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Laos Main Page

 

Laos's Geography

 

Laos' landscape is characterized by precipitous mountains; long, fertile floodplains, and lastly, high plateaus.  The mountains are found all throughout Laos but are mainly in the northern part of the country as are three main plateaus which are found in the north, central and southern sections of the country.  The floodplains span from the north, where they are narrow, to the south where they are much wider.

The tropical monsoon climate of Laos has average temperatures ranging from 28 degrees C to 38 degrees C.  The mountainous areas generally stay much cooler with average temperatures of 15 degrees C during winter.  Laos' rainy season is from May to September, while the dry season is from October to April.

The most important river in Laos is the Mekong River with it being navigable through most of Laos.  

 

Location:
Southeastern Asia, northeast of Thailand, west of Vietnam
Geographic coordinates:
18 00 N, 105 00 E
Map references:
Southeast Asia
Area:
total: 236,800 sq km
country comparison to the world: 83
land: 230,800 sq km
water: 6,000 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly larger than Utah
Land boundaries:
total: 5,083 km
border countries: Burma 235 km, Cambodia 541 km, China 423 km, Thailand 1,754 km, Vietnam 2,130 km
Coastline:
0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims:
none (landlocked)
Climate:
Current Weather
tropical monsoon; rainy season (May to November); dry season (December to April)
Terrain:
mostly rugged mountains; some plains and plateaus
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Mekong River 70 m
highest point: Phu Bia 2,817 m
Natural resources:
timber, hydropower, gypsum, tin, gold, gemstones
Land use:
arable land: 4.01%
permanent crops: 0.34%
other: 95.65% (2005)
Irrigated land:
1,750 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources:
333.6 cu km (2003)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 3 cu km/yr (4%/6%/90%)
per capita: 507 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards:
floods, droughts
Environment - current issues:
unexploded ordnance; deforestation; soil erosion; most of the population does not have access to potable water
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
landlocked; most of the country is mountainous and thickly forested; the Mekong River forms a large part of the western boundary with Thailand

 


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