Incredible Asia Journeys is pleased to customize you the package tours to four tropical countries with so many similarities but each of them has got its own difference, and Laos is no exception. For instance, “you should accept any water that Lao people serve you even if you don’t want to drink” that you can easily find in “Do’s and Don’ts” in the below Laos travel guide. Read our useful Laos travel guide before travelling to Laos, including the overall information to see 4 reasons why you should visit the country of a million elephants, the weather, and climate to see the best time to visit this enchanting region, the transportation to know how to access & how to get around in Laos, the easy visa applying process, and so much more to prepare for your upcoming trip to Laos with Incredible Asia Journeys.
A glance at LaosThe landlocked neighbor to Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar and China, Laos is a fascinating country to explore. Laos has a tropical monsoon climate with two distinct seasons – a wet season (runs from May until September) and a dry season (runs between October and April). According to experienced travelers, the best time to travel Laos is from September when the summer rains finish to the dry season right around until April. 4 Reasons Why You Should Visit Laos1. Laos is an adventurer’s dreamIf you skip Laos as you think that this country is only a barrier between Thailand and Vietnam and it does not offer a must-see world-renowned landmark like Angkor Wat in Cambodia, then you’ve made a big mistake! Little do most know that from mysterious caves and magical waterfalls to stunning mountains, Laos has much to become a perfect getaway for any adventure-seeking travelers.Kuangsi Waterfall2. Laos has awesome cuisineWhile a Vietnamese or Thai restaurant is likely to be found in your neighborhood, Lao cuisine is less popular. Distinct from other Southeast Asian cuisines, Lao cuisine, which is the almost complete absence of processed foods, might be the international cuisine you have been missing. Fresh, healthy and flavorsome are the adjectives to describe Lao cuisine, which has many regional variations, corresponding in part to the fresh foods local to each region. The staple food of the Lao is steamed sticky rice, which is enjoyed with fingers while lemongrass, galangal and Padaek (fermented fish sauce) are essential ingredients. A meal, shared by all at the table consists of sticky rice, spicy soup, mountains of fresh herbs, a range of meat-based side dishes, steamed fish, and crunchy salads. Lao food highlights must be larb, a spicy mixture of chopped meat, chicken or duck that is sometimes eaten raw with a variable combination of greens, herbs and spices; tam mak hoong - a spicy green papaya salad dish, Khao Poon (Rice Vermicelli Soup), Khao Jee Sandwich (Baguette Sandwich); etc. Laos Larb3. Hospitable LaosLaos is home to 68 different ethnic groups with the lowest population densities in Asia. No holiday in a country like Laos is complete without mingling with the locals, even if it is only in the market. Even though most Laotian people do not live in velvet and silk, they always welcome foreigners with a warm smile and are all naturally hospitable, tolerant and generous in their help. Laos kid 4. Laos is not really expensive$30-40 USD a day is a reasonable budget for you to get your own private room, sample stunning Lao food from local markets, drink, take the local bus between destinations and take part in some interesting activities you want.In the poor, landlocked and undeveloped like Laos, everything has to be imported and only few things are locally produced, which raises prices for all goods, services, and transportation. Laos Tours can be more expensive for than its neighbors but still much cheaper in the Western standard.Luang PrabangRead more
Travellers to Laos are required to get a Lao visa before entering the country. The Laos Visa Guide below will help you to have the perfect Laos Tours.Laos Visa exemptions:Citizens of following countries are NOT required a VISA to visit Laos for a stipulated period of time:- Visa-free for 14 days: Brunei, Indonesia, Myanmar (Burma).- Visa-free for 15 days: Luxemburg, Japan, Russia, South Korea, and Switzerland- Visa-free for 30 days: Cambodia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and VietnamIf you are not from any of the countries which have Visa exemption to Laos or you want to stay longer, you will have to apply for a visa to Laos. 30-day visas are now available on arrival at most international borders. Laos VisaHow to apply for a visa to Laos?Visitors to Laos can obtain the Visa On Arrival or in advance from the Laos Embassies/ Consulates abroad.Laos Visa On Arrival:Obtaining a Laos Visa On Arrival is the most convenient, inexpensive, and efficient way to get the visa. This is suitable for those who are time poor or who have Lao embassies/consulates that are not easily accessible.1.Where can you get a Visa On Arrival in Laos?International Airports:•Vientiane Wattay International Airport•Luang Prabang International Airport•Pakse International Airport•Savannakhet International AirportBorder checkpoints and border crossings:Thailand-Laos:•Chiangkhong – Houixay, Chiang Rai to Bokeo Province;•Houi Koln – Nam Ngeun, Nan to Sayabouly Province;•Nakaxeng – Kaenthao, Loei to Sayabouly Province;•Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge I, Nongkhai-Vientiane Capital;•Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge II, Moukdahan-Savannakhet Province;•Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge III, Nakorn Phanom-Khammouane Province;•Chongmek – Vangtao, Ubol Ratchathani to Champasack Province;Cambodia-Laos:•Dong Calor – Veun Kham, Cambodia to Champasack Province.Vietnam-Laos:•Nameo – Banleui, Thanh Hoa to Huaphanh Province;•Namkan – Namkan, Nghe An to Xieng Khouang Province;•Keoneua – Nampao (Lak Sao), Ha tinh to Bolikhamxay Province;•Laobao – Dansavanh, Quang tri to Savannakhet Province;China-Laos:•Mohan – Botene , Yunnan to Luang Namtha Province.Laos Visa on Arrival2.Visa on Arrival Stamp FeeThe cost of Laos Visa depends on which passport you are holding. The price list is on display at the visa counter.If you are a citizen of USA, UK, the fee is USD$35, Canadian: USD$42, India: USD$ 40, Sweden: USD$31, China: USD$ 20, Australia and other countries is USD$30. * Requirements: + Your passport must be valid for 6 months beyond your travel date, and there must be at least 2 blank pages left on your passport.+ 2 photos (5 cm high x 4 cm wide – white background, no glasses, no facial expression). + A Visa application form filled out and signed by the applicant (The forms are available at visa window at Lao ports of entry or are distributed before landing if you are arriving by plane).+ Cash for visa Fee: All visa fees are payable in cash only (Laos Kip, US dollars or Thai baht). For further information, please contact our consultant.Laos Visa application form* Lists of countries CANNOT get Laos Visas on Arrival?The passport holders of the following (29) countries are Not eligible for Laos Visas on Arrival. •Afghanistan•Algeria•Bangladesh•Burundi•Cameroon•Congo•Cote d’Ivoire•Ghana•Guinea•Guinea Bissau•Jordan•Lesotho•Liberia•Libya ( Libyan Arab Jamahiriya )•Mozambique•Nauru•Niger•Nigeria•Pakistan•Senegal•Sierra Leone•Sri Lanka•Suriname•Syria ( Syrian Arab republic)•Swaziland•Tonga•Turkey•Zambia•ZimbabweHow Can The Citizens Of The Countries In The List Get Lao Visa?Passport holders of one of those 29 countries listed above can get Lao visa at local Lao Embassies or Lao Consulates. You also can travel with your plan route passing through one of Laos' neighbor countries (Cambodia, China, Myanmar, Thailand or Vietnam, or) if there is no Lao embassy or consulate located in your country.Read more
Laos’s climate can be described as the tropical monsoon in most of the plains, subtropical in the far north and in the mountains. It is characterized by strong monsoon influences with the two distinguishable seasons: the winter monsoon, which brings good weather and a bit of cool at night from November to February, and the summer monsoon, which brings a high rate of rainfall and high humidity together with a considerable amount of sun, from May to the beginning or the middle of October, which makes it sometimes feel quite uncomfortable. However, the monsoons are quite irregular: they do not always arrive in the same period, and they don't always have the same intensity. The average temperature is from 22°C to 27°C year-round. Days are usually warm and sunny almost all year round. The climate in Laos throughout the wet season varies from region to region. For instance, the lowlands witness a higher temperature range of about 29°C while the temperature is likely to average 23°C in the higher mountain valleys. In cooler months, the temperature is often as low as 15-20°C (58-68°F) at night, and in the lower land like Vientiane capital city and it can even drop to below freezing in the mountainous areas. Phousi Hill What is the best time to visit Laos? The high tourist season in Laos is the dry, cool season from late-October and February when the air is cleaner with lower temperature especially in the months of November and December.Moreover, the high water level in the rivers promises a real possibility to make river trips giving you a chance to discover the best places in Laos in the most fantastic way. The cool season is a stunning time to visit the country, but the later short-lived hot weather, which lasts from March to April, is a lot less pleasurable to travel. March to May may not be the most appealing time to visit the country.One more factor that can make traveling during hot season less attractive is the smoke produced when farmers set fire to the degraded forest and rice stubble to get the soil prepared for the next crop cycle which can feel quite unbearable at times. However, if you expect the much smaller crowds with less foot traffic and much lower hotel costs, the shoulder season (July and August), when the weather can be wet with high humidity in most parts of Laos, the rains are more consistent but the landscapes are truly imposing in emerald green is another popular time to travel to the Land of Million Elephant.If you are planning to visit some areas such as Luang Prabang during this period, you can still expect the chance of great weather.Read more
Traveling with Incredible Asia Journey means that your tickets and accommodation will be booked, your transportation and food as well will be prepared. However, to make sure that your holiday in Laos will be a pleasant, safe, and enjoyable one, you have to prepare few things by yourselves.PreparationYour tour in Laos will be joyful if have a good preparation for your trip.- Make sure that your Laos Visa is ready. Anyone wanting to get into this country must have a visa and passport with valid for six months beyond the ending date of your trip.- Read Laos Travel Guide to have a general understanding about Laos.- Read your travel itinerary and ask your travel agent anything you don’t understand. Contact your local manager in country for any issue you may have while traveling- Inform your health condition to travel agent (in case you get sick or tired) then they will reschedule your itinerary.- Make sure your credit card will work in Laos or go to the bank to exchange your money into kip (Lao Currency)- Ask your cell phone provider for an international data plan if you will need coverage whilst traveling.- Check the weather to bring along suitable clothes.- Check your departure flight and set alarm in case you forget!- Read up a bit about Laos before you leave and learn some of the most important words such as Hello: Sa-bai-Dee and Thank you: Khawp JaiLaos KipWhat to bring along for Laos trip?- Personal papers (passport, visas, travel insurance certificate, air tickets, tour voucher, etc.) It is highly recommended to make a paper copy of your passport and driver's license, which are invaluable for replacing a lost passport.- Money: credit card, debit card, traveler’s cheques and money pouch, cash in US Dollars or Thai Baht as ATM machines can be sparsely located in Huay Xai, Laos kip currency, Luang Prabang, Vientiane and Vang Vieng- Some games for long bus rides or the evenings with villagers and friends you meet along- Camera, batteries and extra memory cards- Cell phone, cell phone charger and portable power bank- Medication (including a doctor’s letter if you are taking medicine under doctor’s prescription)- Dry pack if planning water-based activities like river tubing, kayaking or rafting- Laptop charger (if you are bringing your laptop)- First aid kit for outdoor activities if you plan suchFirst Aid KitWhat clothes/items to bring along for Laos trip?- Sun protection, a hat, mosquito spray and sunscreen- Insect repellent- Comfortable sandals or shoes: Sandals with the rugged bottom for hiking, good walking boots with ankle support - a comfortable change of shoes. - Lightweight, light-colored clothing to reflect the beating sun- Clothes suitable for visiting temples (long pants/skirts, long sleeved tops)- Lightweight and loose-fitting clothes including cotton and linens to combat the humidityTravel PackingRead more
Thanks to the significant road system improvement over the last few years, many new ways of accessing Laos from neighboring countries are gradually opening up making it easier and happier for tourists to get to and around all of Laos. With a number of advanced transportation systems, including several highways and a number of airports, transportation would not be a big problem during your holidays in Laos.How to access Laos?By FlightThere are a few airlines operating international flights in Laos. Lao Airlines, Thai Airways to Vientiane and Vietnam Airlines to Luang Prabang. The third international airport launched in Paske, offering flights to and from Siem Reap, Phnom Penh (Cambodia) and Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam) by Lao Airlines.Most visitors from outside Asia need to fly to Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi International Airport) and then take a 1-hour-flight to Vientiane Wattay International Airport and a 2-hour flight to Luang Prabang. There are 5 weekly flights from Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi in Vietnam to Vientiane by Vietnam Airlines and Lao Airlines, 3 weekly flights from Chiang Mai in Thailand, Siem Reap in Cambodia, Kunming in China as well as Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.By far, there are three international airports in Laos:●Luang Prabang International Airport●Pakse International Airport●Wattay Airport (Vientiane)Laos AirlinesBy LandIt is also possible to visit Laos by land through one of many border crossings between Thailand and Laos: Thailand’s borders in Nong Khai - Pakistan border and Chiang Khong in Chiang Rai - Huay Xai, Mukdahan – Savannakhet, Chong Mek – Vang Tao. From Vietnam, Lao Bao, in Khung Tri - Dan Savan in Savannakhet and other points.There is a daily overnight sleeping train departing from Thailand at 8 pm and arriving at the frontier of Laos the next morning. In spite of its cheap price, train is not a popular means of transportation due to the lacks of the required infrastructure and the rarely known location of the station. How to get around Laos?By FlightMajor tourist cities like Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Pakse and Savannkhet are now well connected by moderate-priced flights handled by Lao Airlines. So for the long distance and for travellers who do not have much time the flight is a goodAdvantage:Fast and convenient Disadvantage:High price ticketBy BoatWith the 4,600 km of navigable waterways, traveling by river is a shortcut for those who have put up with the horrible road condition of Laos. Slow ferries and exciting speedboats can be an unforgettable memory.Advantage:The most common way to travelDisadvantage:PackedBoat trip in LaosBy Taxi There are a handful of taxis that can be hired by the trip, by the hour or by the day. Advantage:Fast and convenientDisadvantage:Not a good option for sightseeing Taxi in LaosBy Motorbikes or Tuk TukIf you are looking for the most stunning means of transportation to get around Laos, look no further than a motorbike or a Tuk Tuk!Advantage:One-of-a-kind experienceDisadvantage:Adventurous Tuk- Tuk in LaosRead more
International travelers, especially first-timers, can sometimes find it difficult to navigate the cultural norms of Lao culture. As a result, to have a happy journey, you should glance at Dos and Don’ts in Laos associated with the customs of the people’s traditions and daily lives. Knowing Dos and Don't in Laos will make sure your Laos Tour is joyful.Dos in Laos- Travel with reputed travel agents (Tripadvisor is a good source). If you don’t check the reputation of travel agents you chose, you are likely to get low-quality service. In the worst case, you will find yourself in bad condition: dirty hotel, uncomfortable car, bad food, etc.- Only use your feet for walking or playing sports- Enjoy awesome Lao food whenever you can to help local business and Lao farmers.- Say sabai dee - the Lao word for 'hello' with a smile. When greeting a Lao person you should touch your palms together below your chin and nod your head downwards.- Help to keep Laos clean and beautiful by not leaving litter.- Show respect to the local religious customs and dress neatly (long and body covering clothes) while in religious sites and when taking photos. Generally, locals are happy to be in your photos if you respect their space. If possible, ask permission first. Lao people appreciate clean and neatly dressed travelers. Anyone who has strong body odor tends to get disgusting looks.- Take off your shoes and leave them outside the house or on stairs before entering a Lao person’s home.- Gently crouch down when passing someone who is seated.- Accept any water that Lao people serve you even if you don’t want to drink.- Show respect to monks, novices, and nuns- Purchase local handicrafts and products to support the local economy. Avoid these don’ts below and you can make your way through Laos without offending the locals.Alms Giving Ceremony in Luang PrabangDon’ts In Laos- Don’t touch someone’s head or show affection in public as it will embarrass your host.- Don’t point with your feet/toes, have your feet raised/or propped up on tables- Don't touch the robe of the monk, anyone’s head, and women.- Don’t walk around in a swimsuit or bikini- Don’t wear shorts, tank top to the pagodas, temples or other religious places. You will be considered rude and sometimes you will not be allowed to be in.- Don’t sit down higher than a monk, your host or than a statue of Buddha.- Don't give gifts or money to children, or a poor novice in the temple as it encourages begging. Instead, it is wise to give to an established organization or village elders.- Don’t step over any part of a person, but if you must, always ask to be excused first.- Don’t use plastic bags and return rubbish to towns or villages.- Don’t shout or raise your voice, especially in public, as Lao people speak softly and avoid confrontation. - Don’t use drugs in Laos- Don’t buy antique Buddha images or other sacred items as a lot of them were stolen from unprotected temples and sitesWish you have an unforgettable holiday in Laos!Don't wear shorts in templeRead more