According to countryaah, Laos is still an unconquerable oasis for tourists, offering the traveler a first-class experience in Southeast Asia. From the relaxed World Heritage Site of Luang Prabang to the mystical Plain of Jars and the temple-colored capital of Vientiane – the country has plenty to see and do for several weeks.
Cultural heritage and a relaxed vibe
Laos ’cultural heritage spans centuries, including various kingdoms, religions and revolutions. Nevertheless, the country has maintained a strong cultural unity. The main religion of Buddhism is represented everywhere by the abundance of thousands of monks and hundreds of temples. In addition, the Indochina era is reflected in architecture and food culture.
Even more wonderful sights are still remembered by happy and always smiling people. The general atmosphere in the country is much more immediate than in Europe and almost more sincere than in the rest of Asia.
Guests are treated with respect and it is not uncommon for locals to ask home for dinner – or for a monk to give their email address in the hope of a pen pal.
Sticky rice and tasty beer
Laotian food differs relatively much from other Southeast Asian cuisines. However, certain similarities can be found especially in the food culture of northern Thailand. The local basic food is sticky rice, to which e.g. Galangal root and fish sauce. The national dish is called Laap, a spicy mix of marinated meat or fish as well as vegetables and herbs.
In terms of drinks, Laos ’national pride is Beerlao, which is actually a very tasty beer. In addition, coffee beans are considered one of the best in the world. More than 20,000 families work in coffee production and it has developed into one of the most important export products in recent years.
Get ready for large bundles of banknotes
The official currency in Laos is kip. The Thai baht or US dollar are also generally accepted currencies. There are no ATMs everywhere, but a few should be found in Vientiane, Luang Prabang and Vang Vieng, for example.
Withdrawing money in the country is going to be an interesting event, because when withdrawing money worth a couple of euros, you get huge bundles of cash. However, you should use cash, as using a credit card as a method of payment is not recommended.
Safety and health
In general, Laos is a safe destination. Certainly the biggest problem is the same as elsewhere in Southeast Asia, namely transport. The direction of travel and other rules don’t seem to bother many locals.
The best and safest buses are, of course, more expensive, but still very cheap by Western standards, so these are worth sticking to. Using common sense, it survives without its bigger problems.
In terms of health, the biggest headache is the traditional style of tourist diarrhea. One way to prepare in advance is to book your trip according to lactic acid bacteria.
Unfortunately, dengue fever and malaria have also spread to most of the country. For malaria, it is advisable to use preventative medication and against mosquitoes, the best way to protect yourself is to use mosquito repellent as well as long-sleeved clothing. It is a good idea to find out the necessary vaccinations from your doctor before traveling.
Prepare for the climate at the design stage
There are three distinct seasons in Laos. The hot season runs from March to May. Then temperatures can rise up to 40 degrees with very high humidity.
The humid season, on the other hand, is from May to November with temperatures rotating at 30-degree splits. In this case, the rains are constant and the rivers may flood, making it difficult to travel.
The third, dry season, runs from November to March, when temperatures are at their lowest in 20-degree readings and parts of mountainous areas may even go to the frost side. The visibility, on the other hand, is excellent and the heat does not constantly torment, making this also the main tourist season.
FLIGHTS, ACCOMMODATION AND MOVEMENT IN STOCK
Short for LA by abbreviationfinder, Laos is surrounded by several countries. Neighboring countries are Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, China and Vietnam. The only condition for entry is a passport valid for six months and a visa obtained at the border post (one exception is Voeng Kham at the Cambodian border). In any case, it is worth reviewing the entry policy before arriving in Laos, as the situation may change quickly.
The fastest route to the site passes through Bangkok, from where you can continue your journey towards Laos after a stopover.
Accommodation for all budgets
In principle, you should not expect five-star accommodation in Laos. Despite this, the local hotels and hostels are generally clean and in good condition and the atmosphere is excellent.
Above all, housing is very cheap. Ten dollars is enough for a very clean double room, a few more so the bathroom can also be included in the package.
On average, the best accommodation can be found in Luang Prabang, where idyllic hotels are located close to the city center and are of high quality. In Vang Vieng and especially in Vientiane, the quality may clearly vary and the price is not always a guarantee of quality. It is a good idea to refer to the travel guide from time to time or ask for recommendations from other travelers.
Extensive bus network carries
Over the past few years, Laos ’road network has developed significantly, thanks to foreign aid. The main roads are in good condition and the trips go very smoothly.
The best option for getting around Laos is by bus, as the network is extensive, cars are generally in good condition and the price is low. Traveling to surrounding countries such as Thailand or Vietnam is also easiest by bus.
Basically, the price / quality scale is divided into three different categories: express (mainly for locals), express aircon and VIP (for tourists). For convenience and a small price difference, it is recommended to take the VIP bus, especially when the locals have a very poor tolerance for continuous serpentine roads.
For those arriving from northern Thailand, the best way might be a one-and-a-half-day boat trip to Luang Prabang. The villages of the Mekong estuary and the feel of the old world are real experiences. Anyway, in Laos, it is possible to travel by boat almost all the way from north down to the Cambodian border, but schedules may be windy and the comfort factor is not very high.
With an urgent schedule, the most sensible option is to use an aircraft, with a domestic network operated by Lao Airlines.