Laos is safe to visit

Laos is a foreigner-friendly destination. In the first six months of 2023, Laos welcomed over 1.6 million foreign visitors to the country. The Laotian government also prioritizes ensuring security and order for both citizens and tourists.

Of course, as travelers, we always need to ensure adherence to familiar personal safety rules: Handle and protect belongings carefully, stay vigilant, and be cautious wherever you go.

Laos travel tips

Laos is a pleasant country

Most of Laos comprises rural areas with a scattered population, and there are untouched, remote natural sites where human presence is minimal. It is essential to be cautious when venturing into these areas, particularly if you are traveling solo.

The Lao language is quite similar to Thai, so if you know Thai, it will be more convenient for your trip. Additionally, many locals in Laos can communicate in basic English.

Applying for a Laos visa

For your Laos travel tips about visas: 

  • Citizens of ASEAN countries, Russia, South Korea, and Mongolia are granted a 30-day visa exemption for tourism. 

  • Citizens from Japan, Luxembourg, Switzerland (15 days), and Myanmar (14 days) can also enjoy visa-free entry.

  • If you don't qualify for visa exemption to enter Laos and your passport has a minimum validity of 6 months, you can opt for e-visas or visas on arrival. Both allow a 30-day stay for tourists. 

The processing time for a Laos visa is approximately 3-7 days, and the visa fee typically ranges from 30 to 45 USD. Here is an illustrated map depicting the visa requirements for different nationalities when entering Laos:

Laos travel tips

Laos visa map

  • Red: Laos

  • Yellow: Visa on arrival or eVisa

  • Green: Visa-free (30 days)

  • Blue: Visa-free (15 days) or eVisa (30 days)

  • Purple: Visa-free (14 days) or eVisa (30 days)

  • Grey: Visa required in advance

How to get around Laos easily

Laos travel tips

Tuk-tuk in Vientiane

Main transportation options in Laos include tuk-tuks, buses, minivans, trains, planes, and boats. The transportation expenses within the country are relatively affordable.

  • Plane: Laos has 9 domestic airports. Notable domestic airlines in Laos include Lao Airlines and Lao Skyway.

The fare for a flight from Vientiane to Luang Prabang amounts to about 57 USD for a one-way trip.

  • Train: Laos' high-speed train service commenced in 2021, connecting China and Laos. The domestic route passes through 6 stations in Vientiane, Vang Vieng, Luang Prabang, Muang Xai, Luang Namtha, and Boten. 

Train ticket prices vary based on seat class and distance, ranging from 2 to 26 USD.

  • Bus or Taxi: This is a common domestic transportation method easily found throughout Laos, with fares ranging from 0.5 to 1 USD for city travel. When moving between cities, the cost ranges from 5 to 20 USD. 

To book and track buses conveniently, you can use apps like Bairiki Bus and Taxi Laos.

  • Tuk-tuk: Tuk-tuks are a familiar sight in Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia. The cost for city travel with this type of vehicle is approximately 3 to 5 USD. 

Additionally, there is another local vehicle called Songthaew, which resembles a modified large car with a passenger compartment at the back (tuk-tuks are motorbike-powered). Songthaews can accommodate more passengers and luggage.

  • Motorbike rental: For those who enjoy exploring on their own and can ride a motorbike, you can rent one for around 4 to 5 USD per day.

To make the most of these transportation options, you can conveniently book tickets online through the respective company websites or download dedicated mobile apps.

Best time to visit Laos

With a tropical climate, Laos is best explored between November and April when the dry season prevails. During this time, cities such as Vientiane and Luang Prabang offer pleasant weather for travelers. 

However, in the rainy season, the mountainous region is prone to flooding, making trekking challenging due to the damp and unstable trails, as well as the potential for landslides.

Laos public holidays and festivals

Laos travel tips

Check Laos public holidays and festivals before your trip - one of my recommended Laos travel tips

When planning your visit to Laos, make sure to check for public holidays and special events. On these days, some services might be closed, operate with restricted hours, or have holiday surcharges in effect, so it is wise to be prepared for these potential adjustments.





1 Jan

New Year's Day


8 Mar

International Women's Day 


13 - 15 Apr (Buddha Calenda)

Laos New Year - Boun Pi Mai


1 May

May Day


1 Jun

Children’s Day


20 Jun

Lao Women Union's Day


2 Dec

National Day


If you are fond of cultural festivals, you can consider enjoying traditional events like the Boat Racing Festival in Vientiane (2-3/10), the Rocket Festival (May - June), and the That Luang Festival (27th Nov).

Plan your budget

Compared to traveling in neighboring countries like Thailand and Vietnam, the cost of traveling in Laos is relatively affordable. The average daily budget ranges from 15 to 30 USD and about a minimum of 120 USD per week.

  • Accommodation: 13 USD/day

  • Transportation: 2 - 3 USD/day

  • Food: 6 USD/day

  • Drinks/ tickets: 0,5 - 3 USD

Certainly, these are just suggestions based on basic price ranges. You can customize your expenses according to your preferences - whether it is for accommodations, tour guides, sightseeing tours, or dining - to make your trip more convenient and enjoyable.

What to pack

Laos travel tips

Laos travel tips for what to pack

There are two things to consider when packing for Laos: the tropical humid weather and the country's emphasis on traditional culture. Here are some recommended items for your luggage:

  • Lightweight and breathable clothing 

  • Attire covers your shoulders and knees when visiting temples

  • Insect-repellent, hand sanitizer

  • Sunscreen, hat, and sunglasses are essential to shield yourself from strong sunlight

  • Carry a camera to capture the beautiful moments.

What to do in Laos

Laos travel tips

Kuang Si Falls to visit in Luang Prabang

Laos is a tranquil land embraced by nature. And its people are approachable, making it an ideal destination for unwinding. Personally, I like Luang Prabang the most when traveling here. Don't miss out on exploring this city. Additionally, there are other things you should try:

  • Feel the nature vibe of Laos by visiting Kuang Si Falls (Luang Prabang), Kong Lor Caves (Khammouane), Khone Waterfall (Champasak), Nong Khiaw village (Luang Prabang), and more.

  • Check out the lively night market area in Luang Prabang, where you'll discover a variety of authentic Lao souvenirs and local street food offerings at affordable prices.

  • Visit Elephant Village Sanctuary: Laos is often called the "Land of a Million Elephants." To encounter these magnificent creatures and understand the efforts in their nurturing and preservation in Laos, you can pay a visit to this sanctuary located in Luang Prabang.

  • Visit traditional temples and pagodas: Wat Xieng Thong, Wat Sene Souk Haram (Luang Prabang), Pha That Luang (Vientiane), Wat Phou, Buddha Park, Pak Ou Caves, and more.

  • Mekong River Cruise: A cruise itinerary along the Mekong River is incredibly relaxing and peaceful. 

Must-eat foods in Laos

Laos travel tips

Don’t miss Laos dishes!

Laotian cuisine is a hidden treasure waiting for you to discover. I love Laos dishes for their natural ingredients and exquisite combinations. Some dishes I recommend you to taste include:

  • Larb (Meet salad): This dish features thinly sliced meat (beef, pork, chicken) mixed with spicy lime fish sauce, accompanied by fragrant herbs and crisp cucumber.

  • Khao niao (Sticky rice): Sticky rice is widely enjoyed in Laos, it is a culinary delight you'll encounter wherever you go in this country. My top picks are mango sticky rice (Khao niao mamuang) and fried or grilled sticky rice (Khao jee).

  • Sai kok (Lao sausage): Made from a flavorful blend of pork meat, spices, and herbs, this sausage is a delicious pairing with sticky rice.

  • Tam mak hoong (Green papaya salad): This dish is created with basic ingredients such as papaya, tomatoes, chilies, fish sauce, and lime juice. Tam mak hoong is both light and flavorful, with a satisfying crunch.

Apart from these, there are many more dishes such as Naem khao tod (Crispy rice salad), Khao piak sen (Wet noodles), Kaipen (Fried seaweed), Mok pa (Steamed fish). 

Accommodation Options in Laos

Laos travel tips

The Belle Rive Boutique Hotel near the Mekong River

Lastly, in my Laos travel tips, I would like to mention accommodation. Hotels in Laos are generally reasonably priced, making it easy for you to find suitable options within your budget.

If you are looking for more comfortable accommodations, it is worth noting that the hotel standards here might not be as high as international standards. Therefore, here are a few highly-rated options for you to consider:

  •  The Belle Rive Boutique Hotel (Luang Prabang): Highly-rated boutique hotels by the Mekong River offer picturesque views and a range of amenities.

Room rate: From 95 USD/night

  • Parasol Blanc (Luang Prabang): This hotel features a delightful garden and a lovely resort ambiance. Despite being a short distance from the town center, worry not, as they offer free bicycle rentals. 

Room rate:  From 74 USD/night

  • Salana Boutique Hotel (Vientiane): The hotel is situated in the heart of the capital city, Vientiane. You will experience a warm and comfortable welcome when you stay here.

Room rate: From 87 USD/night

  • Riverside Boutique Resort Vang Vieng: The resort is located next to the Nam Song River, offering a spacious environment with stunning views of the river and mountains. You will love the atmosphere and the services provided here.

Room rate: From 171 USD/night

Laos travel tips

Get ready for your trip to Laos

Continue reading about Laos travel guide!

These are the 10 Laos travel tips I've shared with you. I trust these insights will be valuable as you get ready for your Laos adventure. Have you decided on a suitable Laos travel itinerary yet? Check out our Laos Tours section for a variety of options, including Laos - Vietnam - Cambodia programs and river cruises along the Mekong River. You will find specific schedules and prices there. Have a good time!