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Destination
Laos

Why Laos?

For everything Laos can offer you and your team, its slogan, “Simply Beautiful,” comes across as much too humble. Still relatively untouched by mass tourism, Laos will give you the opportunity to enjoy its natural splendor as an explorer might. From the likes of the amazing Kuang Sy waterfalls to dining on the Mekong Delta, Laos not only shows off its natural beauty, but a deep and storied cultural history, as well. Night markets, a cave full of Buddha statues, and special dancing ceremonies will draw you and your travelers into the heart of this vibrant country.

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Champassak

Champassak is a small town situated in southern Laos, almost 40 km to the south of Pakse.  Champasak was once, 1400 years ago, the centre of power in the lower Mekong basin, later a revered outpost of the Khmer Angkor empire and later still one of the three kingdoms to rule over the remains of Lane Xang.

Vat Phou, the ancient Khmer temple complex, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, is the main attraction in the area, but there is much more to be discovered. It is worth staying in the charming town of Champasak where you can discover French colonial buildings, Buddhist temples, or simply enjoy an evening in the Shadow Puppet Theatre.

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Travel Types
Classic, Family Travel
Best time to visit
November to March
Suggest activities
Explore the landmarks, hiking, cycling.
Nearest Airport
Pakse International Airport

Muang Ngoy (Muang Ngoi)

Muang Ngoy is a small riverside village in Northern Laos where it remains a low-key destination in a stunning location. Hidden on a plain beside the river Nam Ou, which is one of the rivers which have the most fish, there are approximately 1000 inhabitants which make it one of the largest villages in the region. Accessible only by river, Muang Ngoi is very much appreciated by visitors looking for tranquility, serenity and peace.

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Best time to visit
November to March
Travel Types
Classic, Family Travel, Sustainable
Transportation
By boat
Suggest activities
Visit the villages, hiking

Muang La

Muang La is a small charming town in the heart of northern Laos in Oudomxay Province, With only around 1,000 inhabitants, the village has maintained its local character and culture, and there are also a number of different hill tribe villages dotted throughout the rolling green hills,  a wonderful place to learn about Laos’ ethnic minorities, with Akha, Hmong and Ikhos tribe villages located in the surrounding mountains. This area is brimming with natural beauty and charm, ideal for a peaceful holiday.

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Best time to visit
November to March
Travel Types
River cruising, trekking, biking, visiting hot springs.
Nearest Airport
Oudom Xay Airport
Suggest activities
Explore the landmarks, cycling, trekking, kayaking

Nong Khiaw

150km up north Luang Prabang on the road # 13, the peaceful village of Nong Khiaw (also called Mouang Ngoi Khoua) has itself Pristine river beauty, dramatic landscape changes, unrivaled karst scenery. This village is about 4000 inhabitants, and developed around the bridge that straddles the Nam Ou River, one of the most historically pure rivers of Laos and home to fish and crayfish reputed in the region. The karst landscapes where the rocky peaks abound are beautiful. You will find a relatively unspoiled nature, waterfalls, and a river Nam Ou where fishing is obviously practiced, and a great place to experiment kayaking.

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Best time to visit
November to February
Travel Types
Classic
Transportation
By car, boat
Suggest activities
Explore the landmarks, cycling, trekking, kayaking

Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang is the ancient, capital city of the Lane Xang Kingdom. In recognition of the city’s vast array of Lao monuments, countless monasteries, and its historic and cultural significance, UNESCO declared all of Luang Prabang a World Heritage Site in 1995. The city itself is located at the meeting point of the Khan and Mekong Rivers and is surrounded by deep green hills and waterfalls. The view over dozens of temple rooftops from the hill in the center of town, at sunset, will undoubtedly be an unforgettable memory of Southeast Asia. Moreover, Luang Prabang provides many opportunities for unique cultural experiences, as well as adventure for all levels of explorers, all nestled in a picturesque landscape of mountains and lush forest.

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Travel Types
Classic, Honeymoon, Family Travel, Art & Culture
Best time to visit
From October to mid-April
Easia Companions

Villa Maly

My Dream Boutique

Suggest itinerary

Gems of Laos

Luang Namtha

Located in the northern part of Laos, Luang Namtha shares borders with Myanmar and China. The province is mountainous and home to several ethnic minorities, giving travelers great trekking and cultural contact opportunities. The various ethnic groups – Khamu, Akha, Hmong, and Yao (Mien), Tai Lue, Thai Neua and Thai Dam – tend to live in villages just outside the protected areas and the historic town of Muang Sing. Luang Namtha also boasts picturesque and numerous ancient temples.

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Travel Types
Classic
Best time to visit
From October to mid-April
Transportation
By car, airway
Nearest Airport
Luang Namtha Airport

Hinboun

Part of the Khammounane province, located approximately 3 hours from the capital, the Hinboun Valley is renowned for its karstic mountain formations stretching as far as the eye can see, and boasts one of the most splendid natural landscapes in Laos. Divided by the River Hinboun, from which its name is derived, the region is, first and foremost, exalted for its impressive ‘Konglor Cave.’ With 8 kilometres of galleries, which can only be reached by boat, and some of which are 80 meters high in places, visiting Konglor feels, and indeed is, more like a genuine exploration of the unknown than a mere touristic “cave tour.”

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Travel Types
Classic, Family Travel, Sustainable
Best time to visit
All year round
Suggest itinerary

Immersion in Laos

Nearest Airport
Nakhon Phanom Airport

Pakse

The former French administrative outpost of the Champasak province is located right at the meeting point of the Mekong and the Sedon Rivers. From Pakse, you can travel through the lush, fertile Boloven Plateau and discover the cultivation of rice, coffee, cardamom, and bananas, as well as several spectacular waterfalls, including the 120-meter-high Tat Phan cascade. Travel another 46 kilometers south of Pakse to visit Vat Phou, one of the most important sights in Laos. Literally meaning “Mountain Temple,” Vat Phou is a multi-level structure built along the slope of the adjacent mountain, dating back to the Angkor period from the 9th to 13th century CE. The upper platform of the temple affords a wonderful view of the Mekong plains – one that simply shouldn’t be missed.

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Travel Types
Classic, Family Travel
Best time to visit
From October to mid-April
Suggest itineraries

Cycling trek in southern Laos

Gems of Laos

Easia Companion

La Folie Lodge

Bolaven Plateau

Located in the northeastern region of the Champasak Province in southern Laos, the Bolaven Plateau has an impressive altitude ranging from 3380 and 4430 feet.  Its name refers to the Lavaens ethnic group, who used to inhabit the region. Nowadays, the Plateau welcomes many ethnic communities, such the Alak and Tahoyor Suay. Enjoying a temperate climate and very fertile soil, the Plateau is renowned for its tea and coffee plantations; the latter produces coffee that’s considered one of the finest types worldwide.

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Travel Types
Classic, Family Travel, Sustainable
Best time to visit
During dry season, from October to June
Transportation
By car
Suggest itinerary

Cycling trek in southern Laos

Capital: Vientiane

The capital city of Laos, with 750,000 inhabitants, Vientiane is located on the left bank of the Mekong River, which marks the border with Thailand. Often considered the ‘largest village in Asia,’ Vientiane is, in fact, not a major touristic site. Its attractions are mostly Buddhist monasteries and a few monuments from the French colonial era, such as the famous Patuxai, popularly called Vientiane’s “Arc de Triomphe”.

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Travel Types
Classic, Family Travel, Art & Culture, Gastronomy, Wellness
Best time to visit
From October to mid-April
Easia Companions

Ansara Hotel

Salana Boutique

Suggest itineraries

Gems of Laos

Peaceful Laos just for 2

Plain of Jars – Xieng Khoang

Located in northern Laos, the province of Xieng Khouang is host to beautiful landscapes of lush, green mountains and karst limestone, but the main attraction in Xieng Khouang is doubtlessly the jaw-dropping Plain of Jars. Stone jars of various sizes, mysterious and apparently carved out of solid rocks, are scattered all over the plateau, with the biggest one reaching a staggering height of 3.25 meters. Researchers have long speculated as to the function of the stone jars, which are estimated to be 2,500 to 3,000 years old, but debate still rages to this day, making it all the more mystical to wander among the jars of giants.

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Travel Types
Classic, Art & Culture
Best time to visit
From October to mid-April
Nearest Airport
Xieng Khouang Airport
Transportation
By car

Si Phan Don

Located at the country’s southernmost point, the Si Phan Done region – literally “the region of the four thousand islands” – is a series of islets on the Mekong River. The river indeed spreads over more than 14 kilometers in width at this point, forming a river archipelago and branches, before flowing into the Khon Phaphenga Falls at the Cambodian border. Two islands -Khong Island and Don Khon Island -enjoy greater notoriety, due to their size and the hotel offerings exclusively centered there. The entire region also offers magnificent landscapes to be discovered aboard a local wooden boat or on a trek over the Khong Island. This region is even home to freshwater dolphins, which will certainly add a touch of exoticism and whimsy to your trip.

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Travel Types
Classic, Honeymoon, Family Travel, Cruise, Sustainable
Best time to visit
All year round
Suggest activities
Exploring nature, cycling
Suggest itineraries

Immersion in Laos

Serenity and wellness in Laos

Pakbeng

Still almost entirely unknown to tourism 10 years ago, this small, traditional village, nestled on the left bank of the Mekong River, has become a wildly popular destination. Halfway between Huay Xai (located on the Northern border with Thailand) and Luang Prabang, Pakbeng offers travelers on river cruises the opportunity of spending a night on the banks of the mythical Mekong River. The town is currently being connected to Oudomxay by road, making it easier than ever to explore this extreme, northern region of Laos, where many ethnic communities live.

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Best time to visit
All year round
Travel Types
Classic, Cruise
Suggest activities
boat touring, food tasting, walking, visiting a local village
Easia Companions

Le Grand Pak Beng

Thakhek

Capital city of the Khammouane province, Thakhek is located in south-central Laos, halfway between Vientiane and the Champasak provinces. Formerly an important administrative and trading platform under French occupation, Thakhek still boasts the remains of former colonial houses and wide avenues typical of this era, which make it a big draw for architecture and history lovers. In addition to this, its geographic location makes it a necessary stopover for travelers looking to discover the central-southern region of Laos by land.

MORE INFORMATION

Travel Types
Classic
Best time to visit
From October to mid-April
Suggest itinerary

Immersion in Laos

Nearest Airport
Thakhek Airport

Vang Vieng

Located on Route 13, between Luang Prabang and Vientiane, and right on the banks of the River Nam Song, the Vang Vieng region and the karstic mountain ranges surrounding it offer splendid landscapes to admire. Enjoying a strong potential in terms of adventure tourism (kayaking, rock-climbing, trekking), Vang Vieng is a very popular destination with true ‘backpackers,’ and in the last few years, has become a party destination, renowned across Southeast Asia. The city itself is dotted with bars and other party venues, where alcohol abounds. Vang Vieng is therefore a destination reserved for travelers running between Vientiane and Luang Prabang, and searching for wild and carefree adventure set among beautiful, exotic landscapes.

MORE INFORMATION

Best time to visit
during dry season, from October to mid-April
Travel Types
Classic, Family Travel,
Suggest activities
Sightseeing, kayaking, zipline, climbing
Transportation
By car

Quick facts

Neighbor : Myanmar and China to the Northwest, Vietnam to the East, Cambodia to the South, and Thailand to the West
Area : 236 800 km².
Population: 7,014,451 (January, 2019)
Ethnic groups : 55% Lao, 11% Kamu, 8% Hmong, 26 % Others
Official Religion : Buddhism (67 %).
Capital : Vientiane
Spoken Language : Lao or Laotian is a tonal language of the Tai–Kadai language family. It is the official language of Laos, and also spoken in the northeast of Thailand, where it is usually referred to as the Isan language
Currency: Kip ($1 = 8,512.70 Laotian Kip– January 2019)

Visa & travel permissions

Getting a Lao visa is easy and much easier than before. As well as getting a visa for PDR of Laos through usual channels at embassies or consulates, at Embassies or Consulates, travelers of most nations can obtain their Lao visa upon arrival – at the international airports of Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Pakse, Savannakhet as well as at various border crossing points with neighboring countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and China.
Travelers holding passports from the following countries are not eligible for a Laos visa on arrival: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Burundi Cameroon, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea Bussau, Jordan, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Mozambique, Nauru, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Suriname, Syria, Swaziland Tonga, Turkey, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Passport holders from these countries need to apply for a Laos Visa at the Embassies prior to their visit.
Passport holders from Japan, Republic of Korea, Russia, Luxembourg and Switzerland can enter Laos with a visa exemption.
There are 2 options to choose from to obtain a visa for Laos.
1. Direct international arrival at Vientiane and Luang Prabang
The visa is then valid for 30 days and may be extended for a further 15 days only through a travel agency in Vientiane.
Required documents.

  • The visa request form, available before arrival
  • 1 photo, taken within 6 months
  • Up to 45 USD in cash depending on the nationality
    • France: USD 30
    • Germany: USD 30
    • USA: USD 35
    • Switzerland: no Visa needed for a stay of 15 days
    • Italy: USD 35
    • Spain: USD 35

Time for delivery: between 10 and 40 minutes depending on the number of people requesting it.
Please note that on weekends (Saturday and Sunday) and Laos’ public holidays, $1 is added to the fee.
2. Directly from a Lao embassy abroad before departure.
The visa is valid for 30 days.
Requested documents:

  • The visa request form, available before departure
  • 1 photo of less than 6 months
  • Up to 45 US Dollars in cash depending on the nationality
    • France: USD 30
    • Germany: USD 30
    • USA: USD 35
    • Switzerland: no Visa needed for a stay of 15 days
    • Italy: USD 35
    • Spain: USD 35

Notes:

  • Your passport must be valid for six months beyond the intended stay with at least 1 empty page for visa stamp.

Best time to visit

Access & Transportation

TRAVELING WITHIN LAOS
International Airport-Laos has 4 international airports.

  • Wattay International Airport in Vientiane Capital has flights to/from Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Ha Noi, Ho Chi Minh City, Vinh, Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Seoul, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Kunming, Guangzhou.
    Located 5 km outside of the city center. The transfer from the city center to the airport takes around 15 minutes.
    The airport is currently expanding in order to reach international standard.
  • Luang Prabang International Airport in Luang Prabang has flights to/from Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Ha Noi, Siem Reap, Singapore, Kunming, Guangzhou.
    Located 3 km from the city center. The transfer from the city center to the airport takes around 10 minutes
    The airport has been recently renovated and upgraded to reach international standards.
  • Savanakhet International airport in Savanakhet has flights from Bangkok.
    Located 2 km from the city center. The transfer from the city center to the airport takes around 10 minutes
    The airport is quite small and basically equipped
  • Pakse International Airport in Champassak has flights from Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City and Siem Reap.
    Located around 4 km from city center. The transfer from the city center to the airport takes around 15 minutes transfer
    The airport is small and simply equipped.

Domestic airport: there are some popular airports for domestic routes such as Houai Xay, Oudomxay, Luang Namtha, Xieng Khouang, Xayabury where regular flights from Vientiane Capital are operating.

  • Airport service: There are few services at the airport terminal with small restaurants/cafes for food and beverage but with a limited selection.
  • Air Company:
    • Lao Airlines is the flag carrier of Laos. It has domestic as well as international flights to countries such as Cambodia, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and Korea.Laos Central Airline is a private company which operates one domestic route Vientiane – Luang Prabang and one international route Vientiane – Bangkok.
    • Vietnam Airlines, Thai Airway, Bangkok Airways, Air Asia, China Eastern Airlines, and Jin Airlines have some international routes from/to Vientiane and Luang Prabang to/from big cities in Asia, e.g. Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Kunming, Nanning, Changsha, Changzhou, Guangzhou, Seoul Busan, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Siem Reap.

There is no direct route from Europe to Laos.

BAGGAGE REGULATIONS
Baggage allowance on domestic flights with Lao Airlines is limited to 20 kg. Each passenger can carry onboard a free baggage allowance (one piece for Economy class passengers). Each piece has a maximum weight of 7kg and the sum of three dimensions shall not exceed 115 cm (30 cm x 60 cm x 18 cm) or (12 x 24 x 7 inches). Airlines companies may refuse to carry unchecked baggage and may require the passenger to check their baggage if it exceeds the quantity, weight and dimensions as specified above.
AIRPORT TAXES
The domestic airport tax and the international airport tax are included in the air ticket and don’t need to be paid at the airport when checking in.

TRANSPORT & TRANSFER IN LAOS

Because of its mountainous topography and the lack of development, the infrastructure in Laos is generally less developed than in neighboring countries but it has some reliable transportation routes which link Northern Laos with Central and Southern Laos.

The Mekong and Nam Ou Rivers are the popular natural channels suitable for large-draft boat transportation. Laotians in lowland villages located on the banks of smaller rivers have traditionally traveled in pirogues for fishing, trading, and visiting up and down the river.

As a result of ongoing improvements in the road system which started during the early 1990s, more and more roads are being constructed or renovated to reach the country’s development request and the need of local people.

Some local methods of transportation are the tuktuk, Songthew or Samlor (3 wheel motorbike) but there are also many places to rent a bicycle or motorbike. Taxi services are not popular and quite expensive in Laos.

Other modes of travel, such as minivan, bus, air and cruise trips, are available for long journeys.

Since Laos has been attracting more and more tourists in recent years, new and better transfer methods have increased significantly. Besides travelling by air, Easia Travel can arrange further kinds of transfers as detailed below:

BUSES

  • Bus 45s: The Hyundai Aero Space is a very reliable bus with all modern comforts and high standards. The 45-seater is the biggest version which is used for up to 36 passengers to ensure maximum comfort. The bus has a high tech air conditioner and the seats are suitable for Western clients.
  • Bus 35s: This type of bus offers great comfort. It can accommodate up to 20 travelers. Most of the buses have electronic devices such as CD Player and microphone.
  • Bus 25s: The two brands for 25-seater buses in Laos are Hyundai and Toyota. The 25-seater bus is a good choice for short and long transfers with a group of maximum 12 people. The bus offers enough space for luggage.

CARS

  • Minivans of 09s are mostly produced in South Korea, the Hyundai Starex is the most popular car used for individual guests in Laos. This 9-seater van is suitable for 01 to 04 people with a guide and driver.
  • Minivan of 15s: this is a 15-seater Toyota Hiace mini-van which is very common in Laos. It is suitable for 05 to 07 travelers with luggage (maximum 9 pax. without luggage). It can be used for either short unpaved tours or long distance tours with good road.

DAILY BOAT

A cruise trip on the Mekong River from Houai Xay to Luang Prabang via Pakbeng (02D/01N) (03D/02N upon request) is a popular route for travelers. There are different choices for your budget, from local cruise to luxury one.

Other short trips by local boat are: boat on Nam Ou river (from Muang Khua to Muang Ngoi or Nongkhiaw), boat on Nam Song river (in Vang Vieng), boat from Don Khong to Don Khone (in 4000 island area)… These are also very popular and highly appreciated.

OVERNIGHT CRUISE

There are 2 suppliers who provide overnight cruises on the Mekong River

  1. Mekong cruise is a professional and high-end supplier who offers 2 luxury cruises:
  • Mekong sun: operates cruise trips in the northern part of the Mekong River from the Golden Triangle to Luang Prabang town
  • Mekong Pearl: operates cruise trips from Vientiane to the Golden Triangle, passing through Luang Prabang town.
  1. Vat Phou cruise operates a 03D/02N trip in the southern part from Pakse to the 4000 island area.

You can contact your tour operator to get further information on departure times and tour details.

Tuktuk: TukTuk is one of the most popular means of transportation in Laos. This is also a tourist’s favorite way to discover the city or for a short transfer.

Dos & Don’ts

When visiting Laos, there are some customs and beliefs that travelers should be aware of before coming to the country in order to avoid offending any of the locals.
Here are some helpful hints to keep in mind while visiting:

  • A formal greeting for most Lao people is the “Nop” (joining one’s hands together in a praying gesture at chin level). Handshakes are also commonly used among male friends and with foreign visitors.
  • The Lao word for “hello” is “Sabai dee”, say it with a smile and you will be well received. The head is considered high. It is not acceptable to touch Lao people’s heads, so bear that in mind.
  • Dress neatly, keep quiet and take photos without flash and not too close when you observe the monks’ alms giving in the early morning.
  • Dress neatly when visiting religious shrines or temples.
  • It is OK to wear shoes if you just walk around a temple compound, but don’t forget to remove them before entering the chapel.
  • At some temples, women in pants or short skirts are required to put on a Lao skirt (Sinh) as another layer before entering the place. Lao skirts are usually provided or available for rent on spot (if this is required).
  • Don’t hesitate to take photos of local people but you should ask them for permission or give them a smile before doing it.
  • Feet are low. Placing them on furniture or pointing at things or people with your feet is not acceptable.
  • Despite the heat, Lao/Laotians dress conservatively. If you don’t want to be a “black sheep” dress neatly and moderately (don’t show too much skin) or you’ll get strange looks from the locals.
  • Personal cleanliness is valued highly in Laos. Anyone who has strong body odor tends to get disgusting looks.
  • Before entering a Lao person’s home, take your shoes off and leave them outside the house or on stairs.
  • It is polite to gently crouch down when walking past someone who is seated, especially elderly people
  • Lao people usually serve water to guests arriving at their home, it is polite to accept it even if you don’t want to drink (you don’t have to drink it).
  • In offices, never place your feet on a desk while sitting on a chair, that’s very impolite. Some foreign specialists/advisors have been thrown out doing this, so be especially careful if you come to work here.
  • In a Lao gathering, keep a low profile and you will maximize your chances of social success in Laos.
  • Most Lao people swim in rivers or waterfalls with at least shorts and a T-shirt. It is more polite to do this rather than walk around in swimsuits or bikinis. Also, if you are in the country and have to bathe in the river in the evening, women should wear a sarong.
  • You might find it hard to communicate with locals if you don’t speak Lao especially in the countryside where people sometimes speak in their Ethnic language and not often speak English. If things don’t quite work the way you expect, remember to keep your cool, don’t lose your temper or raise your voice. It won’t help you, it will only make you look bad.
  • Learn some basic Lao phrases and practice them with the locals you meet, they will be impressed and you will be well received.

Money & budget

Laos’ currency is called KIP, pronounced “kip”. Bills that represent Kip are broken down into 500; 1000; 2000; 5000; 10 000; 20 000; 50 000 and 100 000 KIP denominations. Please be aware that the KIP is a non-convertible currency and cannot officially be exchanged abroad. The official exchange rate in Laos is around 8,512.70 Laotian Kip for USD 1 (January 2019).
Foreign currencies such as US Dollars, Euros, Thai Baht, Australia Dollars are popularly accepted in Laos to be exchanged into KIP and tourists are entitled to exchange easily money at the current market rate at the banks, airport or at any licensed money changer. The presentation of your passport is sometimes requested. Please ask your tour guide for assistance in case you need.
It is advised to bring new and undamaged bills. Exchange places and banks recently started to charge 15-30% to deal with damaged/old/stamped bills. Also, exchange rates can vary depending on your denomination.

CREDIT CARDS AND ATMS

The network of ATM machines covers the most visited cities in Laos by tourists and business travelers. The maximum amount per withdrawal is 1,500,000/time and maximum 7,000,000/day. The ATMs can charge a fee of 25 000 KIP (subject to change) or equivalent for each transaction. Some visa cards are restricted by the issuing bank for overseas use and therefore, customers may require seeking the approval of the issuing bank in order to do so.

Credit Cards are widely accepted by local suppliers in big cities (such as Luang Prabang and Vientiane), usually high-end hotels or shops, however they usually entail a 2.5-3% surcharge. In others, the use of cash is more popular and recommended.

TRAVELLER CHECKS

Traveler checks are rarely accepted by local suppliers so we do not recommend you to use it in Laos.

BARGAINING

In Laos, you are expected to bargain. Do so freely but respectfully. Keep a smile on your face, be realistic about the expected discount and if the vendor does not reach your final price do not push him or her too hard.

TIPPING

Tipping was unknown in Laos until tourists started coming to the shores. These days, people such as boat men, drivers, and hotel-restaurant staff have grown accustomed to get a tip from tourists. The same goes for tour guides.

Sometimes, when visiting pagodas and monasteries, you might be asked to make a donation. It is up to you whether to do or not. The people of Laos are usually generous to the extent their finances allow. The amount depends on you but it might be around 10, 000 – 20, 000 KIP.

Here is a general rule of thumb for tipping:

Guides:

  • About $5-$7 per day per person for a national guide.
  • About $3-$5 per day per person for a local guide
  • Drivers (car and boat): $2 per person per day is average.
  • Porters: 10,000 KIP per bag person/per day is sufficient.

Health

If you travel to Laos, make sure that all of your vaccinations are up to date and that you are vaccinated for Tetanus, Polio and Diphtheria. Other vaccines recommended include Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B (if you are in-country for over 3 months), Typhus and Tuberculosis, vaccinations against rabies and Japanese encephalitis are also advised. Officially there are no vaccinations required to enter Laos.

HEALTH ADVICE

  • Drink a lot of water during the day (2 liters).
  • Do not drink tap water in Laos. Only bottled water is drinkable. The most popular brands are Tiger Head and Dao.
  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Most important: Trust your gut feeling. If you don’t like your food, stop eating and do a double take when eating from street vendors.

Emergency contacts

Your home embassy may be able to assist with advice during emergencies or serious problems. You might want to register if possible before you arrive so that the embassy staff will know where to reach you in case of emergency at home. If calling a Lao emergency number you may have to ask the aid of a Laotian speaker because there might not be an English-speaking operator on the line:
Ambulance: 192
Fire department: 191
Police: 199
Red Cross: (01) 392029 / 30

What to prepare?

Pre-departure Tasks

  • Make sure your passport is valid with at least 6 months before the expiry date and that you have the correct visas. Have a look at the visa requirements for more information.
  • Consider medical, baggage and trip cancellation insurances.
  • Check with your doctor regarding re-vaccinations and medicines needed.
    Clothes
  • Clothing should be lightweight and of the drip dry variety. You will be in the sun a lot so long sleeves and a wide hat would be more suitable.
  • Underwear should be synthetic and easily washable.
  • Sleepwear.
  • Shirts should be long sleeved and light weight with lots of closed pockets.
  • T-shirts, short sleeved and again with pockets.
  • Cool evenings during November – February, so pullovers or a light weight jacket are recommended.
  • A light weight vest with lots of pockets will be handy for carrying your film camera and binoculars.
  • Long trousers made from a lightweight, quick drying fabric should have multi pockets for day trips. Long trousers that turn into shorts are ideal.
  • For trekking lightweight long shorts (for modesty purposes) are acceptable.
  • Bathing suit should be modest so it does not offend the locals.
  •  Hat for sun protection. Should have a wide brim and a strap.
  • A sturdy poncho or parka will help to keep you gear dry in case of rain or waterfall spray.
  • Footwear: You will need some sturdy comfortable boots for trekking or just walking around. They will need to support your ankle as well as having a non-slip sole.
  • Waterproof sandals for those short trips and boating.
  • Some smart casual clothes for the evenings and restaurants.
  • From December to January or in the hill stations, Bolaven highlands or on a boat trip from Houai Xay to Luang Prabang, the temperature can be quite chilly so bring a sweater or other warm clothes. Visitors should not wear shorts, short skirts or other skimpy clothing when visiting pagodas and monasteries.

Pharmacy

  • Insect repellent with the percentage of DEET recommended by your travel medicine physician. It’s important that you bring an ample supply of good quality repellent.
  • Antiseptic wipes for hand washing and emergency toilet paper.
  • Personal First Aid Kit (bring in small amounts and in small containers)
  • Aspirin/ibuprofen, etc.

Elephant Festival Xayaboury

10 - 20 February

Xayaboury, Laos

The Elephant Festival is a celebration of cultural and traditional ties between Lao communities and elephants, as well as a way to raise awareness of their endangered status. The Elephant Festival is a free, all-ages event with incredible activities like a majestic elephant procession, attended by up to 100 elephants, a traditional elephant Baci ceremony, vibrant fruit and flower offerings, monks’ blessings, mahout (guardian) and elephant shows, live performances from local Lao and foreign artists, a night market, and even an outdoor elephant museum.

Elephant Festival Xayaboury

Wat Phou Festival

17 - 22 February

Champasak, Laos

Wat Phou Champasack is the most famous Hindu temple complex built in Laos under the Khmer Empire, which dominated much of Southeast Asia throughout the 10th-14th centuries. Five years ago, Wat Phou was certified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In recent years, with the help of many international organizations and neighboring countries, the complex has enjoyed nearly constant renovation and preservation, aimed at keeping what is left of the existing structure from collapsing.

Wat Phou Festival

Pi Mai Lao (Laos New Year)

14 - 16 April

Nationwide, Laos

Pi Mai Lao, held during the Lao New Year, is one of the most important dates in the Lao calendar. As well as being a truly joyous time, Pimai Lao has become synonymous with the celebration of Lao identity, of family bonds, and an opportunity to reflect on the year ahead.

April 13th, the last day of the year, is a day of renewal, symbolized by water. Buddha images are washed, and both temples and homes are tidied. The young pour water on their elders’ hands, asking for blessings in the coming year.

Pi Mai Lao (Laos New Year)

Boat Racing Festival

29 August

Luang Prabang, Laos

In Luang Prabang, the Boun Suang Heua, “Boat Racing Festival,” is held in August on Khao Padapdin. In Vientiane, boats head out just after ‘Buddhist Lent’ ends. Traditional racing boats are carved from a single tree, can hold up to 50 rowers, and are only rowed annually for the race. Several days before the race, the boats are cleaned and presented with offerings, since the boats are considered sacred.

Boat Racing Festival

Light Festival

12 - 14 October

Luang Prabang, Laos

Lhai Heua Fai (“Festival of Light”) is celebrated at the end of Lent all over Laos, especially in riverside towns. Vientiane’s festival attracts many devotees and tourists alike, but the celebration in Luang Prabang is even more spectacular. Families fashion small, round, banana leaf containers on a section of banana trunk. In this container, they put incense sticks, betel nuts, and sometimes food or money. At the riverbank, with candles and prayers, they send off the light boat. The spectacle of thousands of twinkling candles on the Mekong River is truly moving.

Light Festival

That Luang Festival

09 - 11 November

Vientiane, Laos

The That Luang religious festival lasts three days, starting with the wax castle procession at Wat Si Meuang and ending with a procession around That Luang, “The Grand Stupa”, in Vientiane: sanctuary to the Lord Buddah’s hair and bosom bone. Thousands of monks and tens of thousands of pilgrims come from all over the country – and even from Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam – to attend the festival.

On the next day, a more elaborate procession brings more wax castles through the Eastern Gate of the That Luang cloister, carried three times around the Grand Stupa, and offered to the shrine.

That Luang Festival

Film Festival

01 December

Luang Prabang, Laos

As December comes to Laos, the former royal capital transforms into a theater. Screens are rigged on garden lawns, within the walls of five-star hotels, and at central markets. The whole town, now dotted with movie screens, then becomes the perfect setting for celebrating the art of cinema. LPFF believes in equal access to art, so all screenings are open to the public and completely free of charge. At the main outdoor venue, they set up 800 blue chairs, but regularly welcome eager audiences of over 1,000 people per screening.

Film Festival

H'mong New Year

01 December

Luang Prabang, Laos

The H’mong New Year celebration features incredible, vibrant displays of traditional costumes made from green, red, and white silk, adorned with ornate silver jewelry. Music from traditional H’mong instruments, such as the teun-flute, the H’mong style khene pipe, and even leaf blowing all lend a beautiful atmosphere to this feast for the senses. Other festivities include the Makkhon (cotton-ball) throwing ceremony, ox fighting, spinning-top races, and crossbow demonstrations.

H'mong New Year

Hai Anh Nguyen

Sales Executive - French Speaking FIT Market

I was born and I grew up in Hanoi city, the capital of Vietnam.
My home sweet home is near the Westlake and it’s took around 10 minutes by motorbike from home to office.
I joined the Easia team from 2011.
My most memorable trip was Laos in 2012 with my colleague. It was my first time I took the trip outside of Vietnam. I discovered amazing& surprising landscapes, a very powerful culture and most of all the nicest& the most smiley people I’ve ever met.

Fabiana Montorsi

Quality Manager

I take care of the quality of the services we provide in Laos, by supporting our Operation andReservation team. I’m also in charge of developing a mindful and responsible tourism inthis beautiful destination. I’m from Italy and I arrived in Laos for the first time in 2016.

It captured my heart with its peaceful life and beautiful smiles, all immersed in stunning nature andcharming culture.

Through my work I aim to give my contribution to the beneficial development of this region and tothe preservation of local customs and traditions, which it ́s important to approach respectfully.

I’m keen on fostering a sustainable lifestyle and I strive to raise awareness of this topic andencourage people to take action. I’m enthusiastic about discovering and learning, in particular concerning cultures, and Laos offers agreat opportunity to fulfil this passion with its valuable cultural heritage.

Phout Samone

Quality Executive

I was born in a small village in the countryside in the north of Laos with the nature and beautiful landscapes. I growth up without school in the countryside and then I left family with other friends to go to school. I just joined Easia Travel company in February 2019.

My first trip outside of Laos was for a motivation trip to Thailand with my colleagues and it was such a great time to be with them and I was pretty delighted to have a chance to travel outside of Laos. My next trip if I have a chance to travel I would to travel to Europe, especially to Germany, it was my dream since I started to learn German. Aside from traveling and working I really like to play football a lot and listen to the Ted talk or Audio Book.

‎Matthew Clancy

Production Manager

My name is Matt. I am 27 years old and I am the Production Executive for Easia Travel in Laos.
I was born in England, but I moved to Southern Spain when I was 10 years old. I lived in the Alicante region for the next 12 years – it was here where I discovered my passion for extreme sports. I have always loved travelling and discovering new places, especially those where I can feel free and in touch with nature. I graduated from the University of Saint Andrews in Scotland before making the move to Asia shortly after and I have been here, in Laos, for the past three years.
In my free time I enjoy a variety of adventure sports – slack lining (it’s like tight-rope walking), rock climbing, hiking, mountaineering, and mountain biking. Sky-diving is also something else that I enjoy, but I don’t get to do much of that at the moment! Playing the guitar (or at least trying to…) and trying new exotic foods (not too spicy please!) are also other things that I enjoy.

Sonephet Keomeuangneua

Production Assistant

I was born in Pak Ou district, Luang Prabang Province,Laos. I grew up in the country side of Laos and lived in Luang Prabang Province for 18 years (since 2001).

Life never gets boring here in Luang Prabang! There is always something new to see and learn. My next travel I would more travel to other Country because I would love to learn more about the rural life and to find some hidden gems in greats country. Apart from travelling and working I love to learn and to listen with national culture