An Overlook of Lao Culture

Lao People’s Democratic Republic is still an uncommon name to most of the tourists all over the world. Laos is said to be the most laid back country in the South East Asia and had been isolated for almost 20 years before the 1990s. But now, little by little, Laos is rising and opening up to welcome all visitors to boast its country and culture.

Religion 

The rich culture of Laos originally comes from the predominant religion of Buddhism which influences both of Laos’ architecture and lifestyle. Every morning, since the early of sunrise, visitors to Laos can catch a view of dozens of monks, wearing orange robes, walking around the streets and asking for alms. Buddhism is also reflected in the practice of Baci, also known as Sou Khoun in Laotian, a type of ceremony to enrich the spirit. 

Lao culture Lao's monks asking for alms on the street.

Visitors can easily realize that there is at least one temple in every village. These temples are not only the places for monks to live and pray, they also serve as the main centre for social and recreational activities for villagers to hold meetings, festivals and some of religious ceremonies. In big temples in urban areas, they sometimes are shelters for homeless and disadvantaged people. 

Architecture

Lao architecture is a combination of French colonial, Buddhist, traditional Lao and modern architecture influencing by Thailand and other neighboring countries. In rural areas, most of the villagers live in wood houses on stilts. In the recent years, houses in modern style slowly replace traditional houses in urban areas. Nevertheless, minor ethnic communities can still preserve their unique housing in northern mountainous areas featuring houses on the ground with the end of the roof almost touching the ground. 

Lao culture 1Lao's traditional wood houses on stilts. 

Lifestyle

Being one of South East Asia’s countries, most of Laos’ families are extended families and there are up to three to four generations living under the same roof. Everyone in a family share the meals with one another and they eat sitting on the floor.

According to the local people, Laotians don’t have the habit of dropping by a relative or a friend’s house with telling them in advance. So, if you have a Laotian friend as well as living in Lao, don’t be surprised when having a friend stop by without calling.

Lao people are brought up in extended families, thus, they are kind-hearted, patient, generous, socializing and always ready to help each other. 

Privacy is less likely to be valued partly because of their way of living, especially in the countryside everyone knows everyone else’s business.

Etiquette

Laotians greatly emphasize social hierarchy. When greeting a superior, one should clasp hands in a prayerful motion with a slight bow. They call greeting like this is a “nop”. It is best to reply to a nop with a smile or a nod of the head. 

Close body contact in public areas, especially between men and women, is avoided. 

Clothing

Traditional clothing in Lao is one of the ways that Laotians express their pride in their rich traditional costumes culture amongst 49 ethnic groups. The techniques, patterns and materials of traditional clothing vary by families, clans, ethnicities and regions. The costumes also depend on age and gender. For women, they call the silk skirts “Sinh”, blouses and scarves, however, are added to the costumes on special occasions. When wearing traditional clothes, women’s hair is often coiled up and sealed with accessories. 

Lao culture 2Lao's traditional female costume.

Among men, “Salong” is their traditional costume. The big difference between “Salong” and “Sinh” is that they wear big pants or peasant pants on the lower body part. 

Lao culture 3Lao's traditional male costume.

» How interesting Lao culture is, let’s explore deeper into it with us on Luang Prabang City Tour or Vientiane City Tour today!

Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest

Related news

Could not find a suitable trip? Let us help you!

Send us your details: departure dates, trip duration, number of people traveling, your budget and any special requests and we will reply to you within 12 hours with the best tour options for you decide on.

SEND US YOUR REQUEST

Chat with us