Wat Xieng Thong temple in Luang Pragang in Laos
Travel to a country like Laos It is certainly a magical experience, but ...you are well informed What do you need to know before going to this Asian enclave?
If you are planning your trip to this exotic country, it is important that you have all the essential information to enjoy it
That's why we leave you somehelpful tips what you should know before traveling toLaos.
1.- Where is Laos?
Laos It is a country of Southeast Asian without exit to the sea, which is surrounded by five countries when bordering with China to the north, Myanmar To the northeast, Thailand Y Cambodia to the south, and Vietnam to West.
It is located between the mountains of the mountain range of Annamite, which serves as a separation with Vietnam, and with the mekong river to the south making a natural border with the other four countries.
In the northern part it is a mountainous country, and the farther south Laos begins to become a plain territory.
2.- Is a visa required to travel to Laos?
To enter Laos you will need apassport with a minimum validity of 6 months from the date of entry.
Kuang Si Falls in Laos
Already at the airport of entry you will need to process a visa to stay in the country, which will cost you an approximate price of 30 to 32 euros.
And very important!! it is necessary to carry two passport type photos They will ask you at the entrance control.
3.- Hire insurance to travel to Laos
This may be the most important advice you should keep in mind to travel to Southeast Asia: do not travel without take out travel insurance for those days.
It can be very expensive if you have a medical problem in the country, because you would have to pay the entire cost of the treatment, and many times we are not aware of the very high costs involved.
We never thought anything could happen to us, but in case it happens and we don't have insurance,we can have a serious problem.
Luang Prabang corner in Laos
In this countries Medicine is private and not too good, so it is essential to have a travel insurance to cover you in case you need treatment or a transfer to another country to be treated there.
When you take out travel insurance, you have to look at several aspects that are really key to being well covered.
It is important to look at whether it includes cancellation insurance, in case you have to cancel the trip; on the other hand, the amount covered by the insurance, in addition to clauses such as compensation for delay or loss of flight.
There are many insurances that can be hired, but I will tell you that we travel with IATI, a company that specializes in this type of travel and has become a good reference among those who are frequent travelers.
Because besides these sure of IATI They include maintenance costs for family members in case of an accident, since if for any circumstance you have to enter a hospital, it is essential that they take care of the companion's expenses.
Insurance for a week is very cheap, it is almost given away, compared to what it can cost you to have a mishap.
Hiring anySure of IATI through this link you have a 5% discount for being a reader of Travel Guides
Monks in Laos
4.- What religion do they have in Laos?
The majority of Laos population is buddhist, more than 60%.
But also other religions such as worship phii animistofficially prohibited hinduist, and to a lesser extent due to the reminiscences of the French colonies, the Christianity.
Upon entering the temples it is necessary to wear covered shoulders, so if you take them to the air, you must cover yourself with a sarong.
You also always have to take off your shoes at the entrance to the temples, so it is ideal to wear flip flops; In addition, pants must be worn below the knees.
5.- Where to change currency in Laos?
To change currency there are several exchange positions around the city.
Where to change currency in Laos
The currency exchange is 1 euro are almost 9400 kips, but in each post you have a sign with the changes. There is not much difference between them.
There are also many ATMs where you can get money, the symbol is ATM, and they will charge you a commission of around 2 euros.
6.- Hire excursions from Luang Prabang
Since Luang Prabang you can do various excursions or activitieshow to visit Kuang Si Falls, make a Mekong River Cruise, or give a elephant ride; There are several stores in the cities that offer them.
Prices vary depending on the excursion you want to hire, with prices from 5 euros a transport, or 20 euros a simple boat ride, to higher prices for private tours with guide in Spanish.
Keep in mind that prices in Laos In general they are quite affordable compared to other countries.
There are many excursions or visits that are not found in the city, so the biggest problem is usually transportation.
Kuang Si Falls in Laos
If you do not want to complicate renting a motorcycle, we advise you Hire excursions before traveling to Laos and you avoid problems to locate the premises or understand yourself with English.
In fact you can even hire multi-day tours in which they will pick you up at your own hotel by car or air-conditioned minibus.
If you just want guided day trips, excursions or transport, several of them with a guide in Spanish, hiring them before traveling allows you to ensure their availability.
7.- How to get around in transport in Laos
If you do not want to drive on your trip to Laos, the excursions you can hire include a driver.
But if what you want is to move at your own pace, the best thing you can do is rent a motorcycle or car, but you have to know that you need several things.
Transportation in Laos
He international driving license It's fundamental; If not, they will not let you rent a vehicle.
In order to have Internet in the mobile and to be able to use the map, it is advisable to buy a SIM card , which sell you at the same airport.
The roads are not well marked and can be chaotic despite being a small population.
And something that seems obvious is knowing how to drive a motorcycle if you are going to rent it, and I say it because there are many motorcycles on the streets and there are apparently no traffic rules, so it is advisable to have driving skills.
Also, when renting it you have to see if it is type scooter of automatic gears or if it is a motorcycle with changes and brake on the foot.
You would not be the first who do not realize when you pick it up and end up having an accident.
Luang Prabang corner in Laos
On our trip through Southeast Asia we have seen many western tourists with injuries from motorcycle falls.
Despite this chaos of driving in Laos, it must be said that they all drive very slowly through the country, which will facilitate adaptation.
8.- Is it safe to travel to Laos?
Laos A very very safe country, there is no problem with bringing the cameras in sight, or walking at night.
Despite that, pickpockets exist in every city in the world, but in our case during the trip to Laos At no time did we have any sense of insecurity
9.- Where to sleep in Laos
The hotels in Laos They are really cheap, so it is worth giving yourself a luxury and staying in one of the hotels that occupy French colonial buildings.
Here you can Book a hotel for your trip to Laos.
Typical food in Laos
10.- What to eat in Laos
The typical food of Laos It is quite similar to that of Thailand, and most of the dishes include rice of various types, including the sticky one that is also used to make the characteristic rice vinegar.
Rice is the basis of food and is always combined with vegetables, chicken, pork and river fish.
They usually include touches of flavor with cilantro, citrus juices or tamarind, hints of mint, ginger, hot peppers and coconut milk.
The influence french colonial makes bread very common, and more specifically, baguettes.
Tap water is not potable, so make sureconsume only bottled water.
Watch out for the ice, which are usually made with tap water and can cause diarrhea.
Night Market at Luang Prabang in Laos
Like the fruit juices they sell at street stalls, which are mixed with non-bottled water.
Fruits like pineapple and other tropical fruits are really good.
In a good restaurant you can eat for about 10 euros per person, including drinks, while in the stalls Night market You can eat for about 5 euros per person.
To put an indicative price, in the street stalls a skewer with a chicken thigh or a breast or almost anything, comes to cost 1 euro (about 10,000 kips).
River fish costs about 20,000 kips, and a beer also one euro, that is, about 10,000 kips.
11.- How is the weather in Laos
Months from November to February it is when it rains the least and is considered high season. time when more tourists travel.
Landscapes of Laos
During the rainy season, from July to October, roads can be cut by floods.
We went at the end of June and almost every day in the afternoon it was raining heavily for a while, then clear again
12.- What clothes to wear in Laos?
It is advisable to wear comfortable and comfortable clothes, sunglasses and a small towel in case it is very hot to be able to dry yourself.
The wipe helped us a lot.
13.- Should we tip in Laos?
The answer is yes, but more or less there are indicative prices.
Water buffalo in Laos
Tour guides are advised to tip about 4-5 euros per person per day, and restaurants should leave 10 percent of the amount of the bill.
14.- Vaccines and medicines to travel to Laos
There is no compulsory vaccine, especially for major cities, but treatment is advised to prevent malaria if you go to less touristy areas
Bring strong mosquito repellent and of course,aspirin, ibuprofen Y paracetamol.
To check exactly if you need any vaccine or special prevention, in Spain before traveling you must visit the Tropical Medicine Unit.
There you tell them in detail what trip you are going to take, what countries and areas you are going to visit, and they provide you with the recipes you need if necessary.
Wat Xieng Thong temple in Laos
15.- Wifi and plugs in Laos
There is usually Wifi in most hotels and restaurants, although it does not always work well.
The plugs have a voltage of 220V, and are the usual ones in Spain,no adapters needed.
16.- Should we haggle in Laos?
Haggling is essential in all the street stalls where you buy handicrafts, clothes and this kind of thing.
For restaurants and street food the price is fixed and there is no need to haggle. In the transport also it is necessary to negotiate, especially in the tuk tuks.
Temple in Luang Prabang in Laos
When you haggle, the ideal is not to accept the first price and negotiate one that satisfies both parties. In any case, keep in mind that it is a very cheap country, and the average salary of those who live there is about 200 or 300 euros per month.
To give an example, when we were going to buy a t-shirt they almost always started asking us 50,000 kips, and we ended up closing the price in half or less.
17.- Is there a Spanish embassy in Laos?
The answer is no. The nearest embassy is that of Bangkok.
In case you need it for something, here is the information about the Spanish embassy in the Thai capital.
Direction: Lake Radaja Office Complex, 23rd floor, suite 88-89
193 Radajapisek Road, Klongtoey, Bangkok - 10110
Consular emergency telephone:66818687507
Telephones from outside Thailand:662661.8284/8285/8286/8287