Festival alert: On July 5th the Buddhist population of Laos will celebrate Khao Phansa day (Buddhist Lent). The tourism site doesn’t list any activities going on for the day, but if you don’t plan on honoring the holiday just prepare and check for common business closures throughout the country or know what the event is about. The tradition dates back to the time of early Buddhism in ancient India where all holy men, mendicants and sages spent three months of the annual rainy season in permanent dwellings. For more go, here.
pathet – country
The Lao language is closely related to the Isan language used in the northeast region of Thailand and the alphabet resembles the Thai writing system, but has some differences. Wikitravel has an excellent online Lao phrasebook and probably one of the best free web sources you’ll find. Lao Connection also has some of the basics listed in addition to links to language products, fonts, CD’s, and software. Laos Language and Culture Learning Resources out of Northern Illinois University is an extensive guide on folklore, history, arts, literature and of course the lingo!