September 1, 2019
Laos is a small, landlocked Southeast Asian country that lies between Thailand and Vietnam. Its location means that the country is often ignored in favor of well-known and established holiday destinations around it.
But most seasoned travelers that have visited the place agree there’s something special about Laos. It is a serene break from the modern fast-paced lifestyle.
If you want a relaxing trip in an exotic destination without having to deal with touristy crowds, Laos is an excellent choice.
Facts You Should Know
Most travelers have never heard of Laos or don’t understand its merits. Fortunately, it is easy to find a good Laos travel blog with ample pictures and detailed information regarding the destination.
Before you plan a trip to this destination, here are some facts you must know:
• Currency – Laos Kip is the currency of this country. It is worth around 0.00012 USD, which means that everyday items like a small snack might cost something like 25,000 Kip so you shouldn’t be alarmed by the seemingly high prices.
• Language – The primary language is Lao and it is also referred to as Laotian. The language is similar to Thai so if you understand or can speak Thai, it will be easier to understand and communicate with the local people. Many Laos’ citizens also speak a little English so you won’t have any difficulties traveling even if you’re not familiar with Thai or Lao.
• Visa – It is easy to get a visa here, especially if you’re from ASEAN countries, South Korea, Japan, Russia, or Switzerland. All of these countries get a visa on arrival, free of cost and it is valid for 30 days. Visitors from other countries also get a visa on arrival but must pay anywhere between $30 and $42 based on where they are from. The process takes around 10 minutes and involves arriving at the border, filling in a form, and paying the fee. Some countries from Africa and the Middle East aren’t eligible for visa on arrival and must apply in advance.
• Transportation – Transportation is easy and there are many options available. You can explore different travel options before you land. That allows you to book most of your travel arrangements in advance. It is also a good idea to carry a Laos travel map with you. Most of this region is rural so a map will come in handy.
• Safety – Laos is one of the safest places in the region. The people are friendly and helpful, the roads are relatively safe to travel. Backpacking through the various towns and villages isn’t very risky. However, it is a good idea to observe reasonable precautions like taking care of your possessions, not leaving valuables unattended, not accepting any drinks or food items from strangers, etc.
Laos enjoys a very slow-paced lifestyle. Travelers feel the urge to slow down and explore the stunning natural landscape along with the locals.
This isn’t a place to visit in a hurry so plan your Laos travel itinerary accordingly.
What is the Best Time to Visit?
Laos has reasonably comfortable weather throughout the year. Most people find the cool seasons most welcoming so anywhere between November and January is the ideal time to visit.
October and February are also relatively cool and can be the ideal time to visit the northern reaches of the country, which are typically colder than the rest of Laos.
Summers are hot and humid, which is why most Laos travel advice articles encourage tourists to avoid the season. The dry farm fields and landscapes can sometimes burn, which makes the air very smoky.
March to May are the warmest months. May to June is the rainy season. Laos doesn’t experience pouring rain every day, but you can expect quite a few showers if you visit during this season.
Places to Visit
Most visitors come to Vientiane, Laos and don’t explore the regions beyond it. While Vientiane is the nation’s capital, it still retains a very rural vibe with distinct cultural influences.
You will be able to enjoy old temples, charming cobbled roads, and other such attractions in the capital. Here are some of the best places to visit in this country:
• Luang Prabang – This location sits on the confluence of the Mekong and Khan rivers and is a UNESCO protected site. Visitors can enjoy 33 beautiful wats, Indochinese villas, and other such cultural attractions.
• Vang Vieng – This beautiful rural location overlooks the Song River and is full of lush green paddy fields with a backdrop of stunning mountains.
• Si Phan Don – This is a serene archipelago of islands with stunning natural views that are right out of the travel magazine.
A Laos travel blog 2018 will be incomplete without mentioning the beautiful Vieng Xai caves, trekking, and homestays at Phongsali, the rivers of northern Laos, and Wat Phu Champasak.
These are all places you should include in your itinerary.