Geography of Laos

Laos is a landlocked country of northeast-central mainland Southeast Asia. It consists of an irregularly round portion in the north that narrows into a peninsula-like region stretching to the southeast. Overall, the country extends about 650 miles (1,050 km) from northwest to southeast.
The provinces are grouped geographically into 3 strata, North (from Phongsaly to Saiyabouly, Luang Prabang and Xiengkhuang), Central (Vientiane and Bolikhamxay) and South (from Khammuane to Champasack).

1, The North:

North Laos is a region of Laos that covers about a third of the country's land area

North Laos is a region of Laos that covers about a third of the country's land area. It is characterized by rugged mountains, dense forests, and diverse ethnic groups. The region borders China, Vietnam, and Thailand, and has a long history of cultural and political interactions with these neighboring countries. 

The geography of North Laos is dominated by the Annamite Range, which forms a natural barrier between Laos and Vietnam. The highest peak in Laos, Phou Bia, is located in this range and reaches 2,817 meters above sea level. The mountains are rich in biodiversity and natural resources, but also pose challenges for transportation and development. The Mekong River, which flows through the western part of North Laos, is the main artery for trade and communication. The river also provides water for irrigation, hydropower, and fishing.

The climate of North Laos is tropical monsoon, with distinct wet and dry seasons. The wet season lasts from May to October, when the southwest monsoon brings heavy rains and high humidity. The dry season lasts from November to April, when the northeast monsoon brings cooler and drier air. The average temperature in North Laos ranges from 15°C in January to 29°C in April. The annual rainfall varies from 1,000 to 3,000 millimeters depending on the altitude and location.

The population of North Laos is estimated at about 2.5 million people, or about one-third of the total population of Laos. The region is home to many ethnic minorities, such as the Hmong, Khmu, Tai Dam, Akha, Lahu, and Yao. These groups have their own languages, cultures, religions, and traditions. Most of them practice subsistence agriculture and live in rural villages. Buddhism is the dominant religion in North Laos, but animism and Christianity are also practiced by some groups.

2. The Central:

Central Laos is a region of diverse landscapes

Central Laos is a region of diverse landscapes and cultures, situated between the northern and southern parts of the country. It encompasses the provinces of Bolikhamxai, Khammouane, Savannakhet, and Vientiane. 

The region is home to some of the most spectacular natural attractions in Laos, such as the limestone karst formations of Phou Hin Boun National Protected Area, the Kong Lor Cave that stretches for 7 kilometers underground, and the Dong Hua Sao National Biodiversity Conservation Area that hosts a variety of wildlife and plants. Central Laos also boasts a rich cultural heritage, with influences from various ethnic groups, such as the Lao Loum, Lao Theung, Lao Soung, and Mon-Khmer. 

The region has many historical and religious sites, such as the ancient city of Muang Phuan, the Wat Phou temple complex that dates back to the 5th century, and the That Ing Hang stupa that is revered by Buddhists from Laos and Thailand. Central Laos is a fascinating destination for travelers who want to explore the natural beauty and cultural diversity of this landlocked country in Southeast Asia.

3. The South:

A waterfall in the Bolovens Plateau

South Laos is a region of Laos that borders Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam. It covers about 70,000 square kilometers and has a population of about 2.5 million people. South Laos is known for its diverse geography, which includes mountains, plateaus, plains, rivers, and waterfalls.

One of the most prominent geographic features of South Laos is the Bolovens Plateau, a fertile area that produces coffee, tea, rice, and other crops. The plateau is also home to several ethnic minority groups, such as the Katu, Alak, and Laven. The plateau has a cooler climate than the lowlands and offers scenic views of waterfalls and forests.

Another notable geographic feature of South Laos is the Mekong River, which forms part of the border with Thailand and Cambodia. The river is vital for transportation, irrigation, fishing, and hydroelectric power. The river also supports a rich biodiversity of plants and animals, including endangered species such as the Irrawaddy dolphin and the giant catfish.

South Laos also has several natural and cultural attractions that draw tourists from around the world. Some of these include the ancient Khmer temple complex of Wat Phou, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Champasak Cultural Landscape, the Four Thousand Islands archipelago, and the Dong Hua Sao National Protected Area.



Years Experiences


Tour Packages


Happy Customers


Award Winning


For unique travel ideas and an insider's eye on all things
Southeast Asia, subscribe to our Asia Mystika e-Newsletter.

Follow Us

Cookie Consent

button cookies

We use cookies to improve your experience. You consent to the use of our cookies if you proceed. For more information, please visit Cookie Policy

Leave An Email
Customize Your Trip