Laos Travel Guide

Laos is the most undeveloped country whinin the region but with thousands of gilded temples.Here are the updated information and tips about Laos, including tourists attractions, food, drinks, shopping, visa, hotels, climate and etc. which are collected by our travel experts. Just feel free to check it out.

LAOS SNAPSHOT

The sleeping beauty of Southeast Asia, the Republic of Laos has been isolated for decades and therefore tourism is still very much in its infancy here. Time seems to slow down in Laos, as even in the capital city, Vientiane, the pace of life is refreshingly unhurried. The government is instigating a green approach to its development, with the intention of keeping Laos’ pristine ecological system as natural as possible. This makes Laos a dream destination for nature and wildlife lovers, who are seeking the true meaning of getting away from it all.

Besides being a land where no one is in a hurry, Laos is also a land of Buddhist traditions where you will find saffron-robed teens peek curiously out from wats (temples). And while earning the title of being the world’s most heavily bombed country hardly seems like a ringing endorsement, a visit to Luang Prabang’s World Heritage temples soothes the soul. Explore Vientiane, the world’s smallest capital, as it moves at the same serene pace as the Mekong river floating by its shores.

Here at Indochina Pioneer, our experienced Laos holiday specialists have traveled extensively throughout Laos, researching the best hotels, sites, and activities. Let us help you create an itinerary that is bound to delight everyone in your party.

Most popular sites of Laos

  • Luang Prabang – a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1995, best known for its high concentration of Buddhist temples and serene location on the banks of Mekong
  • The Mekong River – runs from the north-west to the most southern tip of Laos, forming a natural border with Thailand; cruising on the river provides a great opportunity to see some of the more remote areas of the country which are often inaccessible by road
  • Plain of Jars – see the dotted landscape of Laos with hundreds of mysterious and centuries-old stone jars

• Population: 6.5 million
• Capital: Vientiane
• Currency: Kip (LAK)
• Language: Lao, Hmong, Khmu
• Religion: Buddhism

LAOS PRE TRIP INFORMATION

Passion Indochina Travel facilitates your holiday by arranging all the services making up your trip. However, be sure to pack all that you will need before leaving your home!

Packing Checklist – Be sure to check them all 

Essentials

  • Travel documents (passport, visas, travel insurance certificate, air tickets, tour voucher)

  • Money (cash, credit card, debit card, traveler’s cheques, and money pouch)

  • Daypack for your personal needs during the day

  • Camera and extra memory cards and batteries

  • Cell phone and cell phone charger

  • Laptop charger (if you are bringing your laptop)

  • Travel plug/international adapter

  • Medication (including a doctor’s letter if you are carrying a large amount of medication)

  • Prescription glasses/contacts and if necessary, contact lens solution

Best to bring along

  • First aid kit

  • Toiletries

  • Sunscreen

  • Insect repellent

  • Refillable water bottle with filter

 Wardrobe

  • Comfortable walking shoes

  • Comfortable clothing, either light or heavy options, depending on the season you are traveling

  • Clothes suitable for visiting temples (long pants/skirts, long-sleeved tops)

  • Waterproof jacket / raincoat / umbrella

  • Hat & sunglasses

  • Bathing suit

 

Optional comforts

  • Earplugs & eye mask

  • Sleep sheet for homestays/trains

  • Lightweight travel towel

  • Local language phrasebook

Preparation

Here are some considerations to ensure that your adventure sets off with a great start:

  • Please read our guidelines on responsible tourism so that your trip is beneficial both for you and the communities you visit.
  • What interests you? eg. weavings, archaeology, religious art, jewelry, mountain biking, kayaking, etc. Let us know so we can steer you in the right direction.
  • Read up a bit about Laos before you leave. Your guide will give you a general understanding of the places you visit, but feel free to ask for specifics.
  • Learn a little Lao before your trip. The more you know, the more fun you will have.
  • Ask your cell phone provider for an international data plan if you will need coverage whilst traveling.
  • No data? No problem! Bring a book, journal, postcards, or playing cards with you to occupy yourself when waiting.
  • “Take only photos, leave only footprints”, but nonetheless try to be sensitive with the photos and footprints.
  • Try to support locally owned businesses, hotels, restaurants, and traditional artisans.
  • Let us know at once if you encounter any problems. Don’t wait until the trip is over. Our drivers, operators, guides and hotel staff are there to help you.
  • Most of all, relax, be patient, and keep an open mind. Bring your sense of humor and adventure and discover the magic of Laos.
GETTING AROUND IN LAOS

Small and mountainous, carved with strong flowing rivers and berated by annual monsoons, traveling in Laos is slow but sure. Google Maps can be misleading as getting around in Laos takes time; usually, more than you may have planned. However, while the transportation network (aside from flying) is slow, it is comprehensive. So unless you are planning on visiting the Hmong in the jungle around Long Tien, you should be able to get just about anywhere you want easily and affordable.

Plane
There are two Lao airlines operating in Laos – the larger national carrier, Lao Airlines and a smaller and newer airline, Lao Air. The former flies both international and domestic routes, the latter, domestic only.
If you plan to fly domestically, chances are you’ll be on a Lao Airlines flight.

Bus
Buses in Laos are slow; very slow. They are slow for a number of reasons:
1) They’re old
2) The roads are narrow
3) They stop very frequently to pick up passengers, and
4) They stop all the time to let people pee.
They are cheap though, so the adage that you get what you pay for certainly holds true here.
Minibusses also offer routes between the more popular destinations, such as Vientiane to Vang Vieng and onwards to Luang Prabang, but the majority of routes are served by the larger, slower buses.

Motorbike
Larger enduro-style dirt bikes can be hired long-term from some travel agents. Prices are reasonable, but be sure to carefully check the bike, and do not use the chain and padlock provided by the shop to lock up the bike at night – use your own.

Bicycle
Although Laos is quite hilly, it is nonetheless quite popular with cyclists. Most Laotian towns have accommodations, so it shouldn’t be hard to find a room for the night. Make sure to pack a good supply of inner tubes and patch kits and if possible, bring your own bike.

Boat
With the improvements of the road networks, boat services have dropped off drastically as it is now far cheaper to transport cargo and passengers, by land vehicles. As it stands, the only boat routes still operating are those popular with tourists:

  • Huay Xai – Pak Beng – Luang Prabang
  • Pak Tha – Luang Nam Tha
  • Luang Prabang – Nong Khiaw – Muang Khua – Hat Sa
  • Xieng Kok – Huay Xai
  • Sekong – Attapeu
  • Despite the disappearing routes by boat, travel by boat in Laos is still highly recommended, even if your only option is the admittedly very crowded Huay Xai to Luang Prabang route.
Let’s Start Planning My Trip

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