Laos is a landlocked country in southeast Asia, bordered by Burma (Myanmar) and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the south, and Thailand to the west. Laos traces its history to the Kingdom of Lan Xang or Land of a Million Elephants, which existed from the fourteenth to the eighteenth century. After a period as a French protectorate, it gained independence in 1949. A long civil war ended officially when the communist Pathet Lao movement came to power in 1975. After taking control of the country, Pathet Lao’s government gave Vietnam the right to station military forces and to appoint advisers to assist in overseeing the country. Control by Vietnam and socialization were slowly replaced by a relaxation of economic restrictions in the 1980s and admission into ASEAN in 1997. In 2005, the United States established Normal Trade Relations with Laos. Tourism in the country is centered on Luang Prabang, the ancient royal city with its dozens of temples and palaces. Vientienne, the capitol, is also picturesque and quiet.
PASSPORT REQUIREMENTS FOR LAOS TOURS
A passport that is valid for at least one month after the end of your trip is required for both U.S. and Canadian citizens to enter and depart the country. Please ensure that the name on your passport matches all travel documents we have issued. If this is not the case, please contact us immediately.
Please make a photocopy of your passport’s identification page and keep it separate from your original. It’s also a good idea to leave a digital copy with someone at home. This may speed up the replacement process should you lose your passport.
VISA REQUIREMENTS FOR LAOS TOURS
Both Canadian and American citizens need a visa to enter Laos. At this time, a visa on arrival service is available. Please bring along 2 passport sized photos. The cost locally is roughly $25 USD. Please be sure to double check this with our staff before travel, or consult the Laos embassy, to ensure regulations have not changed.
For more visa information please visit:
INSURANCE RECOMMENDATIONS FOR LAOS TOURS
Cancelation and Medical Insurance is highly recommended as it can safeguard against the expenses associated with in-country medical emergencies, lost or delayed baggage and emergency cancelation or interruption of your trip. Please ensure your policy will provide you with upfront medical coverage so that you are not responsible for a hefty doctor’s bill while away. Insurance can be purchased through us.
VACCINATION REQUIREMENTS FOR LAOS TOURS
No vaccinations are required to enter Laos. It is advised to consult a travel doctor 8 weeks before departure in regards to the recommended vaccinations below. Some vaccines require more than one dose or a major length of time to be effective. Suggested routine vaccinations include:
DiphtheriaHepatitis A & BMalariaRabiesTetanusTyphoidJapanese Encephalitis
For all vaccinations and health requirements, you can also refer to the recommendations from:
World Health Organization (WHO): http://www.who.int and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) http://wwwnc.cdc.gov.
MEDICATION REQUIREMENTS FOR LAOS TOURS
If there are any medical items essential to your health, such as prescription drugs or corrective eye wear, bring duplicates and divide them between your checked bags and hand luggage. While non-prescription drugs such as aspirin are generally available, it is difficult to replace prescription items.
Other recommended Items:
WEATHER, SEASONS AND CLIMATE IN LAOS
Laos has three distinct seasons: The hot season, the wet season, and the dry season. The hot season is from March to May, and can see temperatures as high as 40°C. The wet season is slightly cooler and lasts from May to October, seeing temperatures around 30°C, with frequent tropical downpours. Finally, the dry season from November to March has low rainfall and much cooler temperatures as low as 15°C, and sometimes even lower in the mountains. This dry season is also the tourist season. For up-to-date forecasts, check www.weather.com.
CLOTHING AND ESSENTIAL ITEMS FOR LAOS TRAVEL
Loose, natural fabrics all year are recommended (keep in mind that temperatures can soar during the hot season), but warmer clothing is required in the highlands and in the winter in Laos. Rainwear is essential during the wet season. As a rule shoulders and knees should be covered when entering religious sites.
FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS: Video camera, camera with zoom lens in a dust-resistant case, sufficient memory cards, a spare camera battery and charger. Photography is not allowed in certain religious buildings, especially temples. So be sure to ask permission before you take a photo.
ELECTRICITY, PHONE AND INTERNET IN LAOS
CURRENCY IN LAOS
The national currency is the kip (LAK), which is difficult to find or exchange outside Laos; change money on arrival and try to get rid of any leftovers before leaving the country. The kip comes in denominations of 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, and 50,000 notes. For current exchange rates please visit www.xe.com
QUICK FACTS FOR A LAOS TOUR