In the country of muddy waters, cheap beer and fried rice, you will find a stunning, incredible land to fall in love with.
What is it about this inefficient, dirty, dangerous, dazzling darling that makes so many travellers accidentally stay for longer than they planned, and yet others suffer from Laos withdrawals long after they forced themselves away? Visit Laos and you will not have to ask.
We are hoping that you will find some useful information to plan your Laos Travel here on our Laos travel guide and once you get back, feel free to send us your story for our blog. Happy Laos travels!
Jump to: Geography – Climate – Money – Visa – Travel – History – Culture – Language – Food
Laos is a landlocked country with the mighty Mekong and stunning tall mountains with plenty of forest. The capital is called Vientiane and it cover an area equivalent to the UK but with only 6 million inhabitants.
Laos has two seasons, the dry and the rainy. The best time to travel to Laos is in October/November when it is starting to cool down, has stopped raining and hordes of tourist hasn’t taken over everywhere. During the warmest part of the year, temperature rise to 35 degrees celsius and the heat takes most of your energy.
The currency in Laos is called Kip but isn’t internationally recognized. You need to bring dollars, baths or credit cards seeing as you can’t exchange money prior to travelling to Laos. Cities like Vientiane, Luang Prabang and Nong Khiaw all has ATMs so you needn’t worry about stocking up on cash. However you need to get used to things costing tens of thousands of kip (10,000 kip = 1,25 USD ) and a night at a guesthouse might be 100,000 kip = 12,5 USD).
Most nationalities need a visa to travel to Laos. This is easily obtained at the border before entering Laos. You need two pictures, around 60 USD in cash, your passport and that normally gives you a 30 day tourist visa. It is possible to extend the tourist visa twice for 30 days each after which you have to leave the country.
Getting to Laos is possible through air (Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Pakse and Houxsay), bus and boat. Depending on what country you travel from, the crossings will be different.
The Laos history is as muddy as the water in the Mekong and has as many ingredients. The French dominated for a long time, before them aristocracy from Thailand and the Burmese fought over the Laos landstrip. The county also has a history of being a silent victim of the bombings during the Vietnam War.
Laos is a buddhist country and the number of monks account for that. Visitors to Luang Prabang usually make themselves get up crazy early to watch the procession of monks during alms giving. Pretty temples is also another major appeal.
The most widely spoken language in Laos is called Lao. It sounds similar to how they speak in the Northern and western Thailand. Usually, Lao people can understand Thai pretty well. Lao is a tonal language with a fairly easy grammar but many different dialects. There are also many minority languages like Hmong or Khmu. English is widely spoken in areas that experience tourism.
Laos food is usually describe as similar to Thai, however there is a lot of differences. Larp is a cold salad made of either chicken, pork or tofu, that earns a great reputation. Sticky rice is vital in most Lao meals as well as omelettes, soups and dippings. Make sure to try hot pots while in Lao, they’re a interactive and fun eat.