The Lao People's Democratic Republic is a land-locked communist state in southeast Asia. The country traces its origins to the Kingdom of Lan Xang (Land of a Million Elephants) that existed from the 14th to the 18th century.
Geographically, Laos is characterized by rugged mountains and thick forests, with a tropical climate and lots of rain from May to November.
Laos' culture is heavily influenced by Buddhism, including language, temples, art, and literature. But many elements of the culture predate Buddhism, including music that is dominated by the khene, the national instrument that dates back to the Bronze Age.