Although some Asia countries share a lot of similarity in lifestyle and culture, Laos Culture makes it way to be different with others. Lifestyle is one of the most visible features in social and cultural life. As travelling in Laos, you may feel the idyllic lifestyle and close connection between people and nature of people in Laos.
First of all, Laos is an agricultural country with the main manufacturing activity involving Mekong River. Thanks to flat and fertile terrain enriched by Mekong River’s sediment, Lao people 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. A great population of Laos builds their houses near their paddies along the Mekong River. Laotians prefer extended families with three or more generations living under the same roof.
Lao culture is profoundly influenced by Buddhism which put effect on Laotians’ thinking, attitude and behaviors. It can be said that Buddhist philosophies set up the Laotians’ lifestyle. The predominant religion of Theravada Buddhism has influenced extending from lifestyle to art and architecture. This is encountered in ceremonies like the Baci or Sou Khoun (a ceremony to enrich the spirit) and the common practice of alms giving every morning at sunrise.
Laos has at least 49 ethnic groups and each of them preserves their own dialect, customs, culture and tradition. However, because over half the population are ethnic Lao (previously called Lao Loum) this is obviously the most dominant group in Laos and the one that most people encounter as the Laos culture.
Appearance is also very important in Lao society. Conservative dress is always recommended. Visitors shouldn’t come to their country and dress in what the locals deem a disrespectful manners. Be aware also that dreadlocks, tattoos and body-piercing are viewed with disfavour by lowland Lao, although hill-tribe people are usually more accepting. Dressing too casually can also be counterproductive in dealings with Lao authorities, such as when applying for visa extensions at immigration.