An extract on #vapeallday
The main international airports are Vientiane's Wattay International Airport and Luang Prabang International Airport with Pakse International Airport also having a few international flights. The national carrier is Lao Airlines. Other carriers serving the country include Bangkok Airways, Vietnam Airlines, AirAsia, Thai Airways International, China Eastern Airlines and Silk Air.
Much of Laos lacks adequate infrastructure. Laos has no railways, except a short link to connect Vientiane with Thailand over the ThaiLao Friendship Bridge. A short portage railway, the Don DetDon Khon narrow gauge railway was built by the French in Champasak Province but has been closed since the 1940s. In the late 1920s, work began on the ThakhekTan Ap railway that would have run between Thakhek, Khammouane Province and Tn p Railway Station, Qung Bnh Province, Vietnam through the M Gi Pass. The scheme was aborted in the 1930s. The major roads connecting the major urban centres, in particular Route 13, have been significantly upgraded in recent years, but villages far from major roads can be reached only through unpaved roads that may not be accessible year-round.
There is limited external and internal telecommunication, but mobile phones have become widespread in urban centres. In many rural areas electricity is at least partly available. Songthaews (pick-up trucks with benches) are used in the country for long-distance and local public transport.
Laos has made particularly noteworthy progress increasing access to sanitation and has already met its 2015 Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target. Laos' predominantly rural (68 percent, source: Department of Statistics, Ministry of Planning and Investment, 2009) population makes investing in sanitation difficult. In 1990 only eight percent of the rural population had access to improved sanitation. Access rose rapidly from 10 percent in 1995 to 38 percent in 2008. Between 1995 and 2008 approximately 1,232,900 more people had access to improved sanitation in rural areas.
Laos' progress is notable in comparison to similar developing countries. This success is in part due to small-scale independent providers emerging in a spontaneous manner or having been promoted by public authorities. The authorities in Laos have recently developed an innovative regulatory framework for PublicPrivate partnership contracts signed with small enterprises, in parallel with more conventional regulation of State-owned water enterprises.
Hill people and minority cultures of Laos such as the Hmong, Yao (Mien), Dao, Shan, and several Tibeto-Burman speaking peoples have lived in isolated regions of Laos for many years. Mountain/hill tribes of mixed ethno/cultural-linguistic heritage are found in northern Laos which include the Lua and Khmu people who are indigenous to Laos. Today, the Lua people are considered endangered. Collectively, they are known as Lao Soung or highland Laotians. Lao Soung account for only about 10 percent of the population.