What is a 'LAK (Lao Kip)'

LAK is the abbreviation for the currency of Laos, which is known as the Lao Kip.


The LAK is the abbreviation of the Laos dollar, or kip, which is the currency that replaced the former currency of the French Indochinese piastre. The LAK was made up of 100 att, which were printed in France, in denominations of 10, 20 and 50 att. The original 1952 att coins contained holes in the middle, similar in nature to Chinese coins, and they were minted in aluminum. The coins haven’t been in wide circulation in the country since before the fall of the Soviet Union.

The banknote, or paper currency, was originally printed in France, in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 500 kip. The LAK symbols are ₭ and ₭N. Since they originally entered circulation, the Lao Kip has grown to include 200, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000 and 100,000 notes. The most recent addition of the 100,000 note occurred in 2010 and was in commemoration of the 450th anniversary of the founding of the capital of Laos, Vientiane.

The kip has had many names since its introduction in 1946. Before being known as the Lao Kip it was known as the Free Lao Kip, the Royal Kip, the Pathet Lao Kip and the Lao PDR Kip.

A Brief History of Laos

Laos, or Lao People’s Democratic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Asia. Laos was originally colonized by the French in the late 19th century. The country was involved in several wars, including World War II, the Indochina wars and eventually the country’s own civil war. In 1975 Laos moved to a communist rule. Currently the country is a unitary single-party people’s republic, with one legislative house that contains both a president and a prime minister.

The official language of the country is Lao; however, the country is also home to a large population of people who speak French, English and Vietnamese. The country is surrounded by China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar.

Laos experiences a monsoon climate, which means they have both a rainy season and a dry season. The country sees monsoons every year which helps to grow many of the orchids and palms the country is known for. The region is diverse, with some of the mountain ranges experiencing a cooler climate. There are over 200 species of mammals in the country, as well as many amphibians and birds. Due to its challenging regional layout, Laos does not have many major exports to speak of.

With the economic reforms that came after the fall of the Soviet Union, Laos began to develop its economy by opening the country up for tourism. The income brought in by travelers has helped to reduce the country’s debts and decrease their need for international aide.

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