Laos Travel Guide

Often overlooked on the SEA tourist trail, those who come looking are in for a real treat. Not only is it a great bang for your buck but there are plenty of awesome things to do as well. The original lazy river, spend your days winding down the Mekong and really taking in the tranquility and beauty of this lovely country. 

Photo by Jesse Schoff on Unsplash

Photo by Jesse Schoff on Unsplash

Things to Consider

Photo by Mockaroon on Unsplash

Photo by Mockaroon on Unsplash

Best time to travel Laos 

Monsoon season runs from May to October with humid temps and a few hours of showers. 

Dry season is from November to April with milder temps but the south can get hotter. November and December still see rivers higher from monsoon season making it ideal for all the water activities 

The highlands can get chilly at night at any time of the year so don’t forget to pack a jacket

Burning season takes place in the north from March to monsoon season in May in which the air quality is very poor and uncomfortable to be in

United Nations on Unsplash

United Nations on Unsplash

Covid-19 Updates

Visa exemptions have been revoked so those countries that previously were allowed to enter without a visa will now need to get in touch with their embassy for more info. Those entering the country must have a health certificate from a medical professional no more than 72 hours prior to arrival. All international arrivals will be tested and quarantine for 14 days. 

Thai border crossings have been temporarily closed (except to those returning home).  

Jason Leung on Unsplash

Jason Leung on Unsplash

Money

Official currency: ₭ or ₭N Laos Kip

Budget: Like the rest of SEA Laos is a great budget destination. $5-10 USD for accomodation (if you’re with others get a room and split it rather than going dorms) and fans are obviously cheaper than rooms with AC. Drinks can be from $1-3 USD and most activities aren’t going to break the bank either allowing a comfortable daily budget of around $15 – $20 per day but easily less and obviously with plenty of upgrade options. 

Credit cards:  Hotels and some restaurants or tour operators will take cards (usually with a fee) but cash is usually preferred. Don’t ever exchange at the airport. My usual preferred method is using my ATM fee free card to take straight from the ATM avoiding conversion rates at all.  

Calvin Hanson on Unsplash

Calvin Hanson on Unsplash

Where to go 

Suggested itineraries for traveling Laos

ConvertKit on Unsplash

ConvertKit on Unsplash

Visas

Yes. Only some points of entry allow visa on arrival. Check with your government for more information. 15 countries are visa exempt. 

**Always check with your government for the most up to date information on visa requirements.**

Sara Bakhshi Unsplash

Sara Bakhshi Unsplash

Vaccines

None

**Recommendations are given assuming you are up to date on routine vaccinations. Always check with your government for the most accurate and up to date information on required vaccinations for Laos travel specific to your country**

Anika Mikkelson on Unsplash

Anika Mikkelson on Unsplash

Safety 

Exercise Normal Precautions

**Always check with your government for the most accurate and up to date information on safety**

Elephant tourism - DO NOT RIDE

Responsible Tourism

Know before you go so you can be the most respectful and responsible visitor possible

Things to keep in mind when traveling Laos:

  • Make sure you’re giving your business to the locals – from home stays and restaurants to guides and souvenirs   
  • DON’T RIDE ELEPHANTS! Elephants are some of the most intelligent creatures on this planet. Because of both their size and intelligence they have been used for labor as well as entertainment. To train then, they are beaten into submission using a variety of tactics and their spirits are broken down until they are left a shell of their former selves. Used in logging and performing for the entertainment of humans the truth behind all elephant tourism is devastating.
  • Avoid Chinese medicine with endangered animal products as well as meat that is not sustainable 
  • Talk to the locals and learn about their country from their perspective, you’ll walk away with a greater understanding of both the country and the people that make it
Laos travel - Luang Prabang

Basic Info

Capital: Vientiane

Official Languages: Lao

Plugs: American/Japanese plugs and European plugs but bring an adapter just in case since you don’t always know which you’ll get

A Closer Look