Laos is a beautiful, relaxed country with stunning mountains, winding rivers, impressive waterfalls and is very rich in culture. For us, it’s somewhat of a hidden gem when it comes to South East Asia. We were super impressed when we traveled to Laos by its beauty and are convinced it should be on everyone’s travel list. So if you’re planning a trip to Laos, here’s everything you need to know. From how to get around, how much budget you need to the best time to go and saving money.
Visa requirements for Laos
Most tourists will need a visa on arrival to enter Laos but for a couple of years, it’s possible to buy an electronic visa online. Check all information on the website of Laos Immigration.
We paid for a 30 Days Tourist Visa – 30 USD
Please note: visa requirements keep changing for every country. Please make sure you check all visa and passport requirements in your own country before booking your tickets.
Best time to travel to Laos
We traveled through Laos in February which was a perfect month in our opinion with blue skies and pleasant temperatures. Traveling in the wet season is also perfectly possible but keep in mind that roads are extremely bad and rain showers can ruin your day trips.
High season: November – March
November to March are the best months to visit Laos. The temperatures are cooler in the mountains and rises in March and April. Many tourists are visiting Laos during this period so consider to book your accommodation in advance, especially during winter the holidays.
Shoulder season: July & August
This is also a very good period to visit Laos. Temperatures are good, humidity is high and some rainfall in most parts of the country and landscapes are turning into beautiful green colors. Due to summer holidays, this can be also a very popular time for travelers.
Low season: April – June, and September – October
Daily tropical rainfalls and temperatures rise to 35°C-40°C in April and May.
Rains are most of the time short and heavy but can last for days as well. Roads and rivers could be flooded in some parts of the country. In September and October, the temperature decrease and nature are showing her beauty.
The best apps to download for Laos
- LOCA. LA-App gets you around like a local. The app is similar to uber and grab
- Booking.com the best and our most favorite app to find accommodations worldwide
- Maps.me is the best offline mapping app on the planet. Download the map of the Maldives, save the islands you want to visit, and get instant access to all the best restaurants and beaches nearby without using the internet.
- Currency XE to easily convert exchange rates
- HappyCow is an amazing app to find the best vegan & vegetarian food around you.
- Also not really an app, but the ebooks of Lonely Planet need to be highlighted too. The ebooks are an easy, quick, and cheap way to carry almost every Lonely Planet guidebook in your pocket. From destination tips, beautiful images to the best things to do, you’ll find everything to get the most out of your trip.
- Hotels.com is the app we use often besides booking.com. If you book 10 nights on Hotels.com you’ll get one night for free, which is awesome
Read also: The 11 best and free travel apps every traveler needs
Getting there + the cheapest flights to Laos
The fastest way is flying to Laos and we always use is Skyscanner to find the cheapest flights. You can easily search and compare tickets from all different airlines and when you want to book it redirects you to the partners’ websites. We booked our tickets from Bangkok with AirAsia as they have cheap prices and pretty good flight schedules.
Find cheap flights to Laos here
Another great option to travel to Laos is overland by bus or minivan. Laos is very easy to reach from neighboring countries like Thailand or Cambodia.
Read also: Best websites to find the cheapest flights
Best places to stay in Laos
Finding the right place or a good value accommodation isn’t always easy, that’s why we have selected the best places to stay in Laos with a unique character, cozy home-like atmosphere, a good location and affordable prices.
Money-saving tip: use this link to save up to $45 on your first booking on Airbnb
Read also: Best hotels and hostels in Laos
Staying connected in Laos
Staying connected in Laos is easy and cheap. You simply buy a sim card when you arrive at the airport or at almost every local shop, choose a data plan and you’re ready to go! UniTell is the sim card we used and paid $15 per person for unlimited data for 30 days
Getting around in Laos
Traveling through Laos can be an adventure itself as the road conditions are not the best (but they are working to improve most of the main roads) and local transport isn’t managed very well. It is easy to travel with minibusses and vans between the touristic towns or by local buses if you go to more quiet areas
Scooters can be hired in almost all towns and cities.
- You can travel by bus: Local buses are operating between the smaller town. The easiest way to travel as a tourist is by Shuttle or minivan.
- Shuttles or minivans: Many tourist offices offer shared shuttles & vans to the places you want to go to.
- Songthaews: This are the converted pick-up trucks that take people into the back, sitting on 2 wooden benches. Most of the time they try to take as many people as possible.
- Samlaw: The samlaw ‘three wheels’ are driving around in most of the towns and are very similar to the tuk-tuks in other Asian countries.
- Slow boats & speedboats: Slow boats and speed boats are operating through the Mekong river in most directions. Speedboats are more expensive and faster but not the safest option. We took the slow boat from Luan Prabang to the border of Northern Thailand, along the way you can enjoy the beautiful scenic landscapes.
Read also: Laos in 2 weeks: the ultimate travel itinerary
Travel budget for Laos
Laos is one of the cheapest countries in South East Asia to travel through and has cheap accommodations for budget travelers or more luxury hotels to make your vacation more comfortable. We traveled in Laos for 15 days and made a complete breakdown of our travel budget for 2 weeks in Laos to give you an idea of how much you’ll need depending on your travel style.
Read also: Travel budget for 2 weeks in Laos
Electricity in Laos
The standard voltage is 230 V and the frequency is 50 Hz. In Nepal, the power plugs and sockets are of type A, B, C, E, and F. Before we went to Laos we bought the Skross Pro World Adaptor, which is an excellent power adaptor for your adventure in Laos. We also used a power bank to charge our phones during long bus rides.
Laundry service in Laos
If you travel for a longer period as we do, you probably need to do some laundry. Most of the accommodations in Laos offer laundry service but you can also find easily local families on the streets who run a laundry service center.
We did a few times our laundry by a local family and paid around 1$/kg.
Vaccinations for Laos
Vaccinations that are mandatory:
- Yellow fever (only if you have been to a yellow fever country in the seven days before you enter Laos or if you have been in transit for more than 12 hours in an airport in a country with yellow fever)
Vaccinations that are recommended:
- Hepatitis A (regardless of the length of your trip)
- Hepatitis B
- Typhoid fever (for a stay of longer than two weeks)
- Malaria (some remoted areas in Laos are still malaria zones)
- Japanese Encephalitis (You will need this vaccine if you travel longer than 30 days in Laos)
Note: As with all destinations, it is essential that you see a doctor or pharmacist at least 6 – 8 weeks before your visit to Laos. Your itinerary, your medical history, and the activities you have planned all affect which vaccinations you need.
Now you’ve read everything you need to know before you go to Laos, you might be ready to go. Following websites can help you plan the perfect trip:
- Skyscanner to book the best and cheapest flights
- Booking.com to book your accommodation
- Lonely Planet to purchase a detailed Laos travel guide
- Tourradar to join one of the amazing group tours