Money of Laos, currency
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Laos currency exchange rate
To quickly recalculate the cost of Lao bales in USD, you need to multiply the cost in thousands of bales by 8 (more precisely, 8.3), for example: 5 thousand bales * 8 = 40 USD.
Курс обмена валюты (лаосский кип) на сегодня ()
* - При включенном виджете, курс обмена выбранной валюты будет отображаться в правом сайдбаре на каждой странице сайта, пока вы его не отключите сами.
Currency Of Laos
Currency of Laos – Kip, denoted as LAK. Theoretically, LAK is divided into 100 Atam, but in practice coins are not found (too small denomination). There are banknotes in 50, 100, 500, 1 000, 2 000, 5 000, 10 000, 20 000 and 50,000 Kip, mainly banknotes are involved in circulation , 500, 1 000, 2 000, 5 000. Prices are almost everywhere rounded up to 1 000 Kip, and in a big way, because of which some goods and services in Laos are somewhat more expensive than even in neighboring countries.
The currency of Laos is denoted by the sign " K " (see image).
Officially, Laos has only its own national currency and all prices and calculations must be made in it. However, in practice, prices are often quoted in dollars or Thai Baht (see money of Thailand) and the calculation can be made by them, especially in tourist areas. However, before buying, calculate the cost taking into account the current exchange rate, because the price in dollars or Thai baht is often less profitable than buying in local currency, even taking into account the exchange.
What currency to take to Laos
Officially, Laos has only one currency-kip, but Thai baht and US dollars are accepted and exchanged for payment for tourist services in major tourist cities. In markets and shops, as a rule, only bales are accepted, price tags are everywhere in bales.
The European currency and the currencies of other countries are almost unknown here, and not all exchange offices can exchange euros, and it is not profitable to pay them at all. In Luang Prabang, you can find exchangers that accept almost all world currencies, and even Russian USD, but the exchange rate is very unprofitable. For example, if you change USD directly to Bales, you will get two times less bales than if you changed them first at home to dollars. So the best option in Laos would be US dollar or Thai Baht. You can freely pay them and exchange them for local currency. In border cities in Vietnam, you can also pay in Vietnamese Dong.
If you enter from the territory of Thailand and you have baht left on your hands, it is not necessary to change them into dollars, but it is better to leave them as they are, and pay them in Laos or exchange them for bales.
In the border areas, you can also exchange Vietnamese Dong, Cambodian Riels (currency of Cambodia) and Chinese yuan.
The rate for large bills (50 and 100 dollars) is more profitable than for small ones. Crumpled and old bills are not accepted, or accepted at a very low rate.
Is it worth changing money in Laos
Kip is a non-convertible and not very strong currency. If you exchange a large amount, you will not be able to exchange it anywhere outside Laos at the normal rate. Therefore, it is best to change money in small portions for small expenses, and for shopping, paying for hotels and excursions, you can leave dollars.
At the same time, know that small expenses and purchases in dollars will be unprofitable (especially if you have large bills in dollars), since sellers will recalculate the amounts to you and give you change at a bad rate. It is better to always have bales with you. The same is true in remote non-tourist places, where you will not find any banks or exchange offices, and the rate when calculating dollars will be generally unknown.
Where to change money in Laos
The currency in Laos changes in banks, exchange offices, hotels.
Banks are usually open from Monday to Friday from 8:00 to 17:00, exchange offices are open on any day of the week. The most reliable exchange offices with a good rate are in banks or work separately under their banner. These are: Banque Franco-Lao (BFL) and Banque Pour Le Commerce Externieur Lao Public (BCEL). As usual, the exchange rate in private exchangers is slightly higher, but there is a chance to be deceived (most often replace 10,000 bills with 1000, because they are very similar in color; also pay attention to new bills of 50,000 Kip). Hotels can also offer a good rate, but it is better to know the current rate in banks for guidance and bargaining, otherwise you may be offered an undervalued rate. At airports, the rate is low, so it is better to change a small amount for the first stay.
The most profitable course that we (the authors of the site) came across in Laos was on the "Bank" Street in Vientiane. This is a section of Lane Xang Avenue from the Talat Sao Mall shopping center towards the Arc de Triomphe, where a huge number of banks and private exchange offices are located. It is better to change there in private exchangers, but first go around a few to find the most profitable one. And be careful not to fall for the deception.
Important! The rate for small bills is lower. For example: 50 and 100 dollars for 8,600 Kip, 10 and 20-8,400 Kip, 1-5-8,200 Kip.
When entering Laos by land from Vietnam, Thailand, China and Kabmoji, you will be offered to change currency before the border, as well as immediately after it. The course is offered unprofitable, so you should change only the minimum amount to be enough to pay fees at the border and transport to the resorts. Immediately after crossing the border, the course is already better, but still not as profitable as in the cities. And be careful when exchanging money from private money changers at the border, especially Vietnamese, there are frequent deceptions.
Bank cards and traveller's cheques in Laos
Plastic cards of the main international systems Visa, Mastercard, AmericanExpress are accepted for payment only in large hotels, restaurants, chain stores. When booking hotels online, you can easily pay with a plastic card, but for this it is preferable to book them in advance through the site Agoda.com, not Booking.com as on the latter site booking usually involves paying cash at the hotel. Also keep in mind that when paying by card in hotels or for tourist services, an additional commission of 3-5% is charged. But this commission can be avoided if you book and pay for hotels online.
As for withdrawing money, there are ATMs in Laos, but only in large and tourist cities. These are mainly devices of local banks BCEL and BFL. Every year there are more of them. The maximum withdrawal amount at most ATMs is 1 million kip, which is about $ 120, it is rare to find withdrawals under 2 million. With each withdrawal operation, a $ 1-5 fee is withheld in addition to your bank's fee. If you urgently need money, and you can not find an ATM, then you can try to withdraw money from a plastic card through the bank's cash desk, but you will have to pay an additional commission of 2-5%.
Here is a little summary information on ATMs of different banks, but we can not vouch for the relevance, everything changes, so check on the spot:
- BFL (Banque Franco-Lao). Limit 2,000,000 Kip ( USD), withdrawal fee 40,000 ( USD). Visa cards only
- ANZ (Australia and New Zealand Banking Group). Limit 2,000,000 Kip ( USD), withdrawal fee 40,000 ( USD).
- BCEL. Limit 1 500 000 ( USD), the commission for withdrawing 20,000 Kip ( USD).
- Joint Development Bank. Limit 1,000,000 ( USD), Commission for withdrawing 30,000 Kip ( USD).
Do not forget to warn your bank before the trip (you can do this by calling the support phone number indicated on the card itself, or in an online chat) that you will use the card in Laos, otherwise after the first withdrawal or payment transaction, the card will be blocked.
Traveller's cheques are not common, they can only be cashed in major cities at banks.
Prices in Laos
Compared to neighboring Southeast Asian countries, Laos may seem like an expensive country, especially for tourists. Almost everything here is at least one and a half to two times more expensive than in Thailand, Vietnam or Cambodia, but this is only at first glance. The problem is that they are trying to take more from tourists everywhere, they will have to overpay compared to local ones everywhere, except for rare shops with prices on price tags and at bus stations when buying tickets. Another effect is the rounding of the cost of all goods to 1000 kip in a big way. In remote places, the goods we are used to are objectively more expensive due to the fact that they are difficult to get there.
Gasoline is very expensive here, take this into account when renting a motorcycle or entering the country on your own from Vietnam or Cambodia. 1 liter costs 10500 kip (in 2019), which is aboutUSD or US dollars.
In Laos, tipping is not very common (it affects the socialist past, or rather, the present, and maybe the future), and no one will expect them from you. But if you leave the staff a small reward, no one will mind.