This page provides answers to common questions asked by travellers to Laos.

What can I do in Laos?

Laos has more than 2,000 recognized tourism attractions covering nature, culture, and heritage sites. You can visit many on your own, or join a tour with a local operator. Natural highlights in The Last Frontier include incredible caves, towering waterfalls, and trails through mountainous jungle. You can visit ethnic minority villages, experience their distinct ways of life, learn about their beliefs, immerse yourself in their culture, and even stay in their homes. Lao history dates back thousands of years, and you can explore UNESCO sites at Luang Prabang and pre-Angkor Vat Phou. Other top heritage attractions include the mysterious Plain of Jars and the home of Laos’ revolution, Houaphanh’s Cave City.    

Activities range from easy to extreme. You can hike a nature trail and learn about medicinal plant and herbs, and other forest products. Many paths end at a waterfall, lake, cave, or ethnic village. You can ride a mountain bike or motor scooter through rural areas, with stops at a range of attractions. Kayak, raft or take a cruise on a remote river. Hard-core adventurers can go on survival treks, climb cliffs, zip line through tree canopies, and ride a motocross bike along the Ho Chi Minh Trails. The list of activities in The Last Frontier knows no bounds. 

For more about Things to Do, click here. For a list of specialist travel agents and operators in Laos, click here.

Is it safe to book with a Lao company?
All tour operators and travel agents listed in We Are Lao are registered with the Lao government. These companies must follow national guidelines.

For more information on tour operators and travel agents, click here. 

Do I need to book ahead?

The peak tourism season in Laos runs from October through to April. For holidays during this period, We Are Lao strongly recommends that you book tours, events, accommodation, and transportation in advance to ensure availability. During Green Season, from May through September, availability makes booking well in advance less important, though cruises operating during this time may require advanced booking.

How do I get there?

Laos has switched its status from land-locked to land-linked…and air linked. You can cross overland at 15 border checkpoints from Thailand, Vietnam, China, Cambodia, and Myanmar. Destinations on the other side of the border can be accessed by air, train, and road from major cities in these five countries. Visas on arrival are available and present quick and easy access to 13 Lao provinces and the road into The Last Frontier. 

You can fly directly to Laos from more than 15 Asian cities in 7 countries on a selection of airlines. And you’re just one transit stop away from Europe, North America, South Asia, and Australia.

For more information on Getting to Laos, click here. 

Visa Procedures

Passport holders from most countries can get a Visa on Arrival at international airports and land border crossings. ASEAN and other countries get a visa waiver. Lengths of stay and fees vary among countries. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months and have at least one empty page.
For more information on Visa Procedures for Laos, click here. 

How do I travel between provinces?

Traveling between provinces is quite easy. Domestic flights, VIP coaches, and cruise boats provide comfort. You can rent a car with an English-speaking driver or take the local bus or minivan.

For more information on Getting Around, click here.

How do I travel independently around a destination?

Tour operators can show you around, but you can also strike out on your own. Independent travellers can rent cycles and motorbikes, hire tuk tuks, or join the locals on a sawng taew or minibus. 

For more information on Getting Around, click here.

What accommodation is available in Laos?

Laos presents a great variety of accommodation. Choices range from 5-star luxury hotels and eco-friendly resorts to clean, comfortable guesthouse rooms with air-con and TV for budget travellers. Hostels await the backpacker crowd. Those looking for something more authentic or different can sign up for a homestay in an ethnic village, or stay in their simple lodges. Adventurers can overnight in a bamboo jungle hut or tree fort. Traditional campgrounds are available, as are river and mountainside bungalows and retreats.

For more information on Where to Stay, click here.

Is it safe in Laos?

Crime is minimal in Laos, though you should take measures to avoid occasional purse snatchers and phone thieves. Many Lao drivers are new to the roads, so be aware of traffic, especially motorbikes. Most drivers are polite, and stop, if they see you want to cross the road. You should be aware of your surroundings, though few bad experiences have been reported.

Medical facilities are basic in Laos, and limited in remote areas. Hospitals and clinics in provincial and some district centres can care for minor injuries, and stabilize patients with more serious conditions for transport to better facilities. Those who need major attention will need to transfer to Vientiane hospitals and on to Thai hospitals. The Vientiane ambulance service operates quick transport to hospitals in Udon Thani in Thailand. Those travelling to remote areas should consider insurance with air-lift stipulations. However, most injuries tend to be minor, and local physicians and pharmacies can fulfil the needs of those with minor ailments. Before coming to Laos, consult your physician for necessary vaccines. 

Food safety remains a concern, though most high end hotels and restaurants prepare meals by following international hygiene guidelines. Mid-range establishments tend to be quite clean. Overall, local food is safe, though those dining at noodle shops occasionally experience stomach issues. Most vegetables are safe, naturally grown, and often organic. Those eating seafood outside a notable restaurant should be careful.  

How expensive is a holiday in Laos?

The cost of a holiday in Laos compared to neighbouring countries varies among travel types. High-end travellers may find the cost of dining slightly higher due to the cost of importing food not available in Laos. The cost of accommodation is on par with that of regional destinations, though the selection can be limited. Tours and entry fees are very reasonable.  

Those on a budget need to view Laos differently than neighbouring destinations. Eating and drinking at local noodle shops and “Beer Lao” establishments are very pocket friendly. Mid-range restaurants at larger tourism hubs present reasonably priced menu selections from backpacker fodder to well-prepared international favourites and Lao dishes. Accommodation types, prices, and quality vary among destinations. Backpackers may be disappointed in some tourism hubs, but hostels are available in larger destinations. Good rooms with TV and wi-fi can generally be found for $12-25. Rooms at 3-star guesthouses and hotels are readily available for less than $50. 

Domestic Lao flights tend to cost more than Thailand and Vietnam, but less than China and Myanmar. VIP coaches and van transportation between provinces is very reasonable, taking local minibuses around a province is cheap, though the vehicles can be a bit ragged. Cruises on the Mekong and its tributaries vary in price, depending on the quality and offerings of the vessel. You can rent bicycles and motorbikes in the popular tourist hubs. Car rentals in Laos tend to be more expensive than Thailand. 

For more information on Getting Around, click here.

For more information on Where to Stay in Laos, click here.

What’s the weather like in Laos?

Temperatures drop in January and February, with thermometers starting the average day at around 10°C (50°F) and climb to around 25°C (77°F) and rain is rare. Those staying higher in the mountains can subtract 10 degrees. In March, the thermometers flip, with temperatures starting to climb. By Lao New Year in April, days can easily reach 30-35°C (85-95°F) and higher, and the skies remain clear.

Early morning and evening showers start breaking the heat wave by May, when Green Season starts. From June through August, temperatures level off to a utopian 22°C (72°F), while the brief daily showers bring the flora alive and turn up the power on waterfalls and rivers. The rains become heavier beginning in late August, especially in the south, but by early October, the clouds clear, and the temperatures remain moderate before dropping towards the end of December.