LAOS TRAVEL GUIDE
Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), is one of the most peaceful countries in Southeast Asia. A mountainous and landlocked country, Laos shares borders with 5 countries; Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, and China with Mekong River that is running crosses in between the nations. Currently, there are 27 international Border checkpoints which included land border and International Airport.
VISA AND BORDER FORMALITIES
Due to the current situation of COVID-19 pandemic and to raise the level of prevention, Lao government has issued a number of pre-caution steps that only certain people are allowed to enter the countries mainly Business investors, Diplomats, International students, Family. Those who enter Laos need to complete their 14days mandatory quarantine in one of the designated facilities. At this time, vaccination against COVID-19 does not change this quarantine requirement. You may be required to pay for the costs of your quarantine. NOTE: Tourist visa is not yet available at this stage (Last updated on March 2021).
There are three different ways that you can obtain tourist visa to LAOS:
- Lao Embassies: You can contact Lao Embassies and consulate at your country of origin. For more details, please visit www.mofa.gov.la
- Visa on arrival requirements There are 22 ports of entry in Laos where international visitors from eligible countries will be able to obtain a Lao tourist visa to enter Laos. For more details, please visit www.immigration.gov.la .There is usually a queue at Visa on Arrival counters which can mean a wait up to one and a half hour. To overcome this issue, we are providing Fast Track Visa service as an option to jump the queue for an additional fee. Our representative will be waiting at the arrival hall to collect your passports and immigration application to proceed for the visa stamp whilst you are free to go directly to the baggage claim section.Every visitor needs to bring with them: (a). A Six months validity passport, (b). Visa fees (subject to the nationalities), (c). 1xPassport photo, possibly $1 payable for if the passport photo is not available, (d). A $1 charge may apply for arrival after working hours.
- eVisa: Lao Electronic Visa (eVisa) has recently been implemented which allows travelers to quickly get the necessary authorization prior to entering the country. E-visa can be proceeded within 03 working days provided that all information supplied by applicants met the criteria and accepted by the Lao Government Authorities, otherwise the processing time could be longer. Suggest to proceed at least 7days before your expected date of departure. Lao eVisa (Laos approval letter) is valid for a single entre for a stay up to 30days and can be used to enter FIVE international ports only including: (1) Wattay International Airport (Vientiane Capital); (2) Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge (Vientiane Capital); (3) Luang Prabang International Airport (Luang Prabang province); (4) Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge II (Savanhnakhet province); (5) Pakse International Airport (Champasak province).
The service is available online via www.laoevisa.gov.la
VISA EXEMPTION / NON-EXEMPTION
Citizens of ASEAN member countries as well as some other countries, who have special agreement with Laos, are exempt from Lao visa. Whilst there are 29countries are not eligible for Lao visa on arrival (Effective from October, 2009). For more information, please visit www.laos-guide-999.com
It is highly recommended that you must have comprehensive travel insurance whilst traveling in Laos. The insurance should cover your emergency medical and hospital expenses, luggage and personal effects, travel delay expenses and so on. Most of our travel packages do not come with insurance, please contact our representative for further information.
Laos generally enjoys a mild tropical climate, but it can get quite chilly in the cool season. Temperatures range from 10 – 40 degrees Celsius in the Mekong Valley, and may dip below zero in the mountains and on the Xieng Khouang and Bolaven Plateaus.
Cool season: November – February
Hot season: March – May
Rainy season: June -October.
Most people visit from October to February. However, the rainy season offers lush green landscapes, and is crowned by the colorful Lao New Year’s festival in April.
High quality international standard hospitals and clinics are still limited in Laos, if you are having any particular health issues and require special medication, please do bring with you as some of these medications may not be available here. Most of hotels have 24hours power supply and some do have power generator for back up. Please do email us before your departure for any medical attention needed. 24hours International clinics are available in major cities including Luang Prabang and Vientiane and in case of serious condition, the patients will be transported to the hospitals in Thailand. We suggest that you take precautionary measures like eating only well-cooked food, drinking bottled water, staying hydrated, avoiding being bitten by mosquitoes and wearing protective clothing will help prevent most common ailments.
Lao Airlines operates both domestic and international connects all major cities in Laos. They are using ATR 72-200 (70seats), MA 60 (56seats), A320. Lao Airline is giving 20kg checked baggage and 5kgs carry-on. Excess baggage will be charged at U$5per kilo for both domestic and international.
Lao Skyway is the second carrier that serves flights to main cities including also small cities where Lao Airlines cannot be landed for instance; Sam Nua, Oudomxay, Phongsaly, Houaixai by using MA60 (56seats), MI-17VI (22seats), CESSANA 208 (11seats).
Seats assignment is not possible in advance for both carriers. If you wish to secure a seat, please do inform our guide in advance for early arrangement out to airport.
TRAVELING WITH CHILDREN
Laos is a safe, quiet country with a lot to explore for both adults and children. Lao people love kids, and bringing yours along will arouse attention and curiosity that will open the door for priceless cultural interactions.
The official currency of Laos is the kip. All major hotels and restaurants accept credit cards with additional charge from 2.5%-3%. ATMs accept Visa, Mastercard and several cards with inter-bank access, and dispense kip notes. Thai baht and US dollars are generally accepted in larger urban centers. Exchange boxes are widely available throughout the major cities like Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Pakse.
Tipping in Laos is not customary but it is greatly appreciated by those who serve you. Depend up on your satisfaction on his/her service given and of course for their hard work, you may tip them around U$10-U$15/day for guides and U$5-U$10/day for drivers or boat men. Again, there is not rule of how much you should tip waiters and waitresses but any between 5%-10% of the bill up is highly appreciated.