Photo: Local transport, Xieng Khouang
The population of Laos is actually 6.5 Millions, which in terms of population makes Laos the third smallest country in Southeast Asia (after Brunei and Singapore).
About half of the country's population is Laotians, a people ethnically closely related to the Thais. The languages Thai and Laotian are also very similar.
Roughly one quarter of the population, mostly to the South, ethnically belongs, like the Cambodians, to the Mon-Khmer group, about 15% are Thais, and various hill tribes make up another 10% of the population.
Laos is one of the very few countries in Southeast Asia without significant ethnic tensions. The long-time leader of the communist movement in Laos, former Prime Minister Kaysone Phomvihan, was born of a Vietnamese and a Laotian parent.
The citizens of the country have a reputation for being extremely peaceful and friendly - even though Laos had been caught up in the Vietnam war and in a civil war lasting for years.
Laos: Laos Travel
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