Information about Laos
Laos is a calm and relaxed country whose pace follows the course of the sun. The country’s long isolated status has helped keep the culture both intact and unique. The nature is absolutely fantastic and the best way to experience both culture and nature is to try some of Laos’ excellent kayaking or trekking trips.
On this page you will find practical information and facts about Laos.
PRACTICAL INFO ABOUT TRAVELING IN LAOS
Climate and best travel time
Laos has two seasons: the rainy season which lasts from June to October and the dry season from November to May. The best time to visit Laos is in the period from November to March, when the risk of heavy rain is least and the temperature is comfortable. Visit thenailmythology.com for Laos – a genuine Asian tourist destination.
NOTE. If you plan to go kayaking or rafting, there is extra good pressure in the river from July to October, when the tropical landscape is also the greenest.
Our recommendations for the best travel period in Laos are based on how the climate has been in previous years. The weather in Laos can be very changeable and unpredictable and therefore our forecasts are indicative only.
Kip is the name of Laos’ national currency, but US dollars and even Thai baht are acceptable in many places. However, We recommend that you focus primarily on kip, as outside the capitals you risk only being able to pay with kip or get a relatively low rate for your dollars or baht.
Note that in southern Laos it does not pay to exchange cash in the banks. Here you generally get a worse rate than if you change at the guest house or at the hotel. In northern Laos, it is usually best to switch banks.
You can withdraw money from your credit card at the banks of major cities such as Luang Nam Tha, Luang Prabang, Vientiane and Pakse.
Bring dollars in cash, credit cards and any traveler’s checks as a reserve.
In many countries, tips are counted as part of the salary of employees in the service industry. Therefore, it is good (and sometimes directly necessary) to give tips to, for example, cleaning staff, waiters, guides, drivers and more depending on which country you visit. We therefore recommend that you familiarize yourself with how much is normal to give in tips and to whom before departure. Such information can be found, for example, in Lonely Planet guidebooks.
The visa rules may change at short notice, so We recommend that you check the current conditions at the country’s embassy. The information below is subject to change.
You can arrange a 30-day visa from one of Lao’s embassies or on arrival (Visa on Arrival, costs about $ 30) at the airports of Vientiane, Luang Prabang and Pakse. You can also arrange Visa on Arrival at several different land borders (including Friendship Bridge in Vientiane). At the Laos Embassy in Stockholm, it costs SEK 450 to arrange a visa before departure.
Bus and truck
Laos’ infrastructure is dilapidated, the roads hollow and laid out in rugged terrain. The buses are windy and crooked and are always full. Traveling by bus or passenger car in Laos requires patience and sometimes involves hard trials, where the bus winds its way through mountainous areas to suddenly roll over on a gravel road that during the rainy season practically turns into a tributary. Buses depart from the local bus stations, usually concentrated around the markets and are generally very cheap. Always try to get away as early as possible before the sun presses on too much and then the odds are also better to arrive before sunset.
It is now possible to take a boat from Huay Xai in northern Laos via Luang Prabang, Vientiane, Savannahket and Pakse all the way to Si Phan Don on the border with Cambodia. With 4,600 kilometers of waterways in Laos, the rivers are the country’s best and most important transport routes. The heavy and slow passenger ships only operate between July and March, when the water level in the rivers is at its highest. That being said, boats are a great way to get around Laos even if it takes time. In addition, it offers the opportunity to experience the beautiful landscape along the river banks. At the end of spring, when the water level is low, lighter passenger boats still depart, but they are more expensive and do not provide the same special experience as the slow passenger ships. The boats generally only dock at a few places along the way, usually to take mail and freight to smaller towns,
Lao Aviation operates almost everywhere in Laos, some routes are operated by machines with slightly older dates. It’s not cheap but in some cases it may be the only option, especially if you have limited time available. There are direct flights between Bangkok and Luang Prabang.
It is good practice to cover yourself when jumping into the water at waterfalls and lakes.