Southeast Asia’s Laos, commonly known as the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, is between Thailand and Vietnam. Laos, less industrialized and affluent than its neighbors, gives travelers an idea of Southeast Asia five to 10 years ago. The inhabitants welcome visitors and are proud of demonstrating to visitors their stunning nation because the economy is primarily dependent on tourism and foreign aid. Traveling in Laos is more uncomfortable than in Thailand or Vietnam, but it is undoubtedly more exciting.
Essential Laos travel information
Currency – Laos’ official currency is the Lao Kip. 1 US dollar equals 17,130.273 Lao Kip.
Daily budget for one person – $25-$50
Language – Lao is a member of the family of tonal Tai-Kadai languages spoken in Southeast Asia. The main Lao dialects are Southern Lao, Vientiane Lao, Western Lao, Central Lao, and Northeastern Lao.
Top 3 cities to visit – Houay Xai, Vientiane, and Pakbeng
Top 3 landmarks/monuments – The Royal Palace, Mount Phousi, and Kuangsi Falls
Socket type – In Laos, 230V and 50Hz are all electrical outlets’ standard voltage and frequency.
Time zone –UTC/GMT +7 hours
Visa information for Laos
If they do not come from one nation that does not require visas, visitors to Laos must apply for a visa at one of the country’s diplomatic missions or online.
Typical costs and budget for Laos
Daily spending – ₭315,300 ($18)
Meals – ₭120,610 ($7.00)
Transport – ₭42,935 ($2.49)
Hotel – ₭248,277 ($14).
Transport and best ways to travel around Laos
Standard buses connect provincial centers with surrounding neighborhoods and offer affordable transportation between large towns. However, these buses are extreme tests of endurance and patience because of their crammed, overloaded, and undersized Lao frame design.
Away from the Mekong Valley, sawngthaews—converted pickup trucks—which drivers jam as many passengers as they can into—often take the place of the bus network in rural areas. Passengers are squeezed onto two facing benches in the rear, and latecomers are left to hang over the back of the vehicle. At the same time, their feet are propped up on a running board, a situation that, on a rough road, is comparable to inland windsurfing.
Although renting a private vehicle is pricey, there are times when it is the only way to reach specific locations. Self-driving is a choice; there are just a few agencies in Vientiane where you may hire a car.
Renting a motorcycle is among the most significant ways to see the natural surroundings. But, tragically, this is solely a choice in tourist-friendly locations like Vientiane, Vang Vieng, Luang Prabang, Thakhek, and Pakse. As a result, you’re frequently restricted to smaller bikes, typically 100cc step-throughs like the Honda Dream.
Safety in Laos
Laos is a generally secure country, but because of widespread poverty, there are incredibly high violent and property crime rates. Therefore, to reduce the likelihood of something going wrong, you should exercise caution and take all reasonable safety precautions.
Petty crime is quite dangerous. Because pickpockets occur almost daily, you should always be cautious when handling your valuables and avoid carrying cash in your pockets or purse. Congested areas like markets, bus and public transportation hubs, and train stations are the most dangerous.
In Laos, violent crime is not unheard of. Although the likelihood of being robbed or kidnapped is low, there are some places you should stay away from. Keep your possessions close by you at all times since robberies and muggers have increased recently in this nation.
Weather in Laos
Compared to much of Asia, Laos has a relatively simple weather system, and despite having two distinct weather seasons, you can go there year-round because there is no coastline to impact things. It has two seasons: a dry season (late October to early April) and a rainy season (late May to late September). There are differences in temperature within each season, with March and April, the dry months before the wet season, and May and June, the first few months of the rainy season, often being the warmest months of the year.
Famous Cities and Towns in Laos
Savannakhet: The southern province of Laos has its capital at Savannakhet. This peaceful and relaxed city is located on the Mekong River, about 6 kilometers from Thailand’s border. The downtown area still has numerous historic colonial structures from when it was a prominent French commercial station.
Nong Khiaw is a little town on the Nam Ou River’s banks. It has a lovely setting with towering limestone mountains, beautiful river vistas, and a true sense of the local culture. This charming “off-the-grid” community is situated adjacent to angular limestone on the banks of the tranquil Ou River.
Vientiane: In the past 20 years, Vientiane, often considered a peaceful backwater, has seen significant change. This picturesque city on a broad bend of the Mekong is more like a loose confederation of villages than a flourishing major metropolis in many aspects. Like many other cities in Laos, it is filled with Buddhist temples and French colonial buildings on every boulevard and tree-lined street.
Must do and see in Laos
Vang Vieng: Vang Vieng is known as the party capital of Laos, and a trip there wouldn’t be complete otherwise. The area used to be known for its dance bars and drunkenness. But following government intervention, the site has been renovated. As a result, adventure sports like mountain climbing and tubing are prevalent.
Luang Prabang: One of Laos’s most popular tourist destinations, Luang Prabang features all the standard attractions, including temples and a royal museum. Visitors may explore the city on a rental bicycle.
Kuang Si Waterfall: Laos is home to several stunning waterfalls, but one of the most incredible places to see a waterfall in Laos is Kuang Si Waterfall, which stands out due to its blue water, stunning surroundings, and swarms of butterflies that give the region a mystical feel. A beautiful area for swimming and locals claim that the fish also cure feet!
Typical Laos food to try
Laap: Any meat processed immediately after slaughtering is referred to as laap. This meal, frequently consumed raw and always fresh, is a staple of Laotian cuisine.
Paeng Pet: It’s highly typical in Laos to consume raw goat, pig, or duck blood.
Jaew: Jaew is a general term for any dipping sauce, which Laos has an endless supply of. These recipes typically include some grilled vegetables, which gives them a distinctive smoky flavor, chili peppers, and occasionally fermented fish.
Fun facts about Laos
An unknown pottery site is located there.
The same language is used in Thailand and Laos.
In terms of waterfalls, Laos is the motherland.
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Indian nationals are exempt from making a preliminary Laosvisa application. They can obtain a visa upon arrival in Laos if they have legitimate travel documents. A 30-day Laos visa is provided upon arrival. Every traveler entering Laos needs a passport that will be good for at least six months after that.
Yes. The maximum extension period is fifteen days; getting one is relatively easy.
Indians are not likely to be turned down. However, the documents mentioned earlier are required to enter the nation. You risk having your visa rejected and being prevented from entering the country if you don’t present all of the necessary documentation. The immigration staff at the Laos airport has the last say on whether to issue entrance permission.
Typically, the entire visa-on-arrival process takes around 20 minutes. The time might change, though, based on when people are traveling the most.
All applicants are highly advised to secure travel insurance to safeguard their trip against unforeseen events like medical emergencies, plane cancellations, luggage delays or losses, etc.