Travellers come to Laos to experience the rolling mountains, remote villages, tribal crafts and the magic of the Mekong.

They leave with so much more: irreplaceable memories of smiling locals, saffron-robed monks receiving alms and markets brimming with fresh produce. For those searching for authentic Asia, Laos doesn’t disappoint.

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Transport in Laos

Intrepid believes half the fun of experiencing a new country is getting there, and getting around once there! Where possible, Intrepid uses local transport options and traditional modes of transport - which usually carry less of an environmental impact, support small local operators and are heaps more fun.

Depending on which trip you're on while in Laos, you may find yourself travelling by:

Row boats moored in the water

Riverboat

Cruising down the Mekong is an iconic travel experience that just must be done in one’s lifetime.

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Accommodation in Laos

Travelling with Intrepid is a little bit different. We endeavour to provide travellers with an authentic experience to remember, so we try to keep accommodation as unique and traditional as possible.

When travelling with us in Laos you may find yourself staying in a:

Local wanders in rice field in rural Laos

Guesthouse

Intrepid prefers smaller character-filled hotels over hotel chains. When staying in Laos, enjoy staying in small guesthouses and hotels owned and run by friendly locals.

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Laos holiday information

At a glance
Best time to visit Laos
Culture and customs
Eating and drinking
Geography and environment
History and government
Outdoor Experiences in Laos
Shopping
Festivals and Events in Laos
Health and Safety
Further reading

Laos travel FAQs

Trips on or before 31 December 2022

If your Intrepid trip starts on or before 31 December 2022, you must provide proof of full vaccination against COVID-19.

If you are unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons, you may apply for an exemption. Exemptions will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. To apply, you must provide a medical certificate from a medical professional. 

Children under 18 are exempt. Children aged between 5 and 17 years old must provide proof of either vaccination, recovery or a negative COVID-19 test.

Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards

From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travellers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (excluding all Polar trips and select adventure cruises). However, we continue to strongly recommend that all Intrepid travellers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.

Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.

Learn more about Intrepid's COVID-19 proof of vaccination policy

You can get your visa in advance, but a visa can easily be obtained on arrival at most airports from around 35-50USD (dependant on nationality). Please check with the consulate in your country for more details before you travel. If you are planning to get your visa at the airport we recommend bringing 2 passport size photos.

Tipping isn't mandatory or customary in Laos, but a tip of spare change or another small amount would be appreciated by restaurants, drivers and other service workers, especially if the service has been particularly good.

Internet access is available easily in tourist areas like Vang Vieng, Luang Prabang and Vientiane, but is far less likely to be found in rural and remote areas.

You'll be able to use your mobile phone in most urban areas of Laos, although rural and remote areas may not have network coverage. Ensure you have global roaming activated with your mobile carrier before you leave home if you wish to use your mobile while in Laos.

You'll have to adjust to different standards of hygiene and sanitation whilst in Laos. The standard toilet is of the squat variety and this may take some getting used to, although western-style toilets can be found in large hotels and some tourist areas.

Market snack = 7,000 LAK 
Large bottle of beer = 9,000 LAK
Budget restaurant meal = 23,000 LAK
High-end restaurant meal = 55,000 LAK

Drinking tap water isn't recommended in Laos. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water. Ask your leader where filtered water can be found; some hotels we stay in may have drinking water available. It's also advisable to avoid ice in drinks and peel fruit and vegetables before eating.

Major credit cards are generally accepted by large shops, hotels and restaurants in the city and tourist areas in the cities. However, they may not be accepted by smaller vendors such as small family restaurants, market stalls or in remote towns and rural areas. Make sure you carry enough cash for purchases, since credit cards aren't always an option everywhere in Laos.

ATMs can be found in the cities of Laos, so withdrawing cash shouldn't be problematic. Smaller villages and rural areas may not have ATM access, so prepare for this before venturing too far from a city or major town.

Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of their trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.

For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance

Responsible Travel

Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.

Baskets of fruit and vegetables at local markets in Laos

How we're giving back

In Laos, we stay in locally run accommodation including guesthouses, smaller-scale hotels and homestays in an effort to support the local economies. We also visit locally-run restaurants and markets where travellers will have opportunities to support local businesses and purchase handicrafts created by local artisans.