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Laos, a tranquil haven where peace resides

Asia Encounter stands proudly as the unwavering companion to every traveler who yearns to turn their Asia dream into a reality.

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INSIGHTS

A journey of tranquility and timeless traditions

start_quote end_quote Laos, a tranquil haven that has become the essence of my heart. The Mekong River flows as a silent storyteller, carrying the whispers of a resilient people. Luang Prabang's ancient grace and the golden stupas echo with a spiritual harmony that transcends time. Amidst emerald landscapes and mist-kissed mountains, a natural hymn plays, stirring the soul. In the simplicity of Laotian life, there is a profound beauty, an invitation to pause and embrace the serenity. Laos, where peace resides, and the beauty of a humble culture captures the spirit with every step.

hl_avatar Kata Tran |Travel Expert
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Trip inspiration

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Vietnam Cambodia and Laos tours
calendar 22 DAYS
Indochina - A mesmerizing 22-day adventure
location

Hanoi → Pu Luong → Ninh Binh → Lan Ha Bay → Hoi An → Ho Chi Minh City → Cu Chi Tunnels → Mekong Delta → Phnom Penh → Siem Reap → Luang Prabang

Embark on an unforgettable adventure through the enchanting Vietnam Cambodia and Laos tours, where ancient wonders intertwine with serene spiritual havens.

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Where to go

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Southern Laos

On the Southern Laos tour, you can witness nature orchestrating a symphony where the legacy of Vat Phou, the grandeur of Khone Phapheng, the serenity of the 4000 Islands, and the grace of Li Phi waterfall dance together in perfect harmony, inviting you to witness the heartbeat of the land.

DISCOVER MORE
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Vientiane

The Vientiane tour, Laos' capital, involves wandering through Buddha Park's surreal sculptures, exploring the Mekong River's tranquil promenade, and savouring Lao cuisine in bustling markets.

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Xieng Khuang

Step into the enchanting realm of the Xieng Khuang tour, where the whispers of ancient times resonate amidst the Plain of Jars and tranquil echoes linger in the serene corners of Wat Piawat, inviting you on a spiritual journey amidst the lush landscapes that cradle this hidden gem.

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Vang Vieng

Set off an unforgettable journey on the Vang Vieng tour, where the landscape unfolds as nature's playground. Discover a harmonious blend of tranquilly and adventure, as limestone karst formations provide a stunning backdrop for serene moments and thrilling experiences alike

DISCOVER MORE
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Nong Khiaw & Muang Ngoi

Embark on an enchanting journey to the Nong Khiaw - Muang Ngoi tour, where the untouched charms of the Nam Ou River converge with nature. With quaint riverside towns, slow-paced boat rides, and invigorating treks to Tad Mok waterfalls, this hidden gem unfolds an authentic Laos.

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Luang Prabang tour

On the Luang Prabang tour, embark on a journey to explore the soulful symphony where culture and nature harmonize effortlessly. Wander through the UNESCO World Heritage Site's ancient streets, adorned with well-preserved temples and traditional Lao architecture.

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Southern Laos

On the Southern Laos tour, you can witness nature orchestrating a symphony where the legacy of Vat Phou, the grandeur of Khone Phapheng, the serenity of the 4000 Islands, and the grace of Li Phi waterfall dance together in perfect harmony, inviting you to witness the heartbeat of the land.

DISCOVER MORE
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Vientiane

The Vientiane tour, Laos' capital, involves wandering through Buddha Park's surreal sculptures, exploring the Mekong River's tranquil promenade, and savouring Lao cuisine in bustling markets.

DISCOVER MORE
xieng-khuang-laos.jpeg

Xieng Khuang

Step into the enchanting realm of the Xieng Khuang tour, where the whispers of ancient times resonate amidst the Plain of Jars and tranquil echoes linger in the serene corners of Wat Piawat, inviting you on a spiritual journey amidst the lush landscapes that cradle this hidden gem.

DISCOVER MORE
vang-vieng-laos.jpg

Vang Vieng

Set off an unforgettable journey on the Vang Vieng tour, where the landscape unfolds as nature's playground. Discover a harmonious blend of tranquilly and adventure, as limestone karst formations provide a stunning backdrop for serene moments and thrilling experiences alike

DISCOVER MORE
Nong-Khiaw-Muang-Ngoi-laos.jpeg

Nong Khiaw & Muang Ngoi

Embark on an enchanting journey to the Nong Khiaw - Muang Ngoi tour, where the untouched charms of the Nam Ou River converge with nature. With quaint riverside towns, slow-paced boat rides, and invigorating treks to Tad Mok waterfalls, this hidden gem unfolds an authentic Laos.

DISCOVER MORE
Kuangsi-waterfalls-asia-encounter-2.jpg

Luang Prabang tour

On the Luang Prabang tour, embark on a journey to explore the soulful symphony where culture and nature harmonize effortlessly. Wander through the UNESCO World Heritage Site's ancient streets, adorned with well-preserved temples and traditional Lao architecture.

DISCOVER MORE

Why book with Asia Encounter?

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Emotion Made Real

Transforming emotions into reality lies at the very heart of our purpose. We believe that travel should be a soul-stirring experience, one that not only captivates your senses but also leaves an indelible mark on your heart.

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Immersive & Authentic Journey

Our deep love for Asia ignites the creation of immersive journeys that go beyond the tourist trail. We delve deep into each destination and curate the best experiences. Discover Asia in a way that's authentic, up-to-date, and always exciting.

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Cultural Respect & Sustainability

We prioritize sustainability and respect for local cultures, ensuring that your travel leaves a positive impact on the places you visit. Travel with us and be a part of preserving cultures and protecting the environment.

arrow left arrow right
home_wb_1.png

Emotion Made Real

Transforming emotions into reality lies at the very heart of our purpose. We believe that travel should be a soul-stirring experience, one that not only captivates your senses but also leaves an indelible mark on your heart.

home_wb_2.png

Immersive & Authentic Journey

Our deep love for Asia ignites the creation of immersive journeys that go beyond the tourist trail. We delve deep into each destination and curate the best experiences. Discover Asia in a way that's authentic, up-to-date, and always exciting.

home_wb_3.png

Cultural Respect & Sustainability

We prioritize sustainability and respect for local cultures, ensuring that your travel leaves a positive impact on the places you visit. Travel with us and be a part of preserving cultures and protecting the environment.

Travel guide

Check lastest articles from our blog. All about News, Tips & Guides, Infrgraphics

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LAOS 7 ways to explore the charms of Southern Laos

Nestled along the Mekong River, Southern Laos beckons travelers with its tranquil landscapes, rich cultural tapestry, and a unique blend of tradition...


tat-mok-waterfall.jpeg
LAOS Discover Laos' most famous waterfalls

From thunderous torrents to serene cascades hidden in the jungle, Laos offers a waterfall experience that caters to every adventurer's soul...


arrow left arrow right
mekong-cruise-laos.jpeg
LAOS 7 ways to explore the charms of Southern Laos

Nestled along the Mekong River, Southern Laos beckons travelers with its tranquil landscapes, rich cultural tapestry, and a unique blend of tradition...


tat-mok-waterfall.jpeg
LAOS Discover Laos' most famous waterfalls

From thunderous torrents to serene cascades hidden in the jungle, Laos offers a waterfall experience that caters to every adventurer's soul...


READ ALL POSTS
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FAQS

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Is it safe to travel to Laos?

Laos is largely a safe country with thousands of tourists enjoying trouble-free holidays there every year. While there are some off-limits areas, which contain unexploded bombs left over from warfare. Respecting these boundaries is crucial to protect you from the potential bombs. In any destinations in the world, tourists are usually looked on as easy targets for theft, bag snatching and other petty crimes. And in Laos, it is no different. So, it is wise to take usual precautions to protect your belongings and personal safety. Take a camera strap and a money belt (or small bag) to carry your money, passport and valuables with you, and don't leave any valuables in your hotel room. Remain vigilant around your belongings, especially in crowded areas. Always choose well-lit paths and streets, especially when you travel alone or at night.

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Do I need a visa to travel to Laos?

If you are a citizen of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Japan, South Korea, Russia and Switzerland, you can travel to Laos visa-free. Other nationalities are required to obtain a tourist visa. Currently, tourist visa on arrival is available to citizens of most countries, including the US, the UK, the EU, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. It can be obtained at all international airports and most international border crossings in Laos, and generally permit a stay of 30 days. To obtain it, you need a passport with at least six months validity remaining from the date of entry and at least two blank visa pages, one passport-sized photo, the name of a hotel, and the visa fee of USD 30 to USD 42 in cash depending on your nationality. Note: Visa requirements may change from time to time, so it is advisable to consult the Lao Embassy for the up-to-date information.

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What's the weather like in Laos?

Laos is belonging to tropical and subtropical monsoon climate, specifically, it is tropical in the plains, and subtropical in the mountains and the far north. It's also governed by the monsoons: the winter monsoon from November to April when the weather is good and cool; and the summer monsoon from May to October when the weather is rainy. So Laos has two distinct weather seasons: a dry season (or cool season, from November to April) and a wet season (or hot season, from May to late October). During the dry season, the temperatures are usually no higher than 30 °C, and cool enough in the evenings when you may need long sleeves or a light jacket. It doesn't rain much at this time. During the wet season, the weather is hot with temperatures reaching 35 °C and above, and has thunderstorm in the afternoon or at dusk. The hottest weather is typically in May and June, and the heaviest rainfall is generally in August and September, especially in the southern part of Laos.

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When is the best time to visit Laos?

As for the best time to visit, it depends. If you want the best weather, visit Laos during the dry season, especially from November to February which is the coolest part of this season. However, as the dry season is the best time to visit, these are also more travelers, it may be crowded and the prices may rise. It is advisable to plan ahead and make reservations in advance. If you'd like to visit Laos at a quieter time, the wet season is considerable. Thought it rains heavily, it usually lasts for an hour or two a day. Then you'll find everything is greener after the sun comes out.

home_bg_break

What the local currency and what currency should I take?

The local currency in Laos is the Lao Kip (LAK); LAK is used for most transactions, but US dollars and Thai Baht are also acceptable in popular tourist cities and towns, such as Luang Prabang and Vientiane. Generally, LAK is expected for smaller purchases, and dollars or baht for more expensive purchases. It's easy to exchange US Dollars or Thai Baht in Laos. So, we recommend exchanging the amount you need when you are in Laos. Credit cards are also acceptable in airports, major hotels and shopping malls, etc.

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Can I connect Wi-Fi in Laos?

Free Wi-Fi is available in many hotels and cafes in the main tourist destinations in Laos.

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What are the best souvenirs to buy in Laos?

Recommended souvenirs to buy in Laos are: Phaa sin, a traditional wraparound skirt available in many regional patterns in most markets and small shops around the country. You can find it is worn by many Lao women from school students to government officials. Silk products and textiles woven by bare hands using wild silk and intricately dyed. They feature creative models and high-quality craftsmanship and are available in various types like clothes, bed sheets, blankets and table-cover.

home_bg_break

 What are the accommodations like?

In each location, we strive to use charming accommodations that are locally owned and characteristic of the area. These range from charming, family-run bed & breakfasts to luxurious, boutique hotels. Most hotels have private baths, hot water and clean, comfortable rooms except in instances where noted such as a homestay or rural family-run guesthouse. We strive to also find hotels in good locations, whether that be walking distance to main attractions, or out of the city if it is consistently noisy. Larger hotels are used in metropolitan areas as typically these are the only available options.

home_bg_break

Do I need a converter/adapter for the electricity?

Laos generally uses 230V, 50Hz electricity. They use types A, B, C, E and F power sockets. It is recommended to bring a converter or to purchase one upon arrival. You will need a converter throughout Laos.

home_bg_break

Are meals included?

Most meals are included for travelers as well as your guide. You will need help translating the menus, and thus the guide will typically eat with you unless you specify a different arrangement. Occasionally meals will be up to you, particularly when you are in a larger city with many restaurant options that cater to tourists. This gives you freedom to eat what you want to try, and your tour guide can give you restaurant recommendations in these scenarios.

home_bg_break

What type of food is typical of Laos?

Lao cuisine, while not 'discovered' on the international cuisine scene, is quite savory and will tantalize your palate. Most similarly linked to northern Thai cuisine, Lao cuisine staples include sticky rice, padaek (a type of fermented fish paste/sauce) combined with a variety of vegetables and dipping sauces. Meats are often added only as a supplement, such as goat, duck, chicken, pork, and freshwater fish. Spices used include lemongrass, ginger, garlic, chilies, lime leaves, mint, cilantro, & shallots. Meats are often grilled or ground up into a spiced mixture. Fish and chicken-based soups with noodles and vegetables are also common, along with spicy greens and salads.

home_bg_break

What type of transportation is used?

Our Laos trips utilize a variety of transportation including private vans/cars, internal flights, etc. We use a mix of private/public transit to provide travelers with the safest and most efficient transportation in each area. Occasionally, we may include non-typical transportation modes (tuk-tuk, bicycle, ferry, taxi, etc.) for short distances to give travelers a sense of local flavor. Each tour itinerary page has a description of the transportation included on that tour. If you have additional questions, just ask!

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What are the tour guides like?

Our tour leaders are exceptional! They are fluent in English and Lao, and some speak other rural dialects as well. Our tour leaders receive an official guide license after fulfilling a government training program. In addition, guides go through an Adventure Life training specific to our services and tours. Many were born and raised in the local areas where they guide and are among the very best guides available in each region. Some specialize in specific adventure activities as well, such as hiking. All of our tour leaders treat our travelers like friends, showing visitors both the major highlights and the local treasures.

home_bg_break

What is the typical age range on the Laos trips?

Typically, ages range from 25 to 65, however we have seen children as young as 6 and the "young at heart" as old as 90 on our trips!

home_bg_break

Are these trips a good choice for solo travelers?

Our Laos trips tend to attract a great mix of solo travelers, families, friends, etc. We can often match you up with another group traveling on one of the set tours, or one with a more customized twist so long as it lines up with your dates and budget.

home_bg_break

How much should I budget for tips?

Tips are not required on any of our tours. However, it is customary to offer a small tip for exceptional service. Tipping amounts vary widely, but we recommend $5-$7 per day for your guide and $2-$3 per day for a driver for a full day tour. Other travelers opt to bring small gifts from their home to give to service providers along the way.

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How far in advance should I book?

You can book your Laos trip at any time and generally the earlier you book, the better. Booking early (3 months or more recommended) is especially important for travelers visiting during the high season to ensure that first choice hotels are still available. Further, we usually recommend that you wait to book your international flights until after your tour is confirmed. The sooner that we arrange your tour, the sooner that you can take advantage of flight deals as they become available. We are often able to accommodate last minute travelers as well (some even departing in less than one week!!), so give us a call and we will do our best! For last minute bookings, it helps to be flexible and organized. Your first-choice hotel may not be available for your selected dates, but your trip planner can probably recommend some similar options that would be equally interesting!

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Are tour dates flexible?

Yes. Please contact us if you are not able to travel on the set departure dates listed online. Most tours can be arranged on alternative departure dates for a minimum of two travelers as long as hotels and a guide are available.

home_bg_break

Can I extend or change my stay?

Absolutely! Give us a call for suggestions in the region. We can easily arrange for extensions to other Southeast Asia destinations such as neighboring Cambodia, Vietnam or Thailand. Let us know how you would like to customize your trip and we will do our best to accommodate you.

home_bg_break

What should I pack?

You will receive a detailed packing list after you book your tour. Since the climate varies depending upon locations and season, it is difficult to offer many generalizations. Comfort is the rule and fancy clothes are not necessary for any of our Laos trips.

home_bg_break

Is the water safe to drink?

The tap water is generally NOT safe to drink anywhere in Laos. Bottled water is readily available at tourist sites, hotels, & restaurants, and hot water (boiled to make it safe) or hot tea is generally offered with a meal at a restaurant. Travelers can also use bottled water when brushing your teeth to be extra cautious.

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 Can I use my cell phone?

Depending on your provider, some mobile phones will receive a signal in major towns as Vientiane. You should contact your phone carrier to find out if your phone will work properly. Another option is to buy a local SIM card once you are in Laos if you do have an unlocked phone. It is advised to also double check your international calling rates with your provider. Services for making international phone calls are widely available in tourist areas. All major tourism centers offer internet access and some provide chat-webcams. Email is the cheapest and fastest way to communicate while traveling in Laos. The rate is usually around 1 minute/100 Kip in Vientiane.

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Is travel insurance recommended?

Absolutely! We work with a travel insurance company that provides reasonably priced insurance for trip cancellation, medical expenses, medical evacuation, lost bags, etc.

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What time zone is Laos?

Time zone in Laos is GMT + 7 (UTC+07:00). It is 7 hours ahead of London, 15 hours ahead of Vancouver, 12 hours ahead of New York, 3 hours behind Sydney, and 5 hours behind Auckland.

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Flights to Laos

Laos has four international airports as Luang Prabang, Vientiane, Savannakhet, and Pakse. Travelers mainly fly into either Vientiane or directly into Luang Prabang. Both airports have international flights as well as connections throughout Southeast Asia. Travelers who come from Euro or US need to transit in Thailand or Vietnam to connect with flights to one of these airports. Choosing which airport to use depends on your itinerary while in Laos. The flights to Pakse and Savannakhet are limited as only Laos Airlines operates flights through these airports.

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Language

The official language of Laos is Lao, a Southeast Asian language closely related to Thai. Laos was once a French colony, but French is no longer widely spoken. English is used in main tourist destinations and bigger cities. However, do not expect everyone to speak and understand English, especially in the countryside. Therefore, you will have to rely on non-verbal communication, something the Laotians are very good at. In the North where many Chinese immigrants and ethnic minorities live, Mandarin and minority languages are spoken as well. 

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Culture

Laos is a Buddhist country, which heavily influences daily life and cult.

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Get in & get out

As Laos is a landlocked country, besides flights, it is easy to reach it on land through neighboring countries.

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Crossing overland

Except for Myanmar, travelers can enter and exit Laos through many border points with Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and China. If you plan to visit North Laos first, you can cross borders with China, Vietnam, and Thailand. The most popular border point is through Chiang Khong in Thailand to reach Huay Xay, Laos where you take a slow boat to Luang Prabang. In case you want to enter or depart from the South of Laos, there is a border crossing with Cambodia at Nong Nok Khiene. It is 6km only far from 4000 islands in Champasak.

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Is it safe to travel to Laos?

Laos is largely a safe country with thousands of tourists enjoying trouble-free holidays there every year. While there are some off-limits areas, which contain unexploded bombs left over from warfare. Respecting these boundaries is crucial to protect you from the potential bombs. In any destinations in the world, tourists are usually looked on as easy targets for theft, bag snatching and other petty crimes. And in Laos, it is no different. So, it is wise to take usual precautions to protect your belongings and personal safety. Take a camera strap and a money belt (or small bag) to carry your money, passport and valuables with you, and don't leave any valuables in your hotel room. Remain vigilant around your belongings, especially in crowded areas. Always choose well-lit paths and streets, especially when you travel alone or at night.

Do I need a visa to travel to Laos?

If you are a citizen of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Japan, South Korea, Russia and Switzerland, you can travel to Laos visa-free. Other nationalities are required to obtain a tourist visa. Currently, tourist visa on arrival is available to citizens of most countries, including the US, the UK, the EU, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. It can be obtained at all international airports and most international border crossings in Laos, and generally permit a stay of 30 days. To obtain it, you need a passport with at least six months validity remaining from the date of entry and at least two blank visa pages, one passport-sized photo, the name of a hotel, and the visa fee of USD 30 to USD 42 in cash depending on your nationality. Note: Visa requirements may change from time to time, so it is advisable to consult the Lao Embassy for the up-to-date information.

What's the weather like in Laos?

Laos is belonging to tropical and subtropical monsoon climate, specifically, it is tropical in the plains, and subtropical in the mountains and the far north. It's also governed by the monsoons: the winter monsoon from November to April when the weather is good and cool; and the summer monsoon from May to October when the weather is rainy. So Laos has two distinct weather seasons: a dry season (or cool season, from November to April) and a wet season (or hot season, from May to late October). During the dry season, the temperatures are usually no higher than 30 °C, and cool enough in the evenings when you may need long sleeves or a light jacket. It doesn't rain much at this time. During the wet season, the weather is hot with temperatures reaching 35 °C and above, and has thunderstorm in the afternoon or at dusk. The hottest weather is typically in May and June, and the heaviest rainfall is generally in August and September, especially in the southern part of Laos.

When is the best time to visit Laos?

As for the best time to visit, it depends. If you want the best weather, visit Laos during the dry season, especially from November to February which is the coolest part of this season. However, as the dry season is the best time to visit, these are also more travelers, it may be crowded and the prices may rise. It is advisable to plan ahead and make reservations in advance. If you'd like to visit Laos at a quieter time, the wet season is considerable. Thought it rains heavily, it usually lasts for an hour or two a day. Then you'll find everything is greener after the sun comes out.

What the local currency and what currency should I take?

The local currency in Laos is the Lao Kip (LAK); LAK is used for most transactions, but US dollars and Thai Baht are also acceptable in popular tourist cities and towns, such as Luang Prabang and Vientiane. Generally, LAK is expected for smaller purchases, and dollars or baht for more expensive purchases. It's easy to exchange US Dollars or Thai Baht in Laos. So, we recommend exchanging the amount you need when you are in Laos. Credit cards are also acceptable in airports, major hotels and shopping malls, etc.

Can I connect Wi-Fi in Laos?

Free Wi-Fi is available in many hotels and cafes in the main tourist destinations in Laos.

What are the best souvenirs to buy in Laos?

Recommended souvenirs to buy in Laos are: Phaa sin, a traditional wraparound skirt available in many regional patterns in most markets and small shops around the country. You can find it is worn by many Lao women from school students to government officials. Silk products and textiles woven by bare hands using wild silk and intricately dyed. They feature creative models and high-quality craftsmanship and are available in various types like clothes, bed sheets, blankets and table-cover.

 What are the accommodations like?

In each location, we strive to use charming accommodations that are locally owned and characteristic of the area. These range from charming, family-run bed & breakfasts to luxurious, boutique hotels. Most hotels have private baths, hot water and clean, comfortable rooms except in instances where noted such as a homestay or rural family-run guesthouse. We strive to also find hotels in good locations, whether that be walking distance to main attractions, or out of the city if it is consistently noisy. Larger hotels are used in metropolitan areas as typically these are the only available options.

Do I need a converter/adapter for the electricity?

Laos generally uses 230V, 50Hz electricity. They use types A, B, C, E and F power sockets. It is recommended to bring a converter or to purchase one upon arrival. You will need a converter throughout Laos.

Are meals included?

Most meals are included for travelers as well as your guide. You will need help translating the menus, and thus the guide will typically eat with you unless you specify a different arrangement. Occasionally meals will be up to you, particularly when you are in a larger city with many restaurant options that cater to tourists. This gives you freedom to eat what you want to try, and your tour guide can give you restaurant recommendations in these scenarios.

What type of food is typical of Laos?

Lao cuisine, while not 'discovered' on the international cuisine scene, is quite savory and will tantalize your palate. Most similarly linked to northern Thai cuisine, Lao cuisine staples include sticky rice, padaek (a type of fermented fish paste/sauce) combined with a variety of vegetables and dipping sauces. Meats are often added only as a supplement, such as goat, duck, chicken, pork, and freshwater fish. Spices used include lemongrass, ginger, garlic, chilies, lime leaves, mint, cilantro, & shallots. Meats are often grilled or ground up into a spiced mixture. Fish and chicken-based soups with noodles and vegetables are also common, along with spicy greens and salads.

What type of transportation is used?

Our Laos trips utilize a variety of transportation including private vans/cars, internal flights, etc. We use a mix of private/public transit to provide travelers with the safest and most efficient transportation in each area. Occasionally, we may include non-typical transportation modes (tuk-tuk, bicycle, ferry, taxi, etc.) for short distances to give travelers a sense of local flavor. Each tour itinerary page has a description of the transportation included on that tour. If you have additional questions, just ask!

What are the tour guides like?

Our tour leaders are exceptional! They are fluent in English and Lao, and some speak other rural dialects as well. Our tour leaders receive an official guide license after fulfilling a government training program. In addition, guides go through an Adventure Life training specific to our services and tours. Many were born and raised in the local areas where they guide and are among the very best guides available in each region. Some specialize in specific adventure activities as well, such as hiking. All of our tour leaders treat our travelers like friends, showing visitors both the major highlights and the local treasures.

What is the typical age range on the Laos trips?

Typically, ages range from 25 to 65, however we have seen children as young as 6 and the "young at heart" as old as 90 on our trips!

Are these trips a good choice for solo travelers?

Our Laos trips tend to attract a great mix of solo travelers, families, friends, etc. We can often match you up with another group traveling on one of the set tours, or one with a more customized twist so long as it lines up with your dates and budget.

How much should I budget for tips?

Tips are not required on any of our tours. However, it is customary to offer a small tip for exceptional service. Tipping amounts vary widely, but we recommend $5-$7 per day for your guide and $2-$3 per day for a driver for a full day tour. Other travelers opt to bring small gifts from their home to give to service providers along the way.

How far in advance should I book?

You can book your Laos trip at any time and generally the earlier you book, the better. Booking early (3 months or more recommended) is especially important for travelers visiting during the high season to ensure that first choice hotels are still available. Further, we usually recommend that you wait to book your international flights until after your tour is confirmed. The sooner that we arrange your tour, the sooner that you can take advantage of flight deals as they become available. We are often able to accommodate last minute travelers as well (some even departing in less than one week!!), so give us a call and we will do our best! For last minute bookings, it helps to be flexible and organized. Your first-choice hotel may not be available for your selected dates, but your trip planner can probably recommend some similar options that would be equally interesting!

Are tour dates flexible?

Yes. Please contact us if you are not able to travel on the set departure dates listed online. Most tours can be arranged on alternative departure dates for a minimum of two travelers as long as hotels and a guide are available.

Can I extend or change my stay?

Absolutely! Give us a call for suggestions in the region. We can easily arrange for extensions to other Southeast Asia destinations such as neighboring Cambodia, Vietnam or Thailand. Let us know how you would like to customize your trip and we will do our best to accommodate you.

What should I pack?

You will receive a detailed packing list after you book your tour. Since the climate varies depending upon locations and season, it is difficult to offer many generalizations. Comfort is the rule and fancy clothes are not necessary for any of our Laos trips.

Is the water safe to drink?

The tap water is generally NOT safe to drink anywhere in Laos. Bottled water is readily available at tourist sites, hotels, & restaurants, and hot water (boiled to make it safe) or hot tea is generally offered with a meal at a restaurant. Travelers can also use bottled water when brushing your teeth to be extra cautious.

 Can I use my cell phone?

Depending on your provider, some mobile phones will receive a signal in major towns as Vientiane. You should contact your phone carrier to find out if your phone will work properly. Another option is to buy a local SIM card once you are in Laos if you do have an unlocked phone. It is advised to also double check your international calling rates with your provider. Services for making international phone calls are widely available in tourist areas. All major tourism centers offer internet access and some provide chat-webcams. Email is the cheapest and fastest way to communicate while traveling in Laos. The rate is usually around 1 minute/100 Kip in Vientiane.

Is travel insurance recommended?

Absolutely! We work with a travel insurance company that provides reasonably priced insurance for trip cancellation, medical expenses, medical evacuation, lost bags, etc.

What time zone is Laos?

Time zone in Laos is GMT + 7 (UTC+07:00). It is 7 hours ahead of London, 15 hours ahead of Vancouver, 12 hours ahead of New York, 3 hours behind Sydney, and 5 hours behind Auckland.

Flights to Laos

Laos has four international airports as Luang Prabang, Vientiane, Savannakhet, and Pakse. Travelers mainly fly into either Vientiane or directly into Luang Prabang. Both airports have international flights as well as connections throughout Southeast Asia. Travelers who come from Euro or US need to transit in Thailand or Vietnam to connect with flights to one of these airports. Choosing which airport to use depends on your itinerary while in Laos. The flights to Pakse and Savannakhet are limited as only Laos Airlines operates flights through these airports.

Language

The official language of Laos is Lao, a Southeast Asian language closely related to Thai. Laos was once a French colony, but French is no longer widely spoken. English is used in main tourist destinations and bigger cities. However, do not expect everyone to speak and understand English, especially in the countryside. Therefore, you will have to rely on non-verbal communication, something the Laotians are very good at. In the North where many Chinese immigrants and ethnic minorities live, Mandarin and minority languages are spoken as well. 

Culture

Laos is a Buddhist country, which heavily influences daily life and cult.

Get in & get out

As Laos is a landlocked country, besides flights, it is easy to reach it on land through neighboring countries.

Crossing overland

Except for Myanmar, travelers can enter and exit Laos through many border points with Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and China. If you plan to visit North Laos first, you can cross borders with China, Vietnam, and Thailand. The most popular border point is through Chiang Khong in Thailand to reach Huay Xay, Laos where you take a slow boat to Luang Prabang. In case you want to enter or depart from the South of Laos, there is a border crossing with Cambodia at Nong Nok Khiene. It is 6km only far from 4000 islands in Champasak.