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 awash with fresh produce. For those searching for authentic Asia, Laos doesn’t disappoint.

Top Laos travel deals

Departing Days From ZAR
15 Mar 2018
Laos Traveller - Bangkok to Vientiane
14 R14,975
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1 Apr 2018
Asia Family Holiday
15 R30,790
View Trip
4 Apr 2018
Thailand & Laos Adventure
13 R17,565
View Trip

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Travel lightly with Intrepid. We’ve offset the main sources of carbon emissions from this trip on your behalf, including transport, accommodation & waste. Read more

Articles on Laos

Laos travel highlights

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:



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

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:



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.

Thailand & Laos Adventure

Laos Traveller - Bangkok to Vientiane

Laos holiday information

At a glance

Best time to visit Laos

Culture and customs

Eating and drinking

Geography and environment

History and government

Outdoors Experiences in Laos


Festivals and Events in Laos

Health and Safety

Further reading

Laos travel FAQs

Australia:Yes - on arrival
Belgium: Yes - on arrival
Canada: Yes - on arrival
Germany Yes - on arrival
Ireland: Yes - on arrival
Netherlands: Yes - on arrival
New Zealand: Yes - on arrival
South Africa: Yes - on arrival
Switzerland: Yes - on arrival
United Kingdom: Yes - on arrival
USA: Yes - on arrival

We ask all our travellers to obtain their Laos visas at the border, and NOT in their home country. Your tour leader will assist you in obtaining a Laos visa, generally at the border, depending on the current state of affairs, as it can vary. 

Please ensure that you have at least 1 passport photos and up to US$60 cash (this may vary too) to fulfil the requirements. There will also be an Immigration Fee of USD1. To assist us in processing your Laos visas, please provide your agent with accurate passport details prior to the departure of your trip as these details will be passed on to our leader. 

When crossing the border you will most likely see a lesser entry fee than what you have paid. This is due to the leader having to use a local agent to process the visa which allows the group to cross the border as quickly as possible.

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 in tourist areas like Vang Vieng 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. 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

  • 1 Jan New Year's Day
  • 2 Jan New Year's Day Holiday
  • 8 Mar International Women's Day
  • 14 Apr Lao New Year (Pi Mai)
  • 15 Apr Lao New Year (Pi Mai)
  • 16 Apr Lao New Year (Pi Mai)
  • 1 May Labour Day
  • 1 Jun Children's Day
  • 8 Jul Khao Pansa (Buddhist Fast Begins)
  • 5 Oct Bouk Ok Pansa (Buddhist Fast Ends)
  • 6 Oct Boat Racing Festival at Mekhong (Vientiane)
  • 7 Oct Day of Liberation
  • 14 Nov That Luang Festival
  • 1 Dec Lao National Day Holiday
  • 2 Dec Lao National Day

Please note these dates are for 2017. For a current list of public holidays in Laos go to:

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.

Top responsible travel tips for Laos

Top responsible travel tips for Laos

1. Be considerate of Laos’s customs, traditions, religion and culture.

2. Dress modestly and respectfully. Shoulders to knees should be covered, especially when entering places of worship.

3. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water instead.

4. Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts.

5. When bargaining at markets, stay calm, be reasonable and keep a smile on your face. It's meant to be fun!

6. Learn some local language and don't be afraid to use it - simple greetings will help break the ice.

7. Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive.

8. Refrain from supporting businesses that exploit or abuse endangered animals.

9. Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, including children.

10. When on community visits or homestays, refrain from giving gifts or money to locals.

The Intrepid Foundation

The Intrepid Foundation provides travellers with an opportunity to give something back to the many wonderful communities we travel to. By donating to The Intrepid Foundation you can make a difference in local communities - in health care, education, human rights, child welfare and the protection of wildlife and the environment.

In Laos, The Intrepid Foundation proudly supports:

COPE (Cooperative Orthotic Prosthetic Enterprise)

COPE (Cooperative Orthotic Prosthetic Enterprise)

This worthy organisation provides essential services to people with disabilities. Laos has many victims of landmines living with life-changing disabilities acquired from stepping on unexploded ordinance (UXO). Providing rehabilitation, orthotics and prosthetics, the visitor centre also educates and enlightens visitors on the impact of UXO on the people of Laos.

Image supplied by Jo Pererira.

To learn more or donate, go to: