Budget is one of the main concerns when planning a future trip. What is the cost for international flights ? What budget does it require to go on holidays in Laos? How much does a Laotian meal cost? Marion and Jeremy, our experts at local travel agency ORLA Tours, answer all these questions that our travelers regularly ask. First of all, it is necessary to differentiate back-pack travelling from trips organized by an agency. The first one is in autonomy using public transportation and sleeping in dormitories. The second one includes trips by minivan or private boat, accompaniment by a professional Laotian guide and a driver, and of course a team that designs and organizes your trip. The budgets will be quite different.
Forget your preconceived ideas about low cost life in Laos.
Compared to European countries, for sure, Laos is not expensive. However, in comparison to Vietnam or Thailand, prices in Laos are almost twice higher. You must know that it is a landlocked country, with no access to the sea, and isolated in the mountains. Mostly rural, it has only very few industry companies. Thus, Laos imports most of its products from neighboring countries. It is therefore necessary to add to the initial prices, the transportation costs and the margin of the reseller. At first sight, it may seem surprising, but we also find these disparities in the cost of living in Europe for example between Norway, France and Portugal.
What are the average prices for international flight from Europe ?
Let's take the example of a French traveler. Prices for international flights way and back France-Laos are in the range of 700 to 1000€. The average price is between 800 and 850 euros. The best deals are usually 3 or 4 months before the departure date and weekday flights are cheaper than those during a weekend.
Our little tip: the skyscanner.net & optionway.com websites. It generally offers correct flight times at very attractive rates. It also allows to have a price overview over several weeks thanks to searches made by other users. This is great to geta look at dates and prices which greatly facilitates research.
There are three international airports in Laos: LuangPrabang in the north, Vientiane in the center, and Pakse in the south. You should know that from France, there will be at least one stop in Bangkok or Hanoi.
How much does a meal cost in Laos ?
The price of a meal depends first of all on whether you want to eat local food or Western. You will find many stalls and small restaurants where you can enjoy a "pheu" (local soup), a fried rice, simple and healthy dishes with rice, for 2 or 3 euros.
The atmosphere is very typical with the cleanliness that goes along... It is not as sanitized as in Europe but the food is fresh.
If you want to eat western dishes (pizza, burgers, pasta, it can do a lot of good when you're fed up with rice) or if you go to Laos restaurants more "appetizing", the price is rather between 6 and 8 euros. You will find them in the tourist areas of cities.
Then, if you are looking for more sophisticated restaurants with hygiene standards close to European, it should rather be around 10 or 20 euros per person, or even more if you go to luxury establishments.
What is the cost of the accommodation ?
In the cities, there is a very wide offer that goes from the guesthouse with dormitory rooms to the luxury hotel, through the small charming hotel with or without swimming pool. Out of tourist places, the supply of accommodation decreases sharply. There are only small local guesthouses, with comfort and cleanliness often limited ... For guesthouses in town, it costs around 5 euros per night or less if you're in a dormitory. They are often filled with backpackers returning late at night after partying. To sleep in a private room, it is necessary to spend between 10 and 40 euros. There are many charming hotels with often beautiful gardens or pools, their rooms are between 60 to 100 euros depending on the time period of the year. And you can also find luxury hotels whose prices have no limit ... For your info, prices posted on sites such as Agoda or Booking, are often promotional offers. They are therefore much cheaper than those to which we have access as a small agency.
The cost of an organized trip depends on several factors
Our agency Off Road Laos Adventures designs tailor-made trips for private groups. We offer several adaptive packages (airport transfer options, hotel reservations before and after your tour, etc ...). These options can reduce or increase the price by 15%.
The choice of the range of accommodation also plays a major role in the price of your trip (night homestay, local guesthouse, comfortable hotel with swimming pool or luxury hotel).
Note that the number of participants is the main factor that determines the price of your stay. Fixed costs are shared among the different members of the group. They include your guide and your driver (their meals and accommodation), your minivan and gas, boat rides, government taxes ... Thus, the price per person will be twice as low for a group of 6 as for a group of 2 participants.
Cost of a trip in Laos with a local agency
To summarize, we can say that the budget for a discovery trip or trekking costs on average 100 to 250 € per day and per person depending on the options chosen and the number of participants. Or 700 € per week if you are 6, and about 1750 € if you are a couple. For example, for a group of 4 participants, it costs 120 to 150 € per day per person.
Fixed costs include guide and driver services, food and accommodation, minivan and gas, boat, and fixed taxes due to the government.
For a motorcycle tour of one week, the budget is around 1 400 to 1 900 euros per person, all inclusive. Fixed costs include guide services, food and accommodation, motorcycle and gas, and fixed taxes due to the government.
Budgets from 20 to 50 € per day are possible if you travel saving on each service and looking for the cheapest in disregard of quality. Traveling hitchhiking, eating only in small stalls and sleeping in dormitories, as some blogs describe it. But this budget does not allow a trip organized by an agency.
Do not look for the cheapest trek or trip but the one organized by an agency that pays the guides, the people welcoming you for your nights and the ones who organize your trip.
In general, we consider that lowering the price of a trip at all costs leads to the exploitation of our local partners as well as the loss of quality control of our tours.
Off Road Laos Adventures is committed to providing you with the highest quality of service while respecting our partners.