hard currency to send back to an increasingly 
sanctioned Pyongyang.  Photo Credit: Elise Hu/NPR

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

A lot more available than you might have thought

Lots of different Beer Lao products
Showcase of all the Beer Lao products, taken by Jesse for his blog, 
after he visited the Beer Lao headquarters.  
Photo Credit:  JesseLaos, 2016.  Edited by:

A sight to behold along the river in Thakek

Nak Statue in Thakek, Khammouane
Nak statue in Thakek, Khammouane
Photo Credit: ຄຳມ່ວນແດນງາມ via Facebook
Edited by:

Monday, November 20, 2017

Minimum investment requirement eliminated on general businesses

Minimum investment requirement eliminated on general businesses by foreign investors to Laos
In April 2016, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) advised the Lao government to reduce or eliminate the minimum investment capital of 1 billion kip on foreign owned businesses in what it described as discriminatory and a deterrent for investors, as well as, not serving its original purpose.  A formal recommendation to amend the Law on Investment to rescind the minimum was then submitted to the National Assembly that same year.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Lao-American woman in hospital after recent California shooting

Tiffany Phommathep and her family - victim of California mass shooting
Photo Credits:  Phommathep Family

Very sad news coming from Rancho Tehama, California regarding a recent mass shooting. One of the those shot was Tiffany Phommathep who was shot several times while trying to protect the children in her vehicle, 3 of whom were own children.  Even the children sustained injuries and bullet wounds.  

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Chinese President Xi meets with former Lao classmates

Chinese President Xi meets with old classmates in Vientiane during the second day of his two day visit to Laos.  His old classmates included Lao nationals, such as former Lao Foreign Minister Pholsena, who had sought asylum during the 1960s in China.
Video Credit:  CGTN via Youtube, November 14, 2017

Chinese President Xi Jinping lands in Laos for state visit

By:  EChinaNews (ECNS.CN), November 14, 2017

Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, arrived in Laos Monday for a state visit as the two socialist countries seek to consolidate their traditional friendship.

It marks the first visit in 11 years by a Chinese head of state and top CPC leader to this neighboring country in Southeast Asia.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Lao culture epitomized in a dress costume

Miss Phounesup Phonnyotha, Miss International 2017 contestant representing Laos.
Photo Credit: Fluke Photography and Than Mak Wedding Studio, via Vientiane Times.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Monday, November 6, 2017

“Laos Simply Beautiful” showcased at Asia’s biggest travel fair

By:  Vientiane Times, October 30, 2017

Laos Simply Beautiful logo

VIENTIANE - A private and public effort under the leadership of the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism successfully showcased the strengths of Laos’ tourism potential at this year’s ITB Asia in Singapore.

South Korean visitors to Laos double over 3 years

By:  Vientiane Times, November 3, 2017

VIENTIANE - The number of South Korean tourists visiting Laos has doubled in the three years from 2014-16, according to report by the Tourism Development Department of Laos’ Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism.

Law Amendments Allow Government to Grant Citizenship

By:  KPL News, November 2, 2017

The National Assembly (NA) approved on Nov 1 at the ongoing 4th Ordinary Session of the National Assembly’s 8th legislature amendments to the Law on Lao Nationality that authorises the government to grant Lao nationality to foreigners.

Primer on Understanding That Luang Festival

Video Credit:  Lotus CommNet

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Govt vows to retrieve billions lost to misuse, illegal imports

By: Souksakhone Vaenkeo, Vientiane Times, November 6, 2017

The government has entrusted authorities in charge to carry out inspections into 45.53 million litres of oil that was imported for a state investment project but was never actually used for that project.

The move is part of measures adopted by the ongoing 4th ordinary session of the National Assembly’s 8th Legislature.

Volunteer teachers issue solutions sought

By:  Somsack Pongkhao, Vientiane Times, October 23, 2017

The Ministry of Education and Sports has committed to taking recommendations proposed by National Assembly members into account to better address chronic issues surrounding the nation’s volunteer teachers.

2nd Lao Coffee Festival Set for December

Original Title:  Laos: Coffee festival to put local industry on the boil
By:  Vientiane Times, October 30, 2017

2nd Lao Coffee Festival - Press Conference
Photo Credit:  Vientiane Times, October 30, 2017

VIENTIANE - The Lao Coffee Association (LCA) is hosting the second Lao Coffee Festival in Vientiane from December 10-12, aiming to expand domestic and export sales.

1st Laos Chess International Open

By:  Edwin Lam, Chess Base News, October 27, 2017

Chess being played in Lao schools.  Photo Credit:  Lao Chess Federation.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Phouvong Jewelry Calendar 2017 - November and December

Phouvong Jewelry Calendar 2017 - October and December
ບະຕິທິນຮ້ານຄໍາພູວົງ 2017 ເດືອນພະຈິກແລະເດືອນທັນວາ

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Laos aims to attract 5.2 mln foreign tourists in 2018

Source:  Xinhua News, October 24, 2017

VIENTIANE - The Lao government has set a plan to attract more than 5.2 million foreign arrivals to the country and increase the annual income generated by the foreign visitors to 900 million U.S. dollars in 2018.

Laos sets to promote tourism, preserve unique, fine traditional culture

Source:  Xinhua News, October 28, 2017

Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith launches the "Visit Laos Year 2018"
Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith launches the "Visit Laos Year 2018" at the opening of the annual That Luang Festival in Vientiane, Laos, Oct. 28, 2017. Laos officially launched the "Visit Laos Year 2018" on Saturday, aiming to promote tourism and preserve unique and fine traditional culture of Laos. (Photo Credit:  Xinhua/Liu Ailun)

Friday, October 27, 2017

Embodied Nation - Sport, Masculinity, and the Making of Modern Laos

Title:  Embodied Nation - Sport, Masculinity, and the Making of Modern Laos
By:  Simon Creak
Publisher, Year:  University of Hawaii, 2015
ISBN:   9780824838890
Price:  USD$30

Embodied Nation - Sport, Masculinity, and the Making of Modern Laos

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Lao prime minister pushing to ease business barriers

By:  Vientiane Times, October 25, 2017

VIENTIANE - Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith told the National Assembly (NA) on Monday the government will take serious action against red tape hampering exports and lessen unnecessary barriers for business.

The PM made the comment responding to questions raised by members of the parliament at the ongoing 4th ordinary session of the NA’s 8th legislature in Vientiane.

Timelapsed Mekong River

A very cool timelapse video of the Mekong River from different cities/towns in Laos and from different perspectives.

Video Credit:  Tobias Doblinger via Youtube, February 11, 2016

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Repeat Offender: Vietnam’s persistent trade in illegal timber

Title:  Repeat Offender: Vietnam’s persistent trade in illegal timber
By:  Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA)
Publisher, Year:  EIA, 2017
Cost:  Free

Repeat Offender: Vietnam’s persistent trade in illegal timber

"As Laos has tightened controls over illicit timber flows, Vietnamese traders, abetted by Government policies and support, have increasingly switched their attention to Cambodia as a source of cheap illegal raw materials." - EIA

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Elaborate Costume

Video Credit:  Miss Grand International
and Youtube user Ahacrh, October 12, 2017

Laos: Trillion kip spent unlawfully, says the top auditor

By:  Souksakhone Vaenkeo, Vientiane Times, October 19, 2017

VIENTIANE - More than one trillion kip of state spending without approval from the National Assembly (NA) has been uncovered, the state top auditor told the parliament this week.

More than one trillion kip of state spending without approval from the National Assembly (NA) has been uncovered, the state top auditor told the parliament this week.

Friday, October 13, 2017

The Ivory Trade of Laos: Now the Fastest Growing in the World

Title:  The Ivory Trade of Laos:  Now the Fastest Growing in the World
By:  Lucy Vigne and Esmond Martin, Save the Elephants
Publisher, Year:  Save the Elephants, 2017
ISBN:  9789966107831
Cost:  Free


It has been reported in recent weeks that Laos has become the fastest growing market for the illegal ivory trade.  This comes on the heels of Thailand and China's ban on ivory causing the market to have unfortunately moved to Laos where Chinese and Vietnamese demand continues. This is the investigative report that has shed a very informative light on the issue and to which news outlets have picked up on.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Laos: Oudomxay legalises foreign workers

By:  Vientiane Times, October 12, 2017

VIENTIANE - Oudomxay provincial authorities are registering foreigners and issuing them with temporary work permits in a bid to regulate the increasing number of undocumented migrant workers in the province.

Lao government clamps down on foreigners’ illegal business activities

By:  Vientiane Times, October 9, 2017

ATTAPEU, Laos - Attapeu province has taken steps to tackle the problems surrounding alien workers and foreigners who run businesses illegally and flout the regulations concerning land use rights.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Almost 10,000 Lao Students Studying in China

Article Title:  China welcomes more overseas students
By:  Khonesavanh Latsaphao, Vientiane Times, October 10, 2017

Almost 10,000 Lao Students Studying in China
Photo Credit:  Vientiane Times, October 10, 2017

BEIJING - More and more foreign students from South Asia and Southeast Asia are coming to study in China, including from Laos, which last year had almost 10,000 people studying in the country.

New Art Exhibition - Charming Laos

New Art Exhibition - Charming Laos

Monday, October 9, 2017

The Lao Trade Story

Title:  The Lao Trade Story - Implementing Trade Policy and Trade Facilitation Reforms in Lao PDR
By:  World Bank
Publisher/Year:  World Bank, 2016
Cost:  Free

The Lao Trade Story - Implementing Trade Policy and Trade Facilitation Reforms in Lao PDR

Perhaps a Lesson for Laos?

Article Title:  War of the Dragons: Why North Korea Does Not Trust China
The legacy of the Sino-Vietnamese War continues to cast a shadow on China-North Korea relations.
By:  Franz-Stefan Gady, The Diplomat, September 29, 2017
The idea that China holds the key to solving the ongoing political and military crisis on the Korean Peninsula has been the standard jack-in-the-box of U.S. North Korea policy for the past seven decades, set to pop up whenever U.S.-North Korea tensions escalated and the threat of war thought imminent.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Private Investment Over 2 Years at USD$7.5B in Laos

By:  KPL News, September 24, 2017

Minister of Planning and Investment Souphan Keomixay told a government meeting on the promotion of private investment on Friday that over the past two years 120 private investment projects have been recorded with a combined capital of 7.5 billion US dollars.

Will Laos Buy New Weapons from Indonesia?

Jakarta continues to look for regional opportunities for its state-owned defense companies.
By:  Prashanth Parameswaran, The Diplomat, September 26, 2017

On September 24, reports surfaced that one of Indonesia’s state-owned defense companies had received interest from Laos for some new arms sales. The reports are part of a broader development where Jakarta is seeking to strengthen its defense industry, including through selling more products to regional countries like Laos with which it is commemorating 60 years of relations this year.

Fiercely paddling right to the finish line

Boat Racing Festival.  Video Credit:  Vientiane Times, October 6, 2017

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

If you're in Laos this week, two colourful festivals await

By:  Visith Teppalath, Vientiane Times, October 4, 2017

Boat Racing Festival in Vientiane
Photo Credit:  Phoonsab

Anyone visiting Laos this week is urged not to miss the Vientiane Boat Racing Festival and the traditional and religious activities nationwide that mark the end of Buddhist Lent.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Lao Mushroom Sauce

A simple and delicious mushroom jaew (sauce).  ແຈ່ວເຫັດນາງຟ້າ
Video Credit:  May Laos Kitchen via Youtube, September 18, 2017.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

The 4th Population and Housing Census 2015 - Full Report

Title, Lao:  ຜົນການສຳຫຼວດພົນລະເມືອງ ແລະ ທີ່ຢູ່ອາໄສ ທົ່ວປະເທດ ຄັ້ງທີ IV ປີ2015
Title, English:  Results of Population and Housing Census 2015
By:   Lao Statistics Bureau
Publisher, Year:  UNFPA, 2016
ISBN:  n/a
Cost:  Free

Results of Population and Housing Census 2015 (in Lao)Results of Population and Housing Census 2015 (in English)

Is it Lao or English? country image with Lao/Eng text

Friday, September 29, 2017

2017 Lao Fashion Week Wraps Up

By:  KPL, September 18, 2017

2017 Lao Fashion Week Wraps Up2017 Lao Fashion Week Wraps Up

(KPL) Lao Fashion Week 2017 up in Vientiane last Friday following successful five days of showcasing 100 collections of designers and emerging stars.

ຖາມຫຍັງກໍໄດ້ - Legal Terms

Ask Anything SeriesQuestion:  Where can I learn more about Lao law and legal terms in Lao language?

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Staples at Lao festivals

You'll always find these delicious big sellers at Lao festivals - sweet black rice and barbecue chicken.
Video Credit: LaoNewsTV, October 10, 2014

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Lao PDR Costs of Doing Business 2015

Title:  Lao PDR Costs of Doing Business 2015
By:  Investment Promotion Department of the Ministry of Planning and Investment
Publisher, Year:  Lao Ministry of Planning and Investment, 2015
Cost:  Free

Cover of Lao PDR Costs of Doing Business 2015

Monday, September 18, 2017

Friday, September 15, 2017

ຖາມຫຍັງກໍໄດ້ - Compassionate Support

Ask Anything SeriesQuestion: I have a friend who was from Laos and her husband is dying. Is there anything I can do or give to her to show her compassion during this time?

Monday, September 11, 2017

Lao Beauty Pageants Galore

If it seems like there's been a recent explosion of beauty pageants happening Laos or having Lao representation, you'd be correct with that.

Lao beauty pageant winners 2016/2017

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Rare and Endangered Asian Unicorn (aka Saola)

By:  The Saola Working Group, IUCN, July 7, 2017

Rare and Endangered Asian Unicorn (aka Saola)
Photo Credit:  IUCN, 1996

The second-annual World Saola Day, July 9, marks a renewed sense of hope and urgency for an international partnership developing the first-ever conservation breeding program for the saola, an antelope-like mammal so rare that no biologist has ever seen it in the wild. Although the partnership, coordinated by the Saola Working Group (SWG), has made significant advances in the protection of saola habitat in the Annamite mountain range on the border of Vietnam and Laos, commercial poaching remains rampant, leaving the saola teetering on the edge of extinction.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Hydro plants power Laos into middle-income status

By:  Wichit, Chaitrong, The Nation (Thai), September 3, 2017

The Lao government is leveraging its rich hydropower resources in a bid to lift the country out of lower-middle income status by 2020.

Speaking at the official opening of the Xenamnoy 2-Xekatam 1 hydropower plant in Champasak province on Friday, Minister of Energy and Mines Dr Khammany Inthirath said the landlocked country has progressed rapidly in producing electricity, which it now supplies to local communities as well as Thailand and other Asian countries.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Learn about the timber industry in Laos

Title:  Study for Understanding Timber Flows & Control in Lao PDR
By:  LTS International (Dr. Kevin Grace, Mr. Souksompong Prixar, Dr. Kaison Phengsopha)
Publisher, year:  European Forest Institute (EFI) and European Union Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (EU FLEGT) Action Plan, 2012
Cost:  Free

Monday, September 4, 2017

Hun Sen, Laos PM to Request Border Maps to Solve Dispute

By Phan Soumy, Cambodia Daily, September 4, 2017

Prime Minister Hun Sen met his Lao counterpart at Phnom Penh’s “Peace Palace” on Friday in an effort to further de-escalate tensions that flared up last month over Laotian soldiers occupying Cambodian land, with both agreeing to write a joint letter to the French president requesting border maps.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Tea, Zip Lining and Waterfalls

This video posted by Inthy Deuansavanh on Facebook combines some of my favourite things - drinking tea, zip lining and waterfalls. You too can experience this at Tad Fane, Pakse, Laos.

Love this video!

Friday, September 1, 2017

Phouvong Jewelry Calendar 2017 - September and October

Phouvong Jewelry Calendar 2017 - September and October
ບະຕິທິນຮ້ານຄໍາພູວົງ 2017 ເດືອນກັນຍາແລະເດືອນຕຸລາ

OECD Investment Policy Reviews: Lao PDR

Title:  OECD Investment Policy Reviews:  Lao PDR
By:  Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development
Publisher, Year:  OECD Publishing, 2017
ISBN:  9789264275985
Cost:  Free (online)

Book cover - OECD Investment Policy Reviews:  Lao PDR

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Nation prepares welcome for 5.2 million during Visit Lao Year 2018

By:  Souksakhone Vaenkeo, Vientiane Times, August 5, 2017

Lao tourism authorities will aim for a total of 5.2 million foreign tourist arrivals for Visit Lao Year 2018, representing a significant increase from last years' figures that saw the country witness a year-on-year decrease of some 10 percent.

Laos Moves to Restrict ‘Disordered’ Lottery System

By:  RadioFreeAsia News (RFA), August 23, 2017

Government authorities in Laos are moving to restrict informal and illegal lotteries in the one-party communist state, with one high-placed police source calling the situation at present “disordered” and “antisocial.”

A screen grab from Lao television shows a drawing from the state lottery, Nov. 17, 2016.  Screen grab