How to prepare your trip in Laos
To get a VISA TOURISM of 30 DAYS for Laos. You can easily ask it directly in Laos, at the airport or at international checkpoints. It costs between 30 and 40 US Dollars depending of where you come from, and it needs 2 photos.
Above all, make sure that your passport is not expired. The expiry date must be at least 6 months later than the date you come back from your trip in Asia.
Laos is on the GMT+7 time zone. It means when it's 3pm in Laos, it's 9am in France or Sweden, 4pm in west Australia.
Vaccines & Malaria
Whether or not it is mandatory to have vaccines done, please remember to carry your updated health record booklet at all time. In Laos, no vaccine is required to enter the country. However, consult your doctor or a public health center before leaving for more technical information on the following recommended vaccines:
Typhoid, Hepatitis A and B, Rabies, Tetanus
Japanese encephalitis (anticipate in advance as 3 injections are required)
An anti-malaria treatment of the 3rd category for tropical areas is also recommended, especially during the monsoon season. The malaria-carrying mosquito is found in humid environments close to farm animals and rice fields, mainly in the so-called wet season (July to October).
The staple food of the Lao is steamed sticky rice, which is eaten by hand. It’s accompanied with meat (pork, chicken) or fish and vegetables. Fried rice, noodle, soup, omelet, fruits are typical meals (even for breakfast). Out of big cities, you can’t find any western food.
Electrical current here in Laos is 220V, and there is electricity everywhere. The plugs are plate like british ones, but they are compatible with two headed french ones.
We recommend to always have a pocket light with you in case of electricity breakdown (they are frequent).
Meals & Food prices
- Very cheap: 10,000 to 40,000 kip
- Budget meal: 40,000 to 80,000 kip
- Average prices: from 80,000 to 120,000 kip
- A little more chic: from 120,000 to 250,000 kip
Lao local currency, KIP
The currency used in Laos is the kip.
1$ = 8500 kips ; 1€ = 10 000 kips. The baht and dollars are also accepted almost everywhere in the cities. These two currencies can be changed in all banks.
Please note that in some places, especially in the remote countryside and really small town, we will not always have much choice of hotels. There will no be 5 star hotels in such places, which explain why we have to choose local guesthouses instead of hotels.
HOMESTAYS are very basic comfort. You will not have hot water for shower and “bathroom” can be small room in the backyard with a bucket of clean cold water or a tap in the corner of the house. We recommend you to bring a small towel that you can carry in your bag and flip flops for showering. Power breakdowns are frequent so we also recommend you to bring a small portable battery to charge your electronic devices. There might not be bed sheets and pillow cases in the village where you will sleep. You can bring your own sleeping bag liner if you wish.
We will make sure that you experiment different types of accommodation during your trip in Laos. These sometimes surprising places will be part of your overall Lao adventure and you will remember it all your life.
ATM's & Change
ATM's work with Visa and MasterCard and can easily be found in the cities. Now, thez are also available in many other small touristic sites and towns.
Note that number of ATMs will issue at most 1 million kip (about $ 125) at a time, which multiplies the impact of fixed charges for each transaction by your bank.
What to bring with you
- Summer outfits (but not too short, shoulders & neckline have to be covered)
- Sweatshirt & warm clothes (it can be cold from December to February, especially at night in the mountains)
- Rain coat or poncho (rain can happen anytime of the year)
- Backpack, not heavy. (to carry by yourself)
- Good hiking shoes
- Flip flops for the bathroom
- Hat & cover your neck
- Mosquito repellent
- Sunscreen cream, sunglasses, hat,…
- Flashlight (in case of power cut)
- Camera, portable battery
- Soccer ball with a pump, color pencils, school equipments to donate on the way (more info about donation)
More for nights in Homestay
- sweatshirt, big socks…. The nights can be cold in the mountain from December to February
- Thin bath towel, soap, toilet paper….
- Swimsut to take shower in the village
- Sleeping bag line
More for Motorcycle tours
- Camel bag (1.5 litres) or bag waterproof
- Cyclist bib short
- Thermal tee-shirt with long sleeves (to use during your riding days - easy to wash and dry out during the night)
- Waterproof dive bag 30 liters to tie up on the rack of your bike (clothes, personnal stuff)
- Anti-dust mask (in case it make things complicated, you can find some in town at Luang Prabang)
- Thick socks (in case of your boots are a bit too big, it can help a lot)