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Dok Champa – The Lao national flower

  • By The Easia Travel Team
  • November, 06, 2018

Dok Champa – or also known as Frangipaniis a waxy flower with a sweet scent and the national flower of Lao PDR.  It is the official symbol of Laos and can be found all around the country. Botanicals might know the Dok Champa (dok = flower in Lao language, Champa = the name Frangipani in Lao language) under its deciduous plant species Plumeria Rubra which is normally a white flower with a yellow center (Plumeria Obstusa). But you can also find it in red, yellow and pink. The Frangipani is a tree that can often be found in the tropics and can be easily propagate in warm and humid areas. With a long flowering period, the flower’s scent resembles crushed orange blossoms and verrain leaves.

In Southeast Asia the most common species is the Plumeria Obstusa. In Laos, the Dok Champa stands for sincerity, luck and for the joy in life. But where does the name Dok Champa comes from? One theory is that the flower was brought by the Cham people since Cham stands for the Cham people. The meaning of Pa however means to leave or abandon in Lao Language. In combination, they mean the flower that was left by the Cham people. From historical evidence, the presence of Dok Champa dates from the 5th century, back to the time when the Kingdom of Champa reign in the South of Laos. Since then, the flower was planted everywhere and has later become the national emblem of Laos. Also today, the flower can be found in daily Lao life and also plays an important role in a lot of religious ceremonies such as for the Baci ceremony or during Lao New Year (Pi Mai) where the flowers are mixed with water to be used as religious water and is poured over Buddha statues.

Moreover, you can also find the trees at temples, pagodas and monasteries. One famous example is temple site of Vat Phu. The UNESCO World Heritage Site situated in the South of Laos is a Khmer temple complex and the oldest archaeological sites in Laos. The Dok Champa tree can be found all over the temple site and exudes an exceptionally sweet, floral scent.

As an official symbol of Laos, Dok Champa is also used as a trademark for many products like washing powder, cakes and on all the aircraft of Lao Airlines. Also, it is an inspirational source for artists, singers and painters. In the 20th century, a song about the Champa flower has been composed by Maha Phoumy Chittaphong and Outtama Choulamany which is now one of the most known songs in the country.

To experience more about the National Flower of Laos, Easia Travel recommends your travelers trying out the “Traditional Baci Ceremony at a local home in Luang Prabang”, the “Workshop to create your own traditional Lantern in Sa Paper” or visit  “The Vat Phu” in Champasak.  For more information about this or other activities, please contact


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