Frequently asked questions
When is the best time to travel to Laos?
Generally speaking the best time to travel in Laos is when there is a reduced chance of rain, which is during the cool season. There are three distinct seasons: cool from November-February, hot from March-May and the rainy season which last from June-October. Most people find October-February the best time to visit Laos. However, the rainy season offers lush green landscapes. During the cool season day time temperatures range from 18C-25C. In certain regions, especially in the Plain of Jars, temperatures can be much lower.
How do I get to Laos?
By air (international airports):
Vientiane (Wattay) airport
Luang Praban airport
The International airport in Vientiane has regular service from/to Bangkok, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Siem Reap, Phom Penh, Kunming, Taipei, and Chiang Mai.
In Luang Prabang the International airport offers direct flights from/ to Siem Reap, Bangkok, and Chiang Mai.
Lao Airlines serves several domestic destinations in Laos and some regional capitals.
N.B: On these airports you can obtain a visa on arrival (please see visa section)
Airlines serving airports in Laos:
- Vietnam Airlines
- Siem Reap Airlines
- Thai Airways
- Bangkok Airways
- China Southern
- Eva Air
- Lao Airlines
N.B: please click on our 'links page' to view websites of these airlines
By land (international border check points):
+ From China:
- Boten (near Chinese Mengla)
+ From Thailand:
- Ban Houai Xai (close to Thai city Chiang Rai)
+ Friendship Bridge (close to Nong Khai)
- Thakhek (North East of Thailand, Nakhon Phanom)
- Savannakhet (North East of Thailand, Mukdahan)
- Wang Tao (North East, Ubon Ratchathani)
+ From Vietnam:
- Lao Bao (South of Vietnam, Dong Ha)
- Nam Kane (North of Vietnam, Hanoi)
- Nam Phauw (Middle Vietnam, Vinh)
+ From Cambodia:
- Veunkham (near Stung Treng)
What visa requirements are there?
After leaving Laos, your passport should still be valid for another six months. You can obtain a visa for Laos at Lao embassies abroad (please see our 'links page). The visa's gained at these embassy's are valid for 30 days. You can also Get a 'visa on arrival' at any international Lao airport and border check point, for which you need to hand in two passport photographs and costs USD 30. This visa is valid for 15 days. In Vientiane you can extend your 'visa on arrival' for another 15 days. This will cost USD 2 per day. Many tour operators in Vientiane, Luang Prabang and Pakse can handle these renewals for you. If you fail to extend your visa, the border authorities will charge USD 10 for every day overdue.
A few nationalities are allowed traveling in Laos without a visa: citizens of Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand and Cambodia. If you are a citizen of another ASEAN country, you need to check with the Lao embassy in your country whether or not you require a visa to enter Laos.
Before traveling to Laos please check with your physician regarding health precautions. The World Health Organization recommends the following vaccinations: Hepatitis A & B, polio, typhoid, tetanus and diphtheria. If you intend to visit rural areas in Laos, please be aware of the malaria risk. The health care in Laos is very basic.
A great deal of toiletries are available in Laos (e.g. tooth paste, soap, shampoo, sanitary towels). If you are wearing contact lenses, please bring enough cleaning and store liquids along, as they are rare to find.
What clothing should I bring with me?
Light cotton layers of clothing are the best. Some long sleeved shirts and trousers are advisable for several reasons: 1) protection against mosquitoes 2) to warm you during chilly evenings in the period November-February 3) covered clothing is required whilst visiting temples and countryside villages (polite clothing is required). Depending on the season and your activities (traveling in the period November-February and visiting mountainous areas), it is recommendable to bring a jacket or a fleece.
To show respect for the Laotian culture we advise you to wear at least kneelength trousers or skirts. Bare shoulders are not really appreciated.
Please bear in mind that in Laos feet are considered to be the lowest part of the human body, so please take of your shoes before entering a temple or a house.
Packing for your trip
After a booking has been completed, we'll provide you a complete list of clothing and personal gear.
The official currency of Laos is the Lao kip. At present the exchange rate of one US dollar is 10.600 Lao kip (Euro: 12.700 kip). In general all goods and services are paid in kips or dollars (in area's located near the Thai border, the Thai currency 'bath' is also accepted).
Traveler cheques (in US dollar or Euro) can be cashed at banks. Credit cards (Visa, MasterCard's and Amex) are accepted in major hotels and in a very limited number of led shopping places (4 % is charged as a bank fee). In Vientiane you'll find several ATM machines (where you can only withdraw the Lao kip).
Heading towards the countryside it is recommended to carry some cash money along (in small denominations because people have difficulties to give change) as banks are not always available. Torn and old dollar notes are generally not accepted in Laos.
The Laotian kip is non-convertible outside Laos.
Depending on your (foreign) provider, some mobile phones will receive a signal in major towns as Vientiane. But you can also easily purchase a local SIM card. Services for making international telephone calls are widely available. All major tourism centers offer Internet access (rates in Vientiane 1min/100 kip) and some provide chat-web cams.
Laos uses 220 volt AC, 2 pin plugs, 50Hz
Power outlets are common during the rainy season, so bring a flashlight along.
Adapters and transformers are advisable
Comfort level of traveling trough Laos
Some rough/dusty roads. Due to changing internal airline schedule flexibility is required. Sometimes long drives.
The national language is Lao. The English language is widely used and understood in tourism industry. Apart from English, some Lao people also speak German, Russian, and Vietnamese. During the communist regime some Lao people received university training in Eastern Europe. Elderly Lao people may speak French as well, due to the French influence during the colonial years.
Lao food is very similar to the Thai cuisine and offers delightful national staple food such as sticky rice (khao niauw), lap (a meal of minced meat or fish with
lime juice, garlic, onions, mint leaves and chilies) or tam make hung (a spicy
salad made of green papaya's).
Vegetarian or hall food can be found at the widely spread Indian restaurants in Laos.
About 60 % of the people of Laos are Theravada Buddhist.
GMT/UTC plus 7
Dailing country code
Departure airport taxes
On all Lao International airports 10 US per person
To convert Celsius to Fahrenheit
multiply by 1.8 and add 32
To convert meters to feet
multiply by 3.28
To convert kilometers into miles
multiply by 0.62