Getting to Laos
Currently there are no direct flights to Laos but this is sure to change as the country is growing in popularity with holiday makers. However Laos is still a relatively easy destination to get to. Travelers have the options of flying through one of the following airports; Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Hong Kong, Saigon or Seoul, before the final short leg to either Vientiane, Luang Prabang or Pakse. In terms of travel time this obviously depends on how long you have to wait for your connection, but you are looking at approximately a total of 12 hours of flying time.
We have found that the two best companies to book your flights through are ‘Dialaflight’ and ‘Flight Centre’. Both companies have specialist South East Asia representatives that will be able to find you the best value deal to get you to and from the most suitable airport for the trip.When you have reserved your flights please contact us to arrange your personalized travel itinerary.
Visas & Taxes
Please make sure your passport does not expire within six months of your travel period. Laos visas can be issued on arrival at various crossings where foreigners can legally cross. However in some cases it may be advisable to get your visa organised before you travel. You will also need to bring with you 2 or 3 passport size photos. Visas cost US$35 for a tourist visa and these last for a period of 30 days. A tourist visa can be extended for a further two months.Please note that the airport departure tax should now be included in your airline flight ticket.Please take a look at www.tourismlaos.org for other useful information.
We recommend that you see your doctor or a travel clinic at least 6 weeks before your departure for general advice on travel risks, malaria and vaccinations. ‘Masta’ offers excellent medical advice from recommended vaccinations to malaria advice.From them you can also buy a number of useful products including mosquito repellent, malaria tablets and many other forms of travel related products. As an alternative you might like to try the ‘Travelpharm’.If you are currently taking any medicine please be certain that you take a sufficient supply to last through your trip. Also ensure that you have insurance for accident and sickness. If you need a doctor while in Laos, you must be prepared to pay for these services and claim it back on your insurance on your return. Ensure you keep all receipts and it is recommended that you take a copy of your prescription(s) with you.
The Laos kip is the official currency of Laos; however some websites refer to the unit of Laos money as ‘New Kip’ due to changes in recent times. Thai Baht and US dollars are also accepted in larger towns, hotels, restaurants and some shops.Bank notes in circulation are: 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10000, 20000 and 50000 Kip.Make sure if you do pay in US dollars that the notes are in good condition, torn or marked in any way as these notes will not be accepted. Finally once you leave Laos, no-one except other travelers on their way into Laos will want your kip, so make sure that you spend it before you go.
There are several national banks and licensed money exchangers where you can change or withdraw money. Working hours are 8am-3.30pm, Monday to Friday. Most banks will accept traveler’s cheques at 2%-4% commission being the usual charge but beware that they will often only exchange for kip. Most of the provincial and large towns now have ATM’s however you should always double check before you leave for some of the remote areas.