Lao People’s Democratic Republic

Laos is a beautiful Landlocked Southeast Asian country that shares borders with Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar and China. Unlike some of the other popular Southeast Asian tourist destinations, Laos offers a more laid-back and off-the-beaten-path experience.

Flag of Laos

A tumultuous history of being colonised by the French, getting caught up in the Vietnam War and remaining to be one of the world’s few openly communist states has led to Laos being a poor country and heavily dependent on international aid.

That being said, reasons are abundant why you should add Laos to your south-east Asia trip! The country is rich with beautiful temples, culture, colonial architecture, stunning mountain scenery, waterfalls, lagoons and a sense of wildness and freedom that can only be felt when you are there.

Laos Facts:

  • Capital: Vientiane
  • Language: Lao
  • Population: 7.7 Million
  • Currency: Kip ( $1 USD = 21,400 Kip) See current Xe exchange rate)
  • Dialing code: +856
  • Major River: Mekong


Depending on your nationality, tourist visa prices are around $30-45 USD for 1 month. You might also need to provide proof of sufficient funds for your stay and confirmation of an onward ticket or journey. You should be able to extend your 30-day visa twice for a maximum of 90 days. The extension fee is around 20,000 Kip per day. Please see Lao immigration website for more information.

Please note: The information above is to be used as a guide only.

Getting around Laos

Depending on the style of traveller you are and the length of time spent in certain locations. I would recommend hiring a scooter/motorbike to get around the local area. Scooters are easy to drive, cheap to run and offer lots of flexibility when exploring. For shorter trips whereby you don’t want to hire a motorbike or don’t feel comfortable doing that – I would recommend using the Loca app. This is the Cambodian equivalent of UBER.

For longer trips between cities, you can book buses or mini-vans. They are usually cheap BUT the quality can vary hugely. I found the best websites for bus tickets to be Book Away or 12Go. If travelling anywhere northward of the capital Vientiane you can take the high-speed Botten – Vientiane Railway, this is a wonderful high-speed mode of transport (150km/h) and slashes travel times dramatically. This can also be purchased at Book Away or at the ticket office at the station.