Our first visits into Laos began more than ten years ago, but our operations stepped up significantly when we acquired bases in the village of Na Som and on the banks of the Mekong River in Luang Prabang. We now employ eighteen full-time staff in Laos. In 2011, we are proud to announce the opening of our new Luang Prabang Service Base, located on the Mekong River and adjacent to the UNESCO World Heritage area in Luang Prabang.

Airline Information and Program Connectivity

All Laos programs start and finish in Bangkok, Thailand. Rustic Pathways' leaders will meet students when they arrive at the airport in Bangkok. Please visit rusticpathways.com.au/flights or call us on 1800 321 435 for complete information about air travel. All of our Laos programs connect seamlessly to all Rustic Pathways programs in Thailand, Burma, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, Mongolia and India.

Fact File

Population: 6.8 million
Capital City: Vientiane
Currency: Kip - 1 Aussie dollar buys about 7,800 kip (as of November 2010)
Languages: Lao is the official language, although there are also dozens of languages spoken by the country's many ethnic minorities.

Well-Known Attractions

Luang Prabang: a French colonial UNESCO World Heritage site
That Luang: a golden stupa and national symbol
Khone Falls: largest set of falls on the Mekong River
The Plain of Jars: thousands of massive prehistoric stone jars mysteriously strewn across the Xieng Khouang landscape

Local Lingo

Sabai dii: Hello
Wow lao dai baw?: Can you speak Lao?
Sabai, Sabai: Taking it easy (the Lao lifestyle)

Did You Know?

The population of Laos consists of about 50 percent Lao people and 50 percent ethnic minority groups. The Khone Phapheng Waterfalls in Southern Laos have the greatest volume of water in any waterfall in the world and are the main reason that the Mekong River is not navigable to the ocean. Laos is the only landlocked country in Southeast Asia; it borders five other countries. Laos is famous for its intricate ethnic weaving, which can be found in markets throughout the country. It is known as the Land of a Million Elephants.

Rustic Pathways