Laos: tourist information

This article has been translated from Russian language using an artificial intelligence-based translation algorithm. We apologize for any inconvenience caused by the quality of the translation. You can read the original of this article in Russian here, and ask questions on the topic of our travel forum in English here.

General information about Laos

Flag Of Laos

Laos is a country in Southeast Asia. The lands of Laos stretch between the borders of Vietnam and Thailand, and also have borders with Cambodia, China and Myanmar. The full name of the country is Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR). Laos is landlocked. Most of the country consists of mountains and hills. The population of the country is about 6.3 million people, which is almost two times less than the population of Moscow.

  • The area of Laos is 236,800 square kilometers, which is about half the size of Thailand or about five times the size of the Moscow region.
  • The capital of Laos-Vientiane
  • There are almost no major cities in Laos, the smaller ones are Luang Prabang, Pakse, Savannaket (aka Cason Fomvihan)
  • Electricity-220V
That Luang Stupa Vientiane

Laos is a real exotic from the exotic of Southeast Asia in terms of Tourism. The country is still not very attractive for mass tourists, and only rare independent travelers visit it.

Indeed, if objectively judged, Laos has little to offer the mass tourist. There is no beach holiday at all, no popular entertainment, no high-quality hotels. Laos was not as lucky as Cambodia with its Angkor. Significant and mysterious sights here, of course, are enough (take at least the valley of pitchers), but there is nothing known and replicated throughout the world at the level of the wonders of the world.

But this is all the exoticism of this country, the poorest in Southeast Asia and following its socialist path. For real aesthetes who have already seen a lot and want something new, Laos is a real "Klondike". For those who are thirsty for travel and discovery, Laos will appear as a territory not yet trampled and not spoiled by tourists with beautiful nature from mountain landscapes and jungles, real people, and rarely encountered travelers seeking adventure along the way.

At the same time, it cannot be said that Laos is completely undeveloped in terms of tourism, rather the opposite. The tourist infrastructure here is developing very steeply: tourist companies and excursions have appeared; there is tourist transport between cities and to neighboring countries; you can rent transport. There are hotels here (though quite expensive and with much worse quality than the same in Thailand or Vietnam), you can rent a house or a room. There are restaurants for tourists and some entertainment. Roads connecting some major cities are just dirt roads, but everything is being built and repaired. Some places are still only accessible by boat. The population practically does not know any language other than their native, and only rare Lao People from the tourism sector can communicate in English. In general, this is a wonderful and interesting country, ideal for those who want to discover new interesting places.

Resorts in Laos, where to go

In Laos there are no beach resorts at all and facing the sea. All tourist places that are visited here are sightseeing.

  • Luang Prabang. The city of temples, and the most popular tourist destination in Laos. They go here to see amazingly beautiful golden temples, and visit several natural attractions around.
  • Vientiane. The capital of Laos and the most convenient gateway to enter Laos from Thailand. By and large, tourists have nothing to do here for more than 1-2 days.
  • Vang Vieng. The center of active recreation of Laos, and one of the most popular resorts. Here they visit blue lagoons for swimming, caves, kayak along the river, tube, ride buggies, etc.
  • Phonsavan. Here is the famous valley of ancient jars.
  • Muang Khua. A small town that is visited on the way on the route from Sapa (Vietnam) to Laos.
  • Nong Khiaw. A provincial town between Luang Prabang and the northern cities, a place to transfer from boat to bus or vice versa. There are several natural attractions nearby.
  • Phongsali. A town in the far north, one of the best places for trekking to traditional tribal villages.
  • Luang Namtha. A very popular city in the far north of Laos for trekking to ethnic villages.
  • Udomxai. A major transport and Trade Center in the north of the country. The city has several temples and natural attractions, but is more interesting to tourists as a transport hub.
  • Muang Ngoi Neua. A small remote village in the North, accessible only by boat. Near it there are several very colorful villages and routes for trekking and hiking.
  • Pakse. The main tourist city of southern Laos. In the city and nearby there are interesting temples and natural attractions, and from here it is convenient to visit the rest of the cities and attractions of the South.
  • Savannakhet. The city and transit point are in the south, there is nothing to do in the city itself.

Laos climate, seasons

The climate in Laos is subtropical, Equatorial. Most of Laos lies within the mountains, and in populated areas in the mountains the weather can be cool.

In general, there are three seasons in Laos:

  • Hot season lasts from April to May. At this time, the temperature can rise to 40 degrees.
  • Wet season lasts from June to October. At this time there are torrential rains, and the weather is relatively low and comfortable.
  • Dry season lasts from November to March. This is the best time and high season in Laos. Rains in that period are very rare, and the temperature is the lowest. In places in mountainous areas, the temperature drops to 0 degrees.

By and large, given the nature of holidays in Laos, the tourist season lasts all year round. Only during the hot season and the wet season can the weather present some inconvenience in the form of excessive heat and frequent showers. But, if you plan to actively travel through the mountainous regions of Laos, it is better to avoid visiting the country during the wet season, as heavy rains can wash out the already terrible roads of Laos.

Tourist seasons in Luang Prabang by month, when is the best time to go

Jan Feb March Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov. Dec
                       

* best time to visit;
acceptable time to visit;
not recommended time to visit

Current weather in Luang Prabang and forecast for the near future:

  • 03 Июл
    0:00
    пасмурно
    +24°C
    1м/с
    Влаж. 98%
  • 03 Июл
    9:00
    небольшой дождь
    +30°C
    2м/с
    Влаж. 80%
  • 03 Июл
    18:00
    облачно с прояснениями
    +23°C
    1м/с
    Влаж. 99%
  • 04 Июл
    3:00
    небольшой дождь
    +30°C
    2м/с
    Влаж. 67%
  • 04 Июл
    12:00
    небольшой дождь
    +26°C
    1м/с
    Влаж. 96%
  • 04 Июл
    21:00
    пасмурно
    +23°C
    1м/с
    Влаж. 99%
  • 05 Июл
    6:00
    небольшой дождь
    +30°C
    1м/с
    Влаж. 89%
  • 05 Июл
    15:00
    небольшой дождь
    +24°C
    0м/с
    Влаж. 100%
  • 06 Июл
    0:00
    дождь
    +24°C
    0м/с
    Влаж. 100%
  • 06 Июл
    9:00
    небольшой дождь
    +27°C
    1м/с
    Влаж. 87%
  • 06 Июл
    18:00
    небольшой дождь
    +24°C
    1м/с
    Влаж. 100%
  • 07 Июл
    3:00
    небольшой дождь
    +24°C
    1м/с
    Влаж. 98%

* - прогноз указан по местному времени. Данные получены с https://openweathermap.org. Если отображаются устаревшие даты, обновите страницу с помощью F5+Ctrl.

Time in Laos

Time in Laos is ahead of Moscow by +4 hours, winter-summer is not translated.

Current time in Laos*
Разница по времени с городами:
Москва: +4 Самара: +3
Казань: +4 Нижний Новгород: +4
Екатеринбург: +2 Новосибирск: 0
Иркутск: -1 Владивосток: -3
* - если время неверно, обновите страницу Ctrl+F5:

Communication and internet in Laos

Wired communication in Laos is poorly developed, especially counting on an inexpensive phone call is not necessary, the cost of a minute of conversation with Russia will cost about $ 3.

Cellular communication in Laos is much more developed. Almost the entire territory of the country is covered by the reception area, but the quality varies greatly from average to very poor. Confident reception only in large cities. Near the borders, you can use SIM cards of Thai and Vietnamese operators.

In Laos, the beeline network is actively developing and operating, but Megafon and Tele2 SIM cards, in our experience, did not catch the network at all. Beeline offers roaming packages of 200 USD 20 minutes, and internet 20MB for 200 USD. If you can not do without mobile communication, it is better to buy a local SIM card.

Beeline in Laos everywhere

The Internet is good. Almost all hotels offer free Wi-Fi, there is an internet cafe with pay-per-time.

  • Code for International Communication: 00
  • Laos International Code: 856
    • +856 21 Vientiane
    • +856 71 Luang Prabang
    • +856 41 Savanaket
    • +856 31 Pakse
  • Emergency Services: 03

Language in Laos

In Laos, several national languages are spoken, among which Lao is the most popular. It is also the official state language. This language is also called Thai-Lao, because it is very similar to the Thai language.

Foreign languages in Laos are poorly known, mainly in large settlements. Young people can speak English, older people have difficulty remembering French (colonial language). In the Outback, you will have to speak only "on your fingers" (unless of course you know Thai or Lao).

The names of objects on signs and government offices even in the farthest hinterland of Laos are duplicated in English, and sometimes in French. But keep in mind that the pronunciation written in English or French (as, indeed, in Russian) can be very different from the original, and do not be surprised if you can not understand. If you have to ask for directions, it is better to write the names on paper.

Religion in Laos

Most of the population of Laos professes Buddhism. In large numbers, tribes professing animism (animal worship) have been preserved. In small numbers there are Christians, Muslims and Hindus.

Electricity in Laos

Electricity in Laos uses 220V. However, sockets are most often three-pin with flat pins. It makes sense to stock up on an adapter.

In some localities in Laos, electricity is turned on only for a certain period of time, usually in the evening for several hours.

How to get to Laos

It is impossible to get to Laos from Russia and most other European countries directly. Air communication is carried out only with the neighboring countries of Southeast Asia by a limited number of airlines, and the prices for flights by Asian standards are quite high.

Laos has only three international airports in Vientiane, Luang Prabang and Pakse. Flights there are Lao Airlines, Thai Airways, Bangkok Airways and Vietnam Airlines, AirAsia. You can fly to them from Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Da Nang), Thailand (Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Udon Thani, Cambodia (Siem Reap, Phnom Penh), Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur), China, Singapore. Prices for flights start at $ 150 one way.

Minimum prices for flights from Russia to Vientiane:

ЦЕНАМАРШРУТПЕРЕСАДКИ
НАЙТИ ОТ 43513 ₽ Москва ⇄ Вьентьян 2
НАЙТИ ОТ 261706 ₽ Санкт-Петербург ⇄ Вьентьян 3
НАЙТИ ОТ 178973 ₽ Челябинск ⇄ Вьентьян 3
НАЙТИ ОТ 350817 ₽ Казань ⇄ Вьентьян 3
НАЙТИ ОТ 106183 ₽ Екатеринбург ⇄ Вьентьян 5

Minimum prices for flights from Russia to Luang Prabang:

ЦЕНАМАРШРУТПЕРЕСАДКИ
НАЙТИ ОТ 422020 ₽ Москва ⇄ Луангпхабанг 2

It is much cheaper to get to Laos by land or by water (by rivers) from neighboring countries. The only exception is Myanmar, the border with which is closed to the transition. There are many border crossings to Laos (from China, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia) through which foreigners can pass, as well as a number of crossings where a visa is issued on arrival if necessary. The disadvantage of this method is the long duration of moves. For example, moving from Hanoi to Luang Prabang by bus takes more than a day.

From Bangkok to Laos you can get by train, departs three times a day to Vientiane, or rather to the border near the capital. There are also bus routes from Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Pattaya, Pai.

From Vietnam to Laos can only be reached by bus. The route can be done independently with a change of buses at the border, or you can buy a complex ticket immediately with a change of bus or on one bus, which will be a little more expensive, but there are much fewer problems. There are at least the following flights:

  • Hanoi-Luang Prabang, Vientiane, Vang Vieng, Phonsavan. The cost is from 40 to 50 dollars one way, 24 hours on the way.
  • Sapa-Luang Prabang. Cost from $ 40, 24 hours on the road.
  • Da Nang – Vientiane, Savannakhet and Pakse.
  • Hue-Vientiane, Savannakhet and Pakse.
  • Vinh-Wentian

You can view bus schedules, fares, and travel reservations at 12go.asia.

Please note that the roads in Laos are very winding, pass through mountain serpentines, the road surface is poor. Therefore, despite the small distances on the map, the move takes a lot of time. And be sure to make a time reserve of several hours, because buses are almost always late.

Detailed information on how to get to Laos by air and by land is provided in the sections on the respective resorts in Laos.

For the most adventurous travelers, it is possible to enter Laos from Vietnam on your own or rented motorcycle, but not at all border crossings. It is best to clarify the situation for a specific transition with the locals in Vietnam before the trip. When crossing the border, you will need to fill out a form and pay $ 10 on the Vietnamese side, and 30,000 Kip (about $ 4) on the Lao side. See more about visa in Laos and visa-free regime for Russians here...

See also:

Laos International Bus

Transport in Laos, how to move around the country

There are no railways in Laos, there are few airports and domestic flights are very expensive, so the main way to move around the country is buses.

Despite the bad roads (although they are getting better every year), intercity bus service is well developed and connects all major cities with each other. There are regular buses, and tourist. Both of them almost do not differ in price and are quite comfortable, but the latter are more convenient for tourists, since they are sent from tourist areas, and not from bus stations. In some cases, a ticket for a tourist bus in fact is just a transfer to the bus station and a transfer to a regular bus, but in any case it is more convenient and profitable than getting to the bus station yourself. You can buy tickets at travel agencies and hotels in tourist areas (recommended), or at bus stations (worth using only if there is no other option).

Some remote towns, including those popular with tourists, can only be reached by boat. Also, boat trips along the Mekong and other rivers of the country are popular as scenic tours. But compared to buses, the cost of a boat is much higher than buses for the same distances, so in order to save money, it is better to avoid boats.

There are city buses only in Vientiane, so in cities and Resorts the most common way of Transportation is tuk-tuks. They are regular (go on routes), or used as a taxi. Tourists use scheduled tuk-tuks problematic, so you need to be prepared to pay for a taxi, and more than the locals. Locals pay from 5,000 Kip for a short trip, with tourists for the same they can ask for 20,000 Kip, so you need to bargain. For reference, it is worth haggling to the price of 5000 Kip for one kilometer of travel.

In tourist cities, it is very common to rent transport. You can rent a bicycle for 10 000 kip, or Motobike (scooter, moped) for 80 000 Kip per day. To drive a motorcycle, you need international IDP rights with an open category "A", otherwise theoretically there may be problems with the police. You can also rent a car, but so far the prices for them are unreasonably high.

Luang Prabang tuk
Comments / recent posts on the topic on the forum
admin 5 Nov, 2021
Dear friends! You can ask questions in English in this topic.r>For more comfortable work on the forum, you can switch the interface language to English in your personal account. Go to “Личный Раздел/Личные настройки/Язык” and switch the language. ...