If You're Looking To Relax, Try Spiritual Laos On For Size

Laos exudes mellow. While the rest of Southeast Asia seems to be changing and modernizing at break-neck speed, Laos ambles along, taking plenty of breaks along the way.

Weekends are quiet, when many places close their doors, and weekends in Laos may last well into the next week – no one is in a hurry and almost anyone will take the time to chat with you. Laos is one of the least industrialized countries in the world. Towns are few and far between. There are few paved roads and even fewer bridges – a detour of a 100 miles, in lieu of one well-placed bridge, is common here.

Although Vientiane has perked up a bit in the past few years, businesses still shut down around mid-day, when the city closes her eyes for a few hours. This is not to say that Laotians are lazy – they're not. They are a practical people with a different set of priorities than their more "industrious" neighbors. Kindness is more important than competition; fun more important than finance; harmony more important than willfulness. Life moves with the rhythm of the day and the seasons rather than the rigid strictures of the business cycle.

Our choice for lifestyle here in Laos is the capital, Vientiane.

Vientiane feels like little more than a large town. With a population of about 740,000, there are no skyscrapers here, no malls or hustle and bustle...But there are outstandingly beautiful Buddhist temples, lively markets, museums, and a fine assortment of local and international cuisines.

There's also a scattering of older French-colonial buildings still stand, a reminder of a time not so long ago when Laos was a French colony. For those looking for a truly rewarding and unique retirement, Vientiane and its surroundings have a lot to offer. Nestled in the nearby mountains, beautiful waterfalls, venerable temples, exotic wildlife, and remote hill-tribe villages await those who have come to Laos with the luxury of time to explore the less-traveled reaches of this area.

Our suggestion? Go now – before Laos experiences the boom that is engulfing the rest of Southeast Asia.

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Population  6,477,211 (July 2011 est.)
Gross Domestic  Product (GDP) $15.69 billion (2010 est.)
GDP Per Capita $2,500 (2010 est.)
Inflation Rate 5.7% (2010 est.)
Currency kips (LAK)
Exchange Rate Versus U.S. Dollar  8,320.27 (2010) kips (LAK) per US dollar -
Language Lao (official), French, English, various ethnic languages
Population of Capital City 799,000 (2009)
Time Zone UTC/GMT +7 hours
Seasons Wet and dry  (wet season runs from around May to October)
International Dialing Code 856
Electricity 230V, 50 Hz
System of Government Communist state
Name and Party Affiliation of Current Leader chief of state: President Lt. Gen. CHOUMMALI Saignason (since 8 June 2006)
Income Tax Rate for Residents Income tax is levied at progressive rates from 5% to 25% 
Property Tax Vary depending on the location and the type of the land.Is levied at annual rates per square meter. 
Capital Gains Tax Income tax is levied on capital gains derived from selling real property. 
Inheritance Tax No
Rental Income Tax 15%
Transfer Tax immaterial amount - depending on type of property- based on the sales price aprox. 2.4%
Sales Tax 10%
Restrictions on Foreign Ownership of Property Laos law stipulates that foreign citizens may not own land
Local Chamber of Commerce http://www.laocci.com/
American Chamber of Commerce http://www.amchamvietnam.com/organization/540/detail
Primary Exports wood products, coffee, electricity, tin, copper, gold
Residency and Visa Requirements Tourist Visas (B3) - Upon arrival now into Lao you receive a 1 month tourist visit for $35, this however is easily extended to 3 months but a visit to the immigration department
Special Benefits for  Foreign Residents or Retirees No
National Airline www.laoairline.com