Before we begin, here is some general information about the country of Laos:

  • Location: Indochina, Southeast Asia

  • Capital: Vientiane

  • Border: China, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar

  • Main religion: Buddhism

  • Climate: Tropical

  • Language: Laos

  • Currency: Kip (LAK)

The best time to visit

best time to visit laos

Laos beautiful nature

The recommended time is from November to April as it is the dry season. During this period the weather is pleasant with minimal rainfall and temperatures ranging from 21 to 27℃ (70 to 80℉). More specifically, this time is suitable for trekking and caving adventures. The elevated water level in the Mekong River also ensures smooth boating trips. 

Roads in Laos can be challenging to travel during the rainy season from May to Oct. This particular period of the year sees more rainfall and elevated humidity levels. Furthermore, the rainy season aligns with the summer months, so temperatures are around 30/32 °C (86/90 °F). Despite the occasional hot and humid weather, the natural beauty and cost during this time are worth considering for your visit.

For your information, Laos observes international holidays like New Year (1 Jan), May Day (1 May), Children’s Day (1 June), and International Women’s Day (8 Mar). Moreover, the most significant festival for Laotians is the Laos New Year (Boun Pi Mai). The occasion aligns with the Buddhist calendar and usually takes place in April every year.

How to Get a Visa to Laos

Visa to Laos

Ways to obtain tourist visas to Laos

Visa procedures for entry into Laos are fast and optimal if your visit falls within the allowed tourist visa duration of 14 to 30 days. Here are the cases:

  • Tourists from ASEAN nations, Russia, South Korea, and Mongolia are eligible for a 30-day visa exemption in Laos. 

  • Citizens of Japan, Luxembourg, Switzerland (with a limit of 15 days), and Myanmar (with a limit of 14 days) can also enter without a visa. 

  • For those who do not qualify for visa exemption but have a passport with a minimum validity of 6 months, there is an option to obtain e-visas or visas on arrival, both allowing a 30-day stay.

Visa on arrival


Laos visa on arrival is accepted at airports including Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Pakse, and Savannakhet, as well as at border checkpoints along Laos’ borders with Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and China. The steps to obtain Laos visas on arrival:

  • Complete the information form, which you can find and download from the internet

  • Upon reaching the airports or checkpoints, head to the visa processing counter to submit your form and settle the required fees.

Steps to apply for Laos e-visas:

  • Complete the online form.

  • Proceed with the payment.

  • Await the result, which will be sent to your email.

  • Print the approved e-visa outcome.

  • Show both the e-visa result and your passport at the Laos immigration checkpoint.


It takes around 3 - 7 days for a Laos visa to be processed. The visa cost typically varies between 30 and 45 USD.

How to Get Around Laos

The majority of Laos is covered in mountainous forests with many rough roads. Major cities like Luang Prabang and Vientiane provide easier access and diverse transportation options. 

The overall cost of travel in Laos remains reasonable. Here’s a breakdown of transportation choices and their approximate costs.

How to Get Around Laos

Your Laos travel guide for how to use transports

Mode of transport




There are nine domestic airports in Laos located at Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Pakse, Savanakhet, Luang Namtha, Xieng Khouang, Phongsali, Oudomxay, and Sam Neua.

About 57 USD/ one-way trip


6 train stations at: Vientiane, Vang Vieng, Luang Prabang, Muang Xai, Luang Namtha, and Boten. 

The ticket costs differ based on the seating category and travel distance, with prices ranging from 2 to 26 USD per passenger.

Bus/ Taxi/ Couch

The bus system is widely used in Laos. It is an extensive network that reaches every corner. To book tickets and stay informed about bus routes, you can utilize apps like Taxi Laos, Bairiki Bus, or check ticket details on different websites.

  • Bus fares within the city typically range from 0.5 to 1 USD.

  • When traveling between cities, bus ticket prices vary from 5 to 20 USD.

Tuk-tuk or Songthaew

These are the common means of transportation found at tourist destinations for transporting travelers and luggage.

About 1 USD/km

Motorbike or Bicycle rental

For those who enjoy the freedom of exploration.

  • Motorbike rental: 4 - 10 USD/day

  • Bicycle rental:  1 - 5 USD/day


Top Things to See and Do in Laos

How could we skip a to-do list in this Laos travel guide? Let’s explore the must-visit places and things to do while discovering this country:

Laos travel guide - what to do in Laos

Laos travel guide - what to do in Laos

Kuang Si Falls: A mesmerizing collection of turquoise waterfalls. Here you can go sightseeing, light trekking, and have refreshing swims in the crystalline reservoirs. The entrance is 2.5 USD.

Mandalao Elephant Conservation: For $150 USD, immerse yourself in a visit to leisurely walks with elephants in their natural environment.

Luang Prabang Night Market: An exciting evening shopping experience where you can acquire Laotian treasures at reasonable prices. Take a leisurely stroll, unwind, and savor delicious street food.

A boat trip on the Mekong River: The Mekong is Laos’ primary river. A boat trip will unfold its wonders with visits to places like Park Ou Cave, kayaking adventures, sunset views, and a serene journey through Laos’ picturesque landscapes.

Wat Xieng Thong: Recognized as Laos’ most iconic temple. The temple is situated in the ancient capital of Luang Prabang. It showcases impressive Laotian Buddhist architectural styles.

Bokeo National Park: Among Laos’ 20 national parks, this one stands out for its unique charm. I love the experience of staying in treehouse accommodations and gliding through the lush forest canopy on a thrilling zip line. The cost for a 3-day, 2-night basic plan is approximately $272 USD per person.

Plain of Jars: Laos’ renowned tradition of laying the departed to rest in stone jars scattered across the terrain has attracted countless visitors. Entrance fees vary but are around $1 USD.

Suggested Itinerary and Budget

I recommend spending at least 4 days exploring Laos. Based on that, here is the itinerary and budget I present for your reference to visit the main cities of Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng, and Vientiane:

Laos travel guide

A suggestion for your itinerary - Laos travel guide

Day 1: Luang Prabang Arrival

Day 2: Kuang Si Falls, Bear Rescue Centre, Pak Ou Caves, Luang Prabang Night Market.

Day 3: 

  • Luang Prabang City Tour: Royal Palace Museum, Wat Xieng Thong, Stupa of Wat Visoun, the shrine of Wat Aham.

  • High-speed train to Vang Vieng

  • Visit Tham Jang Cave, and take a boat trip to Nam Song River.

Day 4: 

  • Drive to Vientiane

  • Visit Wat Sisaket Temple, Wat Prakeo Royal Temple, That Luang Stupa, Cope Center, and watch the Mekong River sunset.

In terms of prices, personally, I find that traveling in Laos has reasonable costs for tickets, accommodation, transportation, and shopping. The prices here won't make you feel financially strained. However, you can still bargain if you feel the prices are not suitable. 

The average daily budget ranges from 15 to 30 USD, with a minimum of about 120 USD per week.

  • Accommodation: 3 - 17 USD/day

  • Transportation: 2 - 8 USD/day (short distance)

  • Food: 1 - 7 USD/meal

  • Drink: 0.24 - 2 USD

  • Tickets: 0,5 - 3 USD

  • Tour guide: 10 - 15 USD/day

This is the minimum cost. For specific and long-term needs, you will certainly need to allocate a higher budget.


Laos travel guide

What to notice during your visit to Laos?

To conclude this Laos travel guide, here are some important travel tips:

  • What to pack: Lightweight and modest clothing, sunscreen, insect repellent.

  • Infrastructure: Services here may not be highly developed. You may find limited conveniences, especially in rural towns.

  • No beaches in Laos: It is a landlocked country, and the nearest beach is about 50 km away in Vietnam.

  • Respect: Laotians are traditional and highly respected monks. Be mindful of your attire and gestures when entering temples and sacred areas.

  • Communication: The word for Lao greeting is “Sabaidee.” Laotians are friendly, and you can greet them with a smile, a nod, and join your palms together in a prayer-like gesture.

Laos travel guide

Don’t forget to say Sabaidee during your visit!

By remembering the information in this Laos travel guide, I hope your journey to Laos will be well-prepared. Feel free to share your travel plans with us, and don’t hesitate to contact New Asia Tours if you need assistance with choosing Laos package tours.