TRAVEL THAILAND & BEYOND
 
 
  

 

Laos
Hotel Descriptions
Luang Prabang
Provinces
Vientiane
Tour Packages
Luang Prabang
World Heritage Site
2 Days / 1 Night
3 Days / 2 Nights
4 Days / 3 Nights
5 Days / 4 Nights
Vientiane City
and Luang Prabang
4 Days / 3 Nights
5 Days / 4 Nights
Lao Discovery Tours
4 Days / 3 Nights
Pakse, Sekong, Attapeu, Pakse
5 Days / 4 Nights
Vientiane, Xieng Khouang, Luang Prabang
6 Days / 5 Nights
Vientiane, Vang Vieng, Luang Prabang
7 Days / 6 Nights
Vientiane, Vang Vieng, Luang Prabang, Pakbeng, Houexai
8 Days / 7 Nights
Houexai, Pakbeng, Luang Prabang, Vientiane, Pakse, Vat Phou, Bolovan Plateau
Cruises
Luangsay
Vat Phou
Travel Information
Country Information
Tourist Tips & Guides
Tourist Destinations
Luang Prabang
Provinces
Vientiane

 

 

Tourist Tips & Guides
Lao's People Democratic Republic

ACCOMMODATION
Both Vientiane and Luang Prabang offer accommodation of highest international standard. Throughout the country however accommodation ranges from standard hotel in the bigger cities to basic guesthouse standard in more remote areas.

AIRPORT TAX
Please note that the following Airport Taxes are payable:
US$ 10 net per person for international departure
Kip 5,000 per person for domestic departure
Above mentioned charges are current and subject to change without prior notice.

ARRIVAL FORMALITIES - IMMIGRATION
During your flight to Laos or upon arrival at the Border checkpoint, an Arrival/Departure Card and a Customs Declaration Form will be handed to you. Please fill this in and proceed then to the Immigration desk.
If you are obtaining your visa upon arrival please fill in the appropriate form and obtain then first your visa at the visa counter before proceeding to the Immigration desk (please see details under VISA)

BORDERS
Overland border crossings are possible at various points to all neighboring countries. This changes regularly and please write to us to get the latest information.

CLIMATE
Laos Enjoys a tropical climate with three distinct seasons:

Hot season : March - May
Rainy season : June - October
Cool season : November - February

The best season to visit is the cool season during the Winter month. Please note however that in the mountain areas the temperatures can drop very low during this period.

CANCELLATION FEES
If hotels, restaurant or vehicle hire companies charge Insight Laos a penalty for cancellations received less than 30 days prior to arrival, these cancellation fees will be invoiced to clients.

CLOTHING
Comfortable cloth and walking shoes are most suitable for travelling through Laos. Sunscreen lotion and a hat are strongly recommended. There are no places where knees and shoulders have to be covered so shorts and skirts are fine, however please do respect the culture and traditions of Laos.

During the cool season it is necessary to take along a pullover or jacket as the nights can be very cool, especially in the mountainous areas as Luang Prabang, Plain of Jars, Pakbeng and Houeixai. We even recommend bringing along a windproof jacket if travelling in these areas during the winter month.

If travelling during the rainy season a raincoat is essential!

CREDIT CARDS
Credit cards are only accepted at major hotels. It is possible to withdraw money from certain banks with a credit card but this is very time-consuming.

CURRENCY AND EXCHANGE
The local currency is the KIP. The exchange rate in October 2002 is approximately 1,000 Kip to one US Dollar. Money can be changed at major hotels, banks and moneychangers. Travelers' cheques are not widely accepted but can be changed at most banks. It is easiest to travel to Laos with US Dollars in cash, including small denominations (one and five dollar bills). US Dollars are accepted almost everywhere, including local markets.

CUSTOMS
International rules apply for importing goods into Laos. Customs might however check your luggage carefully upon departure to ensure that you are not exporting antiques.

DOMESTIC FLIGHTS
All domestic flights within Laos are operated by Lao Aviation. There are flights to many destinations within the country, the main routes being Vientiane - Luang Prabang and Vientiane - Pakse.

Flights are operated by ATR 72 for the main routes and Y7 and Y12 for the more remote areas.

DRINKING WATER
Do NOT drink tap water bottled water is readily available everywhere. Ice is safe in the hotels but not recommended elsewhere. In local restaurants it is best to order only canned soft drinks and beer - avoid freshly made juices.

ELECTRICITY
Standard current used is 220 volts (or 50 Hz). Electricity supply in the bigger cities is regular, although most hotels and restaurants still have their own generators. However, power cuts should be expected in other parts of the country. It is a good idea to carry a torch (or flashlight).

FOOD
Laotian cuisine is very similar to Thai cuisine and can be very spicy. The staples are soup, rice and noodles, served stir fried or curried with meat, fish or vegetables. A wide choice of Western dishes is also available at restaurants in the main tourist areas.

GROUP SIZE
Please note that while large groups can be accepted for travel to Vientiane and Luang Prabang, maximum group size for travel beyond these two cities will depend on transportation and hotel capacities available.

HEALTH
Medical standards outside Vientiane are very basic. There are no compulsory vaccinations but we advise you to seek the advice of your doctor. Whilst the main areas are malaria-free, we recommend being careful. The best way to escape malaria is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes - in the evenings, wear trousers, socks and long sleeved shirts, and use insect repellent.

HEALTH INSURANCE
All visitors to Laos should have adequate health insurance, in particular covering evacuation in the event of a medical emergency. Although there are good doctors, hospitals are sadly lacking up-to-date medical equipment.

INTERNET
Internet access is available in all the major hotels and there are also plenty of Internet cafes in the main tourist areas with reliable connections at very reasonable prices.

INSURANCE
We strongly advise you to buy comprehensive travel insurance before traveling to Laos, covering medical treatment and medical evacuation.

INTERNATIONAL AIRLINES
Airlines flying from/to Laos are currently Lao Aviation, Thai Airways International, Bangkok Airways and Vietnam Airlines. International flight tickets should be reconfirmed - your tour guide will collect your tickets in order to reconfirm seats for you.

LANGUAGE
Lao is the principal language of Laos, although there are several ethnic groups who have their own languages. Many of the older people still speak French. However, the younger people are all learning English, which is now widely understood.

LOCAL TIME
Laos is 7 hours ahead of Greenwich time (same time zone as Thailand).

MEET AND GREET
Your guide will meet you after you have completed Immigration formalities, collected your luggage and passed through Customs.

PHOTOGRAPHY
Please use your discretion when taking photographs - it is polite to ask people before taking their picture. Laos is an exceptionally photogenic place don't underestimate how much film you will use in one day! Film (for colour prints) is readily available, however, if you need specialist equipment, please bring it with you.

POPULATION
Laos has an estimated population of 5.5 million. The nation's population density if one of the lowest in Asia, around 20 people per square kilometre.

POST & TELECOMMUNICATIONS
It is normally easy to make international calls from international hotels, although it is expensive. In the major cities and places telephone cabins are available for domestic and overseas calls. Phone cards can be purchased at the shops nearby or at Lao Telecom Company. International roaming is also available for Mobile Phones in the major cities.

The postal system is fairly reliable and inexpensive with mail routed via Thailand.

SHOPPING
Main items of interest to be bought in Laos are the beautiful hand woven silk and cotton tissues, wood or stone handicrafts, and precious stones. There are souvenir and handicraft shops in Luang Prabang and Vientiane but many handicrafts and arts

items can be found at the common markets. Bargaining is customary for souvenirs shops. Buyers should use caution when purchasing antiques since the export of antique items is subject to the approval of Ministry of Culture.

TIPPING
Tipping is not obligatory but a small tip is always welcome. Porters would expect at least 2000 Kip per bag.

TRADING HOURS
Government offices and most businesses are open from 0800 to 1130 hours and from 1330 to 1700 hours, Monday to Friday.

VISAS
Visas are required by all nationalities and your passport needs to be valid for at least 3 month. A tourist visa is valid for 15 days and can be extended an additional 15 days once you are in Laos.

Visa on arrival
If you arrive in Laos by air or enter via the Friendship Bridge from Thailand you can obtain your visa upon arrival. Your passport needs to be valid for at least 3 month, one passport picture is required and the fee is currently US$ 30 net per visa, payable in cash only. Please refer to "Arrival Formalities" for Immigration procedures.

Overseas visas
If you plan to enter Laos via on overland border point you have to obtain your visa in advance and for easy handling we recommend groups to get the it in advance in any case. To apply at a foreign mission abroad you require a visa authorization letter from our side. Kindly forward us your full personal details together with your passport number, date of issue and validity and we will issue the authorization letter with which you will be able to obtain the visa at the Embassy or Consulate near you.

 

 
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