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Golden Sleeping Buddha, Mount Phou Si, Luang Prabang

Laos Tours & Adventure Trips

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Explore Laos on a cultural tour as you interact with the local people, trek through the breathtaking scenery and get a taste for what makes this nation such a hospitable and warm place to travel.
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Laos Travel Tips & Guide

Travel Highlights of Laos

Between its French colonial history and the rich Buddhist culture that is engrained into the very nature of this country, Laos is a truly enchanting destination. Its convenient location on the Mekong River means that it also couples well with cruises through Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam – although they all share the Indochina Peninsula, their cultures, histories, and national identities are beautifully distinct & diverse. A trip to Laos might include:
  • Swimming & hiking around waterfalls, like the crystal clear, cerulean three-tiered Kuang Si falls, or the Li Phi Falls, where Irrawaddy dolphins can be seen.
  • Explore the sacred Pak Ou caves, where more than 3,000 Buddha figurines can be found in the dark corners of these spiritual caverns.
  • Experience the heart of Lao Buddhism as you tour Luang Prabang and see its many ornate temples.
  • Enjoy exclusive access to the 4,000 Islands as you navigate them by ferries; from here you can also check out the 11th century Khmer Temple of Wat Phou, still in use today. 
  • Trek through a beautiful land of elephants & orchids outside of the capital, Vientiane and later visit the Elephant Conservation Center in Sayaboury.
Laos Fun Facts
  1. The country's official name is "Lao People's Democratic Republic."
  2. BeerLao is a uniquely delicious beer, using yeast from Germany and locally grown jasmine rice.
  3. Along with North Korea, China, Cuba, and Vietnam, Laos is one of the last remaining communist countries in the world.
  4. The three-day Laotian New Year celebration takes place in mid-April.
  5. Unfortunately, during the Vietnam war over 2 million bombs were dropped on Laos, garnering it the status as the "most bombed country in the world." There are still a devastating amount of unexploded bombs that make much of the land unusable for farming.
  6. Coffee is the primary export of Laos, and an impressive 80 percent of the population works in some part of agriculture.
Laos Travel FAQs
Do I need a visa to travel to Laos?
US citizens do need a visa to visit Laos. Tourist visas are not hard to get, and we can help point you in the right direction throughout the process. Check the visa requirements for more specific information.

Is tipping customary in Laos?
If a service charge has not already been included in the bill, you can leave around 10 percent on the check, however it is not a hard and fast expectation. For excellent service, it is definitely appreciated.

What is internet access like in Laos?
The internet is increasingly available in Laos - most hotels offer WiFi or at least some form of internet access, and cybers are fairly common in the major cities. In the more isolated parts of the country, you should not count on having access.

Can I use my cell phone while in Laos?
Maybe, but you shouldn't count on it. While you could call your service provider and ask them to unlock your GSM-enabled phone so that you can buy a SIM chip when you arrive, we suggest just turning it off and enjoying your exotic vacation. You could also try to connect to WiFi networks or ask your provider if they offer any international plans.

Do I need power adapters?
Power adapters are either North American style (A & B) or European style (two prong - C, E, F), so it's a good idea to purchase some power adapters. Power is 230v, but most 110v devices are made to handle both levels so a converter isn't necessary.

What are the toilets like in Laos?
Toilets in Laos will either be squat toilets (found throughout most of the country) or Western style bowl toilets (found primarily in upscale hotels or on cruise ships). No matter which type you encounter, do not flush the toilet paper, but rather put it in a waste basket next to the toilet.

Can I drink the water in Laos?
You will always be provided with safe purified or bottled water to drink throughout your trip, but you should not drink the tap water. It can be used to bathe.

Are credit cards accepted in Laos? Will I be able to find ATMs?
Don't rely on your card or ATMs in Laos. It's best to go with plenty of cash for your trip, since ATMs are not terribly common and usually only the nicest hotels and restaurants will readily accept debit or credit cards. While you might be okay with ATMs in the bigger cities, as soon as you head towards the more rural areas, you will find yourself hard-pressed to find an ATM.

Should I purchase travel insurance?
Of course! Having travel insurance is important, so once you've decided which trip is right for you go to our Once You're Booked page for more information and deals on TravelGuard Insurance.
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