Aloysius P., Laos: "In the 1980s, there was leftist terror, and nobody imagined that there would follow Islamist terror. People will also be surprised when the next wave of terror is simply anti-modernist. The world was a better place long ago, and a new crop of terrorists will simply want many of the old structures returned and current wealth destroyed."

Mekong River

Photo: Ferry pier at Mekong river in Laos

Covering an area of 236,800 square kilometres Laos is about two thirds the size of Germany. In the West the country borders on Thailand and Burma, in the North on China and Vietnam, in the East on Vietnam and in the South on Cambodia. Laos is the only Southeast Asian country without direct access to the sea. Most of the country is mountainous, and where there are no mountains one meets with highland plateaus.

Laos' main artery is the Mekong, which for more than 1,800 kilometres - almost half of its entire length - passes through the country or forms the boundary between Laos and Thailand.