Notes Of The Lao PDR, Laos Rearmed: 20 Kip (Laos, 1979)-Article

Updated: Feb 13

This small Laotian banknote represents the 4th denomination of the Lao PDR Kip (Series 1979). The PDR Kip was introduced on16 December 1979. As a replacement for the Pathet Lao “Liberation” Kip, which replaced the Royal Kip, in areas under Pathet Lao control (1976-1979). At a exchange rate of 20 “Liberation” Kip to 1 Royal Kip. While the “Liberation” Kip was replaced at a rate of 100:1.

Unlike the previous banknotes of Royal Kip, PDR Kip features only Lao script. As the Pathet Lao saw the French language as a symbol of colonialism. All banknotes of the Series 1979 were retired in 2003. As inflation had caused their value to become impractically low.


The observe features group of soldiers marching by a patrol boat and T-54 tank. The waterway to the right represents the Mekong River. Notably Laos 15 T-54 and 15 upgraded T-55 as aid from the Soviet Union, 1975. These tanks appear to still be in service, as they were featured in a 2019 parade.

As beforementioned all text is printed Lao script, although with standard numerals. The header reads "ສາທາລະນະລັດ ປະຊາທິປະໄຕ ປະຊາຊົນລາວ", translated as the "Lao People's Democratic Republic". At the lower right is the note's serial number, it reads "EA 2743200".

To the left of the note's illustration is the National Emblem of the Lao People's Democratic Republic. This version of the National Emblem replaced the previous Kingdom of Laos Coat of Arms. It remained in use from 1975-1991, becoming revised after the Fall of the Soviet Union. A large red star can be faintly seen printed on the note's surface.

In regards to the observe frame, it resembles traditional stonework. A pair of diamonds can be seen along the sides. They feature number "20"s, representing the note's 20 Kip value.


The reverse depicts workers operating mechanical looms, at a state-owed textile mill. When the Pathet Lao overthrew the monarchy in 1975. A Soviet-style command economy was adopted, based on state enterprises and cooperatives. This was replaced in 1986, by the "New Economic Mechanism". Where state-owned business was gradually replaced private ownership.

The reverse text is fairly simple, yet is surrounded by decorative embellishments. The header reads "ທະນາຄານແຫ່ງ", translated as the "Bank of Laos". There are number "20s" on the upper-right and lower-left, representing the note's value. Along the lower-right is a floral guilloché pattern, it reads "Twenty Kip" in Laotian.

The reverse border takes the form of a creeping floral vine. Notably as the border is printed towards the note's center. It simplifies viewing the full surface watermark. Which features a repeating "Hammer and Sickle" pattern, when back lit.

Lao PDR Kip Gallery

(Gallery contains all banknotes of the 1979 Series)


Additional Notes

  • The note's dimensions are 120 x 60 mm or 4.72 x 2.36 in, smaller than a US Dollar.

  • The preferable method to preserve this note are side-opening protective sleeves, cut to size.

  • The Lao PDR Kip ISO code was LAK, it uses and ₭N as it's symbols.

  • The Kip is subdivide into 100 Att, although inflation has made it's use virtually non-existent.

  • Similar to the Uzbek Som, the Kip retires and adds denominations based on inflation.

  • The lowest commonly accepted denomination is the 500 Kip banknote.

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