The main streets look like this. The national flag and the Party flag, the hammer and sickle, hang side by side. Laos history is very complicated and we’re sure you don’t want to hear about it. However the essential, modern, stuff is that the country was part of French Indochina from 1893 until 1954. The Japanese had a year of occupation in 1945. The French withdrew in 1954/54. The country was massively bombed by the US as part of their North Vietnam efforts and to destroy the N Vietnamese supply line, the Ho Chi Minh Trail. In 1973 Laos was divided between royalists and communists. That year the Soviets helped swing the balance with force and the Laos People’s Front establish communist rule that remains to today.
My World Fact Book app has this bigger picture:
Modern-day Laos has its roots in the ancient Lao kingdom of Lan Xang, established in the 14th century under King FA NGUM. For 300 years Lan Xang had influence reaching into present-day Cambodia and Thailand, as well as over all of what is now Laos. After centuries of gradual decline, Laos came under the domination of Siam (Thailand) from the late 18th century until the late 19th century when it became part of French Indochina. The Franco-Siamese Treaty of 1907 defined the current Lao border with Thailand. In 1975, the communist Pathet Lao took control of the government ending a six-century-old monarchy and instituting a strict socialist regime closely aligned to Vietnam. A gradual, limited return to private enterprise and the liberalization of foreign investment laws began in 1988. Laos became a member of ASEAN in 1997 and the WTO in 2013.
Haw Pha Bang. Inside (no pics) is a 33″ tall Buddha, the Phra Bang, the city is named for. The Phra Bang was supposedly made in Sri Lanka between the 1st and 9th century and (it’s a very long story) ended up here. But everyone says it’s a copy. The original is in safe storage. Plus, it likely wasn’t made then and there, as the upturned hands indicate it was made in the 14th century
Just a few random things there.