The first settlements on the territory of the country appeared 10 thousand years ago. In the 3rd – 2nd millennium BC. down the Mekong, Austro-Asiatic tribes descended here. In subsequent centuries, the lands of Laos passed from the hands of some conquerors to the hands of others. In the IV and V centuries. they were Chinese from the north, in the 7th century. – Khmer state of Chenla, in the 9th century. – Angkor power.
In the 7th century begins the resettlement of Thai tribes, including the future Laolum. From the 8th century India began to exert a strong influence on the settlers of Laos, which was reflected in the wide spread of Buddhism among them. In the 80s. 13th century the territory of Northern Laos became part of the Thai state of Sukhothai. In 1353, the Lao principalities on the territory of modern Laos and Eastern Thailand were united by the ruler of Muang Shwa, Fa Ngun, into a single centralized state of Lan Xang, one of the largest states in Indochina. Lan Xang often entered into military conflicts with Ayutthaya and the Burmese states. Check a2zdirectory for old history of Laos.
In the XVI-XVII centuries. Lan Xang reached its greatest prosperity and power. There was an economic upsurge, feudal relations and the Buddhist religion spread to the hinterland, significant monuments of architecture and religious literature were created. In 1707, the state broke up into the principalities of Luang Prabang and Vientiane. 19th century became a period of political struggle for the territory of Lan Xang. After the capture of Vietnam by France and its subjugation of Cambodia in 1863, Laos fell into the sphere of claims of the French colonialists. During this period, the united territories were called Laos.
Until 1950, the country remained part of French Indochina, with the exception of a short period of Japanese occupation during the Second World War. Laos received full independence in 1953, but at that time there was a conflict between royalists, neutrals and communists. Since 1964, the United States began to actively intervene in the country’s domestic policy, assigning it the role of a strong base for aggressive actions in Indochina. By the time the ceasefire was decided in 1973, Laos already had the reputation of being the world’s most heavily bombed country in the history of hostilities.
In December 1975, the Lao People’s Democratic Party was established. In the 80s, Laos maintained close ties with the Vietnamese communists. In the 90s. the weakening of state control and movement towards a market economy began. Laos further strengthened its ties with its neighbors when it was admitted to ASEAN in 1997.
Luang Prabang, ancient capital of Laos has been declared a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO. There are 32 large temple complexes in Luang Prabang. One of the most impressive temples is the royal temple of Wat Xieng Thong, decorated with gold and colored glass. Worth a visit is the Palace Museum, once the Royal Palace, which houses an impressive collection of objects belonging to the former rulers of Lan Xang.
In the city, you can climb Mount Phu Si, which offers a panorama of the city and the surrounding river valleys and is the temple of Phu Si. Half way to the top of the mountain there is a small cave and supposedly a footprint of the Buddha. But the best view of Luang Prabang and the surrounding area opens from the opposite side of the Mekong from the old temple of Vat Chomphet, which can be reached by crossing the Mekong by boat.
A very interesting cave-temple Pak Ou, located 25 km from Luang Prabang. You can get to it either along the Mekong by boat, or by taxi, or with an excursion. Two caves, Tham Ting and Tham Phun, contain numerous statues of the Buddha. The caves offer a breathtaking view of the Mekong Valley and the surrounding jungle-covered mountains. Kuang Si Waterfall, one of the most beautiful water features in Laos, is located 30 km from Luang Prabang.. The waterfall is high and large, after falling it overflows, further downstream there are several smaller waterfalls, in many places you can swim. From the top of the waterfall you have a great view of the mountains.
From Luang Prabang, you can make a two-day trip to the border with Thailand along the Mekong by boat with an overnight stay in the town halfway. This is the best, though not the most comfortable, way to explore the life of the locals on the river and to enjoy the views from the river to the mountains and jungle.
Also from Luang Prabang, many trekking routes start in the surrounding villages and mountains.