General Info

VISA

30-day tourist visas are available at all international airports and border crossings. The cost of a visa varies between US$30 and US$40 depending on the origin of your passport and you will need a passport photo and the name of the hotel where you are staying on arrival. Payment can be made in Thai baht or US dollars but US dollars offer better value. A tourist visa can be extended in major cities for an additional 90 days at a cost of 20,000 Lao kip per day.

CULTURE AND CUSTOMS

Laos is a Buddhist country and also a one-party Communist state, though a free market economy has been in place for decades. It is a relatively conservative country, so dressing and behaving respectfully in public is important. Public shows of affection such as kissing or hugging or not generally practiced by Laotians.

Touching people’s heads or feet is considered taboo and visitors should refrain from touching any monks. Shoes are generally removed before entering pagodas or houses, and female visitors in particular should keep their shoulders covered when visiting any ancient temples, modern pagodas or cultural attractions.

But above all Laotians are very friendly, which is the most important part of the culture to remember!

CURRENCY

The national currency of Laos is the kip, though both US dollars and Thai baht are accepted in most transactions. Credit cards are not widely accepted outside of major hotels.

GENERAL HEALTH

Recommended vaccines for visitors to Laos include hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, cholera, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis, rabies, and meningitis.
Visitors to Laos should also ensure their routine vaccinations are up to date for polio, measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis), chickenpox, shingles, pneumonia and influenza.

VOLTAGE AND TIME

In Laos the standard voltage is 230 V and the frequency is 50 Hz. You can use your electric appliances in Laos, if the standard voltage in your country is in between 220 - 240 V (as is in the UK, Europe, Australia and most of Asia and Africa).
The time in Laos is GMT +7

COMMUNICATIONS

There are currently four GSM networks in Lao and all offer SIM cards to tourists. If you bring an unlocked smartphone, you can take advantage of using a local SIM.

WHAT TO BRING

• A sweater/pashmina – If you want to visit Buddhist temples or cultural attractions it is necessary to ensure your knees and shoulders are covered so bring something to cover up for entry as well as sun protection.
• Sunscreen – Laos is a hot country with day long bright sunshine so good sunscreen is essential to protect your skin.
• Walking shoes – Bring good shoes for your time visiting the temples and exploring Laos’ cities and countryside.

CLIMATE AND WEATHER

Laos is a tropical country that is hot all year around with two main seasons which are wet and dry. The wet monsoon season generally lasts from May until mid-November and the dry season runs from mid-November until April.

In the dry season, December is the coolest month in Laos and the best time to visit. The hottest months are April and May, when the temperature rises up to 40 degrees. Rainy season temperatures are a bit lower, but come with high humidity of over 90%. Temperatures are also usually lower in the mountainous regions.