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Laos: Geography

Geography Laos
Location:
Southeastern Asia, northeast of Thailand, west of Vietnam
Geographic coordinates:
18 00 N, 105 00 E
Map references:
Southeast Asia
Area:
total: 236,800 sq km
water: 6,000 sq km
land: 230,800 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly larger than Utah
Land boundaries:
total: 5,083 km
border countries: Burma 235 km, Cambodia 541 km, China 423 km, Thailand 1,754 km, Vietnam 2,130 km
Coastline:
0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims:
none (landlocked)
Climate:
tropical monsoon; rainy season (May to November); dry season (December to April)
Terrain:
mostly rugged mountains; some plains and plateaus
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Mekong River 70 m
highest point: Phou Bia 2,817 m
Natural resources:
timber, hydropower, gypsum, tin, gold, gemstones
Land use:
arable land: 3.47%
permanent crops: 0.23%
other: 96.3% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
1,640 sq km
note: rainy season irrigation - 2,169 sq km; dry season irrigation - 750 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
floods, droughts
Environment - current issues:
unexploded ordnance; deforestation; soil erosion; a majority of the population does not have access to potable water
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
landlocked; most of the country is mountainous and thickly forested; the Mekong forms a large part of the western boundary with Thailand

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Source: The CIA World Fact Book 2003

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