General tips for trips to Laos in 2018

Laos is a country with a million elephants and includes mountains, jungles and the Mekong River, which dominates the landscape. As a devout Buddhist and largely undeveloped, Laos offers travelers the opportunity to experience rich traditions, natural beauty and a feeling for Asia as before.

Our trips to this fascinating country include the time in Luang Prabang – a perfectly preserved mix of rustic colonial architecture and gilded monasteries – and in the relaxed waterfront capital, Vientiane.

The internal destination os Laos is a place for everyone and offers travelers the opportunity to travel by boat and on the road from north to south through a wide variety of landscapes and cultures. In addition, many travelers have chosen to combine their Laos experience with time in Cambodia or Vietnam by traveling overland and on the daily scheduled flights.

Visa requirements and exit tax: Travelers (Europeans, Americans, Australians, New Zealanders) can easily get a 15-day tourist visa upon arrival in Laos provided they present USD 30 and a passport photo per person.

Travelers often visit Laos on classic trails, such as a few days in Vientiane, from where the historical and cultural aspect of the nation emerges when visiting some of the country's oldest pagodas. Adventurous people often stop in Vang Vieng to relax and stop off between Vientian and Luang Prabang.

Travelers can get their Laos visa upon arrival at Luang Prabang International Airport. Please note that Indochina Explorer, Bangkok to Hanoi and pictures of Indochina travelers require a Vietnam Visa before arriving in Indochina.

insurance: As a prerequisite for a trip through Laos, you must be fully insured. Insurance should include cover for personal accident, medical expenses, luggage loss and the cancellation or reduction of your vacation. You can confirm your insurance details as part of your trip to the embassy and / or your tour operator at the start of your trip. If you don't have adequate insurance, you can apply for one. Note that travel insurance may be linked to your credit card, although this insurance is usually only effective if your travel arrangements have been completed with the card. Credit card insurance coverage often does not include the payment of medical expenses. Please review your policies carefully. You must have sufficient insurance to be insured in the event that you have a medical problem while traveling.

money: The official currency of Laos is the kip. However, cash in US dollars is accepted almost everywhere. Thai baht is readily acceptable, albeit on less favorable terms. Since you accumulate KIP as a change in payments in USD, it is recommended that upon arrival in Laos you convert either nothing or very little (e.g. $ 30) to KIP. It is also recommended to carry a mix of USD cash and travelers checks. Credit cards (Visa and Mastercard) can only be used in a limited number of shops and restaurants in Vientiane and Luang Prabang. Travelers arriving from Thailand with Chiang Khong / Huay Xai can exchange money at fair prices in addition to the Huay Xai (Laos) visa mail. Since your time in Laos is limited, please bring enough money with you for the duration of your trip.

climate: Laos is affected by the annual Southeast Asian monsoon cycle. The rainy season lasts from May to October. During this time, the tropical lowland averages 30 degrees Celsius, while the mountains stay cooler. The first half of the dry season lasts from November to February. The temperatures during this time are between 10 and 25 degrees Celsius.

In the mornings and evenings in the north of Laos around Luang Prabang it can get quite cool at this time of year. Anyone traveling between Huay Xai and Luang Prabang on the Mekong should bring at least one layer of warm clothing. In the second half of the dry season – from March to June – the temperature can rise up to 35 degrees Celsius. Many travelers prefer Laos outside the dry season. There are fewer tourists and rainfall is often limited to short afternoon showers that give the country and cities a different atmosphere.

Luggage & clothing: Your luggage should be clearly marked and kept to a reasonable minimum. Baggage restrictions for airlines are strictly observed and space in vehicles is limited. Porters are not always available. Get ready to carry your own bags.

Comfortable casual clothing made of cotton is best suited for tropical and semi-tropical climates. It is advisable to pack a set of chic casual clothing. The laundry service is available across the country, although the laundry costs at the hotel can be very high.

Make sure you bring the following:

Flat walking shoes and sandals

Hat & sunglasses

bather

money belt

Raincoat or umbrella

First-aid equipment

Insect repellent

alarm clock

Small flashlight

Swiss Army pocket knife

power adapter

Feminine hygiene products

Slide or any other special film (printing film is widespread in Laos)

Effective airline-style earplugs

A layer of warm clothing (for travel on the Mekong between Huay Xai and Luang Prabang from November to March)