Buddhism has had a significant influence on Lao lifestyle, which affects Laotian’s thinking, attitude, and behaviors. It can be said that Buddhist philosophies set up the Laotians’ lifestyle.
Firstly, Laos is an agricultural country with the main manufacturing activity involving Mekong River. Due to limited natural resources, Lao people take advantage of nature very well. Lao people utilise its flat and fertile terrain enriched by Mekong River’s sediment to cultivate wet rice, setting up wet rice one-thousand-year civilization.
Besides, fishing on Mekong River is also an important source of income for many Laotians. Gently sloping hill along the Mekong River are also utilized to grow rice, corn, and vegetables. Moreover, Lao people are quite good at co-operating the exploitation of forest resources and reforestation.
Laotians most live in extended families with three or sometimes more generations under the same roof. The family cooks and eats together sitting on the floor with sticky rice and dishes shared by all. Laotians usually pay a visit unexpectedly at meal time without letting you know in advance, so don’t be surprised if you live or work in Laos. Also, invitations to parties and weddings are often only issued before a day when events happen and the host is sometimes surprised that others need to be informed to arrange their schedules.
Secondly, Lao people live a simple life. You may feel their idyllic lifestyle and close connection between people and nature in Laos. Lao people live in stilt house at aim of avoiding water rise high in rainy season of Mekong River as well as keeping their castle under their house.
Lao people prefer living in a community. Therefore, they formed villages in which people keep close connection with their neighbours. People in a community share the common responsibility and are ready to help each other in need.
Thirdly, Laotians are truly emotional people. It is strongly proved in their language when many words rooted from “chai” (means Heart) such as khao chai (to understand is to enter the heart), souk chai (to be happy), chai bolisud (to be honest is to have a pure heart). They are truly and extremely warm-hearted, tolerant, and socialized people. Interestingly,
Laotians have rich sense of humour, perhaps one of richest. Laotians love “small talk”, they love listening to petty things in others’ lives. Tourists will be encouraged to talk with Laotians because they will make their trips becoming more interesting with their “funny stories” in social life.
Finally, Lao residents show their respect of acceptance. Things are as they are and should be and not worth trying and changing this inevitability. Lao people are responsible for themselves. There is no need for discussion or confrontation. They accept everything coming to their lives even it is good or bad.
Overall, Mekong River and community spirit have made up of the two most outstanding characteristics of Lao people. Travelling along Mekong River, observing simple and peaceful life of locals and feeling the close connection between local people and nature will give tourists great travel experience.