December 29, 2015

Temple Bird in Blue

Temple Bird in Blue
The temple bird which in Lao is called the hoang.
Although it is typically depicted in gold color, here we've done in blue.

December 28, 2015

Red Alien Plant

While visiting Kuangsi Falls in Luangprabang, among the foliage of green that surrounded the falls, there was a random single hanging strand of what looked like thick red petals tipped with bright yellow.  It was a stark contrast to all the green plants and the blue water.  Although its petals appear tightly formed, they do eventually open up.

Heliconia plant aka Lobster claw plant
Photo Credit:  Danny Foster via Flickr.

December 16, 2015

Flyover the Plain of Jars

This awesome flyover the mysterious Plain of Jars in Phonsavan, Laos, gives you not only a great aerial view but also shows you how vast the area that the jars occupy. And some areas have incredibly high concentrations of these giant stone jars.

Video Credit: Youtube user Seearch

December 07, 2015

Fossil Evidence from Tam Pa Ling, Laos

Title:  Early Modern Humans and Morphological Variation in Southeast Asia: Fossil Evidence from Tam Pa Ling, Laos
By: Fabrice Demeter, Laura Shackelford, Kira Westaway, Philippe Duringer, Anne-Marie Bacon, Jean-Luc Ponche, Xiujie Wu, Thongsa Sayavongkhamdy, Jian-Xin Zhao, Lani Barnes, Marc Boyon, Phonephanh Sichanthongtip, Frank Sénégas, Anne-Marie Karpoff, Elise Patole-Edoumba, Yves Coppens, José Braga

Academic Editor:  Roberto Macchiarelli, Université de Poitiers, France
Published:  April 7, 2015

Early Modern Humans and Morphological Variation in Southeast Asia: Fossil Evidence from Tam Pa Ling, Laos
Little is known about the timing of modern human emergence and occupation in Eastern Eurasia. However a rapid migration out of Africa into Southeast Asia by at least 60 ka is supported by archaeological, paleogenetic and paleoanthropological data. Recent discoveries in Laos, a modern human cranium (TPL1) from Tam Pa Ling‘s cave, provided the first evidence for the presence of early modern humans in mainland Southeast Asia by 63-46 ka. In the current study, a complete human mandible representing a second individual, TPL 2, is described using discrete traits and geometric morphometrics with an emphasis on determining its population affinity. The TPL2 mandible has a chin and other discrete traits consistent with early modern humans, but it retains a robust lateral corpus and internal corporal morphology typical of archaic humans across the Old World. The mosaic morphology of TPL2 and the fully modern human morphology of TPL1 suggest that a large range of morphological variation was present in early modern human populations residing in the eastern Eurasia by MIS 3.

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December 04, 2015

Drivethru Tat Luang!?

Here's yet another Tat Luang-like structure found in Laos.  And this one you can drive through it!
 Boten Border Customs Checkpoint between Luang Namta, Laos and China.
Photo Credit:  John Kwa, May 2014, via Google Maps

December 02, 2015

Access Guide to China for Lao Businesses

Title:  Lao PDR Market Access Guide:  Trading With ASEAN Dialogue Partners - People's Republic of China
Prepared by:  Montague Lord, February 2013

Access Guide to China for Lao Businesses

Part 1:  Guide to Understanding Lao Exports to China
Part 2:  Guide to Emerging Opportunities in China's Market
Part 3:  Exporter's Guide to China's Market
Part 4:  How to Expand Exports to China
Part 5:  Useful Resources

Download and read for Free!

In the Shadow of China: Trade and Growth in Lao PDR

Title:  In the Shadow of China: Trade and Growth in Lao PDR
By: Magnus Andersson, Anders Engvall, Ari Kokko
Stockholm School of Economics
Working Paper 4, March 2009

Cover picture of "In the Shadow of China:  Trade and Growth in Lao PDR"

The rapid integration of China into the global economy has profoundly altered external economic conditions for its neighbors and the wider developing world. This study explores the effects on Laos, a small developing country on the fringe of the Chinese market. The Lao case captures both global effects transmitted across the world market and a regional impact that may be limited to countries located close to China. Based on unique trade and household data-sets, the study identifies three main effects of China’s growth on the Lao economy: (i) an increased demand for exports of primary commodities to the Chinese market; (ii) increased inflows of Chinese manufactured goods competing with domestic Lao production; and (iii) border effects in northern Laos where low transaction costs have allowed even the poorest households to participate in exports to China. The first and second of these effects are expected to apply to most developing countries, whereas the third is unique to developing countries located close to the Chinese market. In the long run, it is possible that increasing wages and a gradual reduction of the Chinese surplus of unskilled labor will create new opportunities for labor intensive industry in other developing countries, but the short run strategies of many countries should probably focus on gradual upgrading of resource based industries.

Download and read it for free!

December 01, 2015

Vientiane at Night - Along Kem Kong

Vientiane at Night - Along Kem Kong
A look at Vientiane at night.  Notice the Evening Night Market 
with their tents lighting up along Kem Kong.
Photo Credit:  Bindoo Studio.

November 23, 2015

ຮູບເງົາສັ້ນເພື່ອການສຶກສາ ເລື່ອງ "ມານຫົວໃຈ" / Educational Shortfilm "Enemy of the Heart"

Village Focus International, an iNGO, did a bunch of short videos that were aimed about teaching proper conduct and understanding laws through real life examples.  In this one, it's about land use, right of way and land inheritance.  Video is in Lao language.

 Video Credit:  Village Focus International with support from GIZ and the cooperation of the Faculty of Lao, NUOL, and relevant Lao ministries.  Production by:  Lao New Wave Cinema.

November 16, 2015

Lao Photographer Profile: Mr. Khampa Bouaphanh

Today's featured photos is that of Lao-American photographer Khampa Bouaphanh, based out of Fort Worth, Texas, USA.  His portfolio is vast and and his photos often convey human emotions, visceral and evocative.  Of course for us we're interested in the Lao related pictures and images.

 Offerings at the Tat Luang Festival. Photo Credit:  Khampa Bouaphanh
 Offerings at the Tat Luang Festival.
Photo Credit:  Khampa Bouaphanh

November 12, 2015

Laos in the House: Voices From Four Decades of Lao Disapora

Love the artwork and music featured in this video from this curated art show.

Co-presented by the Asian Arts Initiative
March 6  - May 1 2015
Philadelphia, Pensylvannia, USA
Music:  "The Prayer (Chanting Inner Peace)", performed by Ketsana Vilaylack
Video filmed and edited by:  Xaisongkham Induangchanthy

November 11, 2015

Lao Word of the Day: A Map / ແພນທີ່

Lao Word of the Day:  A Map - written in Lao and English

Laotian Food Is The International Cuisine You've Been Missing

By:  Alison Spiegel, The Huffington Post , February 5 2015

Sticky rice, laap, papaya salad: this is Thai food, right? Not originally. These well-known Asian dishes that have traveled the globe to appear on Thai restaurant menus everywhere are actually Laotian in origin. You might not have known that, because compared to neighboring Thailand and Vietnam, Laos has a relatively low profile when it comes to cuisine. To overlook the food in this mountainous, landlocked, stunning country, however, would be a huge mistake. Spicy, bitter and incredibly fun to eat, Laotian cuisine is worth your full attention.

Picture of laap - Lao meat salad by Getty Images
Photo Credit:  Getting Images via Huffington Post

November 09, 2015

Gorgeous Fly Over Vientiane

One of the best videos we've come across showing aerial footage of Vientiane taken with a remote controlled drone and a high resolution camera.  Enjoy the fly over Vientiane and watch...

Video Credit:  Bindoo Studio

November 06, 2015

Fascinating Times: A Look at Lao Relations With USA, China, and Vietnam

By:, November 6 2015

Next year's 27th ASEAN Summit in 2016 is about to get a whole lot more busier and, admittedly, a bit more exciting.  It was announced yesterday by White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes that President Obama would be in attendance next year in Vientiane for the summit.

American President Obama.
Photo Credit:  Associated Press, 2015

This comes on the heels of Rhodes' recent trip this year on October 16 to Laos where he and other American officials along with their Lao counterparts marked 60 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.  What's more, all of this follows the visit of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when she visited back in 2012 which at the time made her the highest ranking American official to visit in 40 years.  To a lesser known extent, there was also a July visit this year by US Vice-President Joe Biden's wife, Dr. Jill Biden.

The posturing of American policy and its foray into Southeast Asia in recent years is a decisive one and decidedly poignant as it tries to balance its own interests in the region, as well as, assuaging allies, and attempting to counter the growing influence of China in the region.

November 04, 2015

Related Languages - Lao, Pali, Sanskrit

If you've never seen this before, you'll be interested to see the progression that has brought us modern day written Lao language.

October 27, 2015

Lao Fashion Week 2015 - Grand Finale

The finale was a wonderful showcase of the some of the best and favored designs along with the designers themselves with their model.

Photo Credit:  Lao Fashion Week

Photo Credit:  Lao Fashion Week

LaoNewsTV - Lao Fashion Week 2015

Video Credit:  LaoNewsTV, September 8 2015.

October 24, 2015

Aerial Photo of Tat Luang

Aerial Photo of Tat Luang in Vientiane, Laos
Beautiful high angle aerial photograph of the Tat Luang in Vientiane Laos.
Photo Credit:  Bindoo Studio

October 23, 2015

US Embassy Shares What They Like About Laos

The American Embassy in Vientiane made a short video after getting 50,000 likes on their Facebook page.  In this video, the ambassador and his staff share what they like about Laos.  Surprisingly, they speak Lao quite well!

Video Credit:  US Embassy Vientiane

October 22, 2015

In Laos, An Invisible Minority Is Finding Its Voice

By:  Dominique Mosbergen, The Huffington Post, October 19 2015

This is the ninth part of a 10-part series on LGBT rights in Southeast Asia, which uncovers the challenges facing the LGBT community in the region and highlights the courageous work of activists there.


If there is one word to describe the LGBT community in Laos, the landlocked nation sandwiched between Thailand and Vietnam, it might just be “invisible.”

Laos, like Vietnam, is one of the world's few remaining communist states. And, like its neighbor, it has been strictly ruled by its communist government since 1975.

The country, which is predominantly Buddhist, has been condemned in recent years for its abysmal human rights record. The Department of State said in 2013 that “societal discrimination based on sexual orientation and against persons with HIV/AIDS” was prevalent, among other abuses of human rights.

LaoNewsTV: EU Celebrates LGBT Day in Vientiane

Not only is this a first time event of its kind for Laos but it's also the first time an LGBT community member was featured on Lao News TV.

Video credit:  LaoNewsTV

October 13, 2015

Faculty of Sciences ສາລະຄະດີ ຄວທ ຄະນະວິທະຍາສາດ - ມະຫາວິທະຍາໄລແຫ່ງຊາດ

Video clips featuring the Faculty of Sciences at the National University of Laos.  Very interesting to see the inner workings.  And for anyone else interest in studying there, it's a good introduction.

All video and film credits:  SPV Media and The National University of Laos.

ສາລະຄະດີ ຄວທ ຄະນະວິທະຍາສາດ (Faculty of Science)

October 12, 2015

All Print Articles on Laos From National Geographic Magazine

National Geographic is one of my favourite magazines.  I've tracked every print article they've ever done specifically on Laos in their main magazine.  Unfortunately, there hasn't been many. 

Photo Credit:  The Royal procession, pyre, and urn in Luangprabang, Laos.
National Geographic, 1961 August issue.

Here's the list.  If I've missed any, do let me know in the comments.  Keep in mind this doesn't include articles where Laos may have been a part of but not exclusively covered in a particular article.  It also doesn't include online coverage by National Geographic on Laos.

October 09, 2015

Google Streetview for Vientiane

Last summer (July 2014) Google announced that they would begin capturing images for their Streetview feature of Google Maps for Laos.  If you haven't checked it out yet the feature is now available.

Google Streetview for Vientiane
Photo Credit:  Google Maps

October 07, 2015

A Working Adventure in Laos

Dr. Chris Brown, a Canadian doctor, has been going to Laos for the past 15 years helping and teaching at the Lao University of Health Sciences.  The program that he is a part of is the Lao Rural Health Initiative by the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary.

A Working Adventure in Laos by Dr. Chris Brown and Lightfalls Production

He still lives and works in Canada, however he continues to make regular visits to Laos to contribute at the Lao university.  Further, it is by Dr. Brown's initiative that this story is being shared to to the world with this documentary which he made with the help of Lightfalls Production.

October 02, 2015

Top 3 Largest Foreign Embassies in Laos

The following are the top 3 largest foreign embassies in Laos in terms of the land area they occupy.  You might be surprised at how much area they cover.  Have a look.  Click images to enlarge.

Photo Credit:  American Embassies, Vientiane, Laos.
Digital Globe from Google Maps, 2015.

September 29, 2015

The Luangprabang Marathon 2015 - Registration is Open!

Race Date:  October 18 2015

This marathon is a great opportunity to meet other runners, a chance to see the beautiful city and support local charities all in one activity!

Luangprabang Marathon race picture
Photo Credit:  Luangprabang Marathon

September 23, 2015

Lots of Shows on LaoStar Youtube Channel

Want to watch modern Lao tv shows?  Take a look at LaoStar Channel's Youtube page.  Their television shows span the entire gambit of topics.  Luckily, Laostar has shared much of them online on their Youtube channel.  Take a look.

LaoStar Channel logo image

  • ເອັນໂຊນ Entertainment Zone - about all things entertainment, fun and celebrities.
  • ມຶວສິກບູມ Music Boom - a show about the Lao music industry, artists and musicians.
  • ເອັກເຊີຊາຍວາໄລຕີ້ Exercise Variety - an exercise and sports show.
  • ເມນູທູເດ Menu Today - a show that visits different Lao restaurants.
  • ແມ່ນແລ້ວ Maen Laew - a quiz show.
  • ທີ່ນີ້ເມືອງລາວ Teenee Muang Lao - a travel show with a primary focus on important cultural sites.
  • ທຳກິນຢູ່ຖິ່ນລາວ Tumkin Yu Teenlao - an agricultural and farming show that visits different farms to show viewers where their food comes from.
  • ຜູ້ຍິງລາວຍຸກໃໝ່ Women Today - a show focused on women's topics.
  • ພັນເລື່ອງເມືອງລາວ Pan Leuang Muang Laos - a show focusing on cultural and ethnic handicrafts created by local artisans.
  • ລາວທ່ຽວລາວ Lao Travel Lao - a fun travel show that visits different tourist sites and hotels.
  • ຄົ້ນຫາພາທ່ຽວ Travel Finding - another fun travel show.
  • Lao Today Variety - a variety show covering topics from sports to culture.
  • ເຮືອນລາວຍຸກໃຫມ່ Lao Modern Home - a show about houses, home design and landscaping.

September 17, 2015

Music for Everyone

Music for Everyone (MES) is aptly named as its mission is to be able to give free music lessons and allow free use of instruments to its students.  It's based in the city of Luangprabang and is a locally run non-profit organization (NGO).  Registration was due recently for students wanting to join.

Have a look below and consider sending them some support, if you're interested in helping these talented young musicians.

A Drone Aerial Photo of a Glowing Tat Luang

A Drone Aerial Photo of a Glowing Tat Luang
Photo Credit:  Jettana Viengsaly

September 16, 2015

Old Abandoned Temple in Sam Neua

Photo Credit:  Kay Intarasapa, shown on Glory of Laos (on Facebook).

Aerial Drone Photo of Tat Luang

Photo Credit:  Drone by Jettana (on Facebook).

EFEO Posts Entire Historical Photo Library Online

Take a trip through time and visit the past!  EFEO (l'École française d'Extrême-Orient) has done it again with an incredible sharing and posting of information online.  This time with their database of historical photographs dating back to the early 1900s.  Many are Lao related while others are relevant to the Khmer or Vietnamese.  Here are some samples.

Photo Credit:  EFEO, 1930

September 15, 2015

Beautiful Pa Suam Waterfall, Champassak, Laos

 Photo Credit:  Naresorn Nunthasuttiwaree shown on LaosPictures.

Fifth Lao Studies Conference 2016 - Call For Papers Deadline

The Fifth International Conference on Lao Studies 2016

Although the deadline for the registration for attending isn't until April 30, 2016, the deadline for the call for papers and to submit your abstract is coming up soon - October 31, 2015.

September 14, 2015

Lone Buffalo Foundation

Lone Buffalo is a non-profit, non-government organization, whose charity is registered in the UK.

They offer free English language courses to Lao students in Phonsavan, Laos. Though it is not just about academics. At Lone Buffalo they want to promote free and creative thinking, sports and film making, among other things. They've garnered a lot of support and press for all the work that they've done.

On Safer Ground

A beautiful and touching documentary from Directors Stuart Ryan and Hedley Dindoyal.  It follows a young team of football playing teenagers as they traveled from Laos to compete at the Gothia Youth World Cup 2010 in Sweden. Among others, it also profiles Manophet, Gareth Carter and the non-profit organization in Phonsavan, Laos, called Lone Buffalo.

This film documents their journey on and off the pitch as they win over hearts and minds and also how they deal with being the first Lao football team ever to compete outside of Asia.

It's a movie that's filled with love and support, high hopes, fun, success, along with a poignant and sad tragedy that hits the team.  Watch the trailer (English with Lao subtitles).

September 07, 2015

The Game Plan - Laos' Judo Hope

Lao sports profile on athlete Souphaxay Sitthisane who completes in judo.

Video Credit:  Channel NewsAsia

The Game Plan - Laos' Taekwondo Hope

Lao sports profile on athlete Sonexay Mangkei who completes in taekwondo.

Video Credit:  Channel NewsAsia

September 04, 2015

Book Review: Eternal Harvest - The Legacy of American Bombs in Laos

Title:  Eternal Harvest - The Legacy of American Bombs in Laos
by:  Karen J. Coates
Photos by:  Jerry Redfern
Publisher/Year:  ThingsAsian Press, 2013
ISBN:  9781934159491
Price:  $12.95USD

Book cover of Eternal Harvest - The Legacy of American Bombs in Laos by Karen J. Coates

This book is a wonderful tribute to those who have been affected by bombs and the remaining unexploded ordinance (UXO) in Laos.  It provides background info on how the situation came to be and how it continues to be.  I also like that it provides historical context, the profiles of everyday people who are affected, and a plethora of evocative and visceral black and white photos throughout.

September 01, 2015

Random Awesome Image: Vat Ong Teu Candlelit Procession

Long exposure of a low lit scene at Vat Ong Teu, Vientiane,   during the candlelit procession around the temple.  Photo Credit:  Phoonsab Thevongsa
Long exposure of a low lit scene at Vat Ong Teu, Vientiane, 
during the candlelit procession around the temple.
Photo Credit:  Phoonsab Thevongsa