Laos: Progress Amid the Potholes

Things are looking up in Laos.

In the streets of Vientiane, flooded after the monsoon rains, endless lines of cars and scooters splash through crowds of small boys swimming in the potholes. Planes land and take off on schedule at the city's busy airport, despite the fact that its six clocks have all stopped. A small factory puffs contentedly away near Luangprabang, distilling opium into heroin. Although only 15% of the population uses money and the country is almost entirely dependent on U.S. aid ($56 million in the past year), business is booming,...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!