WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE TRAVELLING TO LAOS
How to prepare for your trip to Laos?
Here are the main topics you'll need to think about when preparing your trip to Laos. Our team remains at your disposal for a call to answer any further questions you may have.
The Laotian diet is based on sticky rice, normally paired or topped with pork, beef, poultry or fish. Vegetables are varied and plentiful. Fried, sticky or steamed rice, fried noodles, omelettes, fruit and soups make up the daily meals (even breakfast). Dishes can be very spicy. If you are sensitive to this, ask for "no spicy" or "Bor Phèt".
Except in the big cities, you won't find bread, butter, jam or dairy products (which are difficult to preserve and have to be imported from overseas).
Drink only bottled water. As for ice cubes, the locals themselves only consume ice cubes made from drinking water, so there should be no worries in that department
eating in laos
Cheap food :
- from 40,000 to 60,000 kips (€2 to €3). For typical street food stalls, the price is attractive, but you shouldn't be too fussy about hygiene.
Mid-range dining :
- 70,000 to 150,000 kips (4 to 8 euros). in Laotian restaurants but with more elaborate cuisine.
Occidental or chic cuisine can can be priced from 150,000 to 800,000 kips and more... (4 to 50 euros)
Since 9 May 2022, Laos has been open to travellers again, without any restrictions.
No more quarantine, no more Covid19 insurance required, no more tests before departure or on arrival for those who have been vaccinated, just the pleasure of travelling!
Please note that travellers with a full vaccination schedule will need to present their vaccination booklet.
Travellers who have not been vaccinated must present an ATK test carried out 48 hours before departure. This does not apply to children under the age of 12.
As of 26 December 2022, the Health Pass showing proof of vaccination with COVID-19 and the rapid antigen test (ATK) for unvaccinated travellers are no longer required to enter the country.
This means that, as of 2023, there are no longer any COVID-19 related restrictions on entering Laos.
Here are some examples of Lao vocabulary you should know:
Hello : Sabaï Dii
How are you? Sabai Dii Bor?
Fine and you? Sabai Dii, chao dè?
Yes : Doi
No : Bor
Goodbye: La Kone
Thank you : Khop Tchaï
No thanks: Bor Khop Tchaï
Never mind: Bor pen yang
Where are the toilets? Hang nam you saï ?
Toilets : Hang Nam
Foreign : Falang
A lot: Laï Laï
A little : Noy Nung
Today : Muenï
Tomorrow: Mue eun
It's easy to get your 30-day tourist visa when you arrive in Laos, at land border posts or customs at Luang Prabang, Pakse and Vientiane airports.
All you need is your passport, 2 passport-size photographs and $40 (expect to pay a little more, as it varies during weekends).
The price of a VISA varies according to your nationality:
- French and Belgians USD 40
- Swiss, free visa for a stay of less than 15 days.
Please note! Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after your return to France.
Electricity is 220 volts in Laos and is now available almost everywhere.
Sockets are flat like the British model, but compatible with French two-pin sockets. So, you won't need an adapter.
We recommend that you always carry a torch or headlamp, as power cuts are frequent during the hotter months of the year.
There are no compulsory vaccinations for entering Laos. However, certain vaccinations are recommended: hepatitis A and B, rabies, typhoid and Japanese encephalitis are some to watch out for.
Anti-malaria treatment of the 3rd category for tropical regions may be recommended. The mosquito that carries malaria is found in damp environments near farm animals and rice fields, mainly in the wet season.
Consult your doctor or a public health centre before you leave for more information (at least one month before your departure, as some vaccines are given over several weeks).
The currency used in Laos is the Kip. 1 euro = approximately 18,000 kip. US dollars and Thai baht are also accepted almost everywhere in the major towns. It is recommended that foreign currency notes are in very good condition, without handwritten annotations or creases for example.
You can easily find ATMs that accept Visa and Mastercard, even in the most isolated towns.
Most ATMs dispense a maximum of one million kip per withdrawal (around €55), which multiplies the impact of the fixed charges applied to your bank.
What to bring with you for your travel in Laos
- Dress appropriately, necklines and shoulders should be covered, and shorts and skirts too short should be avoided when entering sacred sites or rituals
- Poncho/raincoat (it can rain at any time of year)
- Fleece or sweater (from November to February, it can be cold)
- A duvet if you're going between December and February, as the nights in the mountains can be very cold.
- Fleece, thick socks. Nights are cold in the homes of local people in the mountains from December to February.
- A meat bag or "silk bag" if you are concerned about the cleanliness of the sheets
- Toilet paper, shower gel, personal hygiene products, etc.
- Thin bath towel (generally provided in hotels, but not at the locals' homestay).
- A pair of flip-flops
- Small rucksack for treks and hikes
- Pair of good trekking shoes
- Mosquito repellent (DEET 50)
- High UV-index sun cream
- Hat / cap
- First-aid kit (ask your doctor)
- Flashlight or headlamp (in case of power cut)
Footballs, colored pencils and school supplies to donate to the village children during the tour are great ideas, but wait until you arrive in Laos to buy them rather than travelling with them in your suitcases.