Even though having limited facilities, Laos still remains as a wonderful country to visit, in Southeast Asia region. Hanging out with the friendliest, gentlest Laotians while exploring around, learning about the unique traditions of “The Land of Million Elephants”.
Top Reasons Why
Mesmeric Natural Beauty
Laos was for so many years isolated from the rest of the world and is now placed as UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Either you take a stroll around the town of Vang Vieng to be amazed at its laidback countryside landscape beauty or wander around the only royal city of the whole country Luang Prabang, whether you take a multiday trek or just a bike ride to get away from the bustling city, Laos is indeed the ideal place for you.
Coming to Laos to visit the country’s most unusual attraction the Plain of Jars with its 5-ton-stone-and-clay jars of mysterious origin, Wat Phu or pre-Angkor Khmer ruins, there are always some magnificent wonder for every wanderlust wanderers.
Unique Buddhism Customs
Laotians are devoted for Buddhism in many ways. Observing or taking participation in the morning alms giving in Luang Prabang might be a magical experience at the start of your exploration. Sitting in a temple to chat with novice monks while being surrounded by the sounds of chanting and chiming bells will definitely give you some extremely insightful information about this country of long rich Buddhism traditions.
The Mekong River
Mekong is considered the lifeline of Laos. Travelling it down the mighty river or stop at one of its 4000 islands for your chance of spotting out some freshwater undersea majestic creatures.
When to go
Laos has a tropical climate with two distinctive seasons: the dry and the monsoon. During the winter months of dry season, which is from November to February, it is the best time to tour to Laos. Nevertheless, in the rainy season, the country will usually be greener and less crowded with lots of discount offers for the services.
Laos Travel Tips
If you are planning on discovering the country’s impenetrable jungle in its mountainous area, the only most practical way is travelling by air. The most two common options that travelers usually choose is to depart from Bangkok or Thailand. Bangkok Air has daily flights from Bangkok to Luang Prabang while Thai Air flies frequently to Vientiane. Laos Airlines, even though charges a little bit more expensive prices, provides frequent flights from Bangkok to Luang Prabang and Vientiane as well as to other provincial cities such as Parkse or Savannakhet.
Worry not if you’re on a budget, a network of bus services covers almost the entire country. For those who prefer assigned seats with more legroom and few stops, take a VIP bus instead of the regular type. Tuk-tuk or minivans have also become the common mean of transportation between cities or eventually, might be a bit quicker with the same prices as buses.
Adventurous travelers can board some boats to cruise along the Mekong River. This is unquestionably a way to gain yourself that exotic and memorable travel.
Health And Safety
Consider buying international health insurance to cover yourself while travelling to Laos as Laos’ health care is nowhere near to other countries in Southeast Asia.
Laos is fairly free of crime in tourist areas. Even though crimes like pickpocket, robbery are rare, you still should be careful when visiting the crowded areas. Never leave your luggage unattended.
In the countryside, if you are taking a trek, watch out for unexplored ordnance left from the Vietnam War, especially within the grounds of Xieng Khuang and Hua Phan provinces or some places around the Southern Laos.
In conclusion, it’s always better not to wander off the well-traveled trails.
The national currency of Laos is the Laos Kip (LAK). The current official exchange rate of LAK is approximately 8000 Kip to one US dollar.
There are also several ATM machines throughout the country so changing your international money to kip won’t be much of a big issue anymore.
Keep in mind that credit card usage is limited. Only few hotels and restaurants accept this kind of payment. If you exchange your money in a bank, you will be normally charged for an extra 5% as service fee.
There are several ways to cross Laos through numerous land and river. The busiest is the Friendship Bridge that spans the Mekong River at the east of Vientiane from Thailand. You can also enter Laos from Cambodia at Voeung Kam or from Mohan in China’s Yunnan Province, at Boten.