All nationalities with exception of some Asian countries must have a tourist visa to enter Lao. You may apply for a visa through a Laotian embassy or consulate in your country. You are required to submit an application form with 2 passport-size photos, your passport and fee to process the visa. If you do not want to send off your passport or need your passport for your current travel, you can obtain a visa on arrival at international airports/borders. (There are several countries in Africa and Middle East who cannot obtain Visa on Arrival. Also, Turkish nationals cannot obtain Visa on Arrival. Please check with your travel agent or Lambda Vacations for the latest information.)
The visas fee for most nationalities is US$ 35 per person for visa on arrival. Please note an additional service fee of US$ 1 will be added to each visa. Bring payment in US dollars and one passport photos or allow an extra US$1 if you do not have a passport picture. Please be aware that sometimes there can be long queues at the airport when obtaining a visa on arrival.
Even when organizing your own visas from home or other countries, it is a local requirement to provide Lambda Vacations with your full passport and visa information prior to entering Laos. This is also applicable for the airlines to issue the air-ticket and for the hotels to prepare the check-in procedure.
Please make sure your passport is valid more than 6 months from the date of departure of each country you are visiting. Also, make sure you have enough blank pages – you may need up to 1.5 pages for each country you visit in Southeast Asia.
It is compulsory to have comprehensive travel insurance whilst travelling in Laos. Comprehensive travel insurance, may cover you for unforeseen circumstances prior to departure should you be forced to cancel. Comprehensive travel insurance should cover you for emergency and medical evacuations, hospital fees, loss of property etc. Lambda Vacations would like to a copy of your insurance in case of emergency, please forward your policy details to your agent who will in turn advise Lambda Vacations.
Please consult your doctor to discuss your particular health or immunization requirements. If you would like to have a source of further information, please refer to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website at www.cdc.gov
The Laotian currency, the Kip, exchanges at a rate of about 7500-8000 Kip to the US Dollar. However, the US Dollar is also widely accepted. Bring new, clean US Dollars and small denominations ($1 and $5) which are useful for making local purchases.
Cashing traveler’s cheque is not possible anymore in Laos. ATMs are now available in main towns and are widespread in Vientiane and Luang Prabang. They will only issue the local currency, the Kip. Many banks (open Monday to Friday) issue cash advances for Visa and MasterCard, usually for a small commission.
Laos uses a GSM (GSM900/1800) mobile phone network. There are 4 main phone carriers in Lao, with Lao telecom and Beeline having the widest coverage. It is easy to purchase a pre-paid SIM card in Laos (approx US$4) – just make sure your phone is unlocked to accept SIMs from other networks, or buy another handset. Handsets are cheaper in Thailand and Vietnam.
Many hotels have wireless (wifi) internet access available in the lobby or business center. There are many cheap internet cafes in Vientiane and Luang Prabang, and a couple in smaller towns. Be careful not to save your password or sensitive information on public computer terminals.
Laos has 220V, 50Hz electricity. As both two-prong and flat pins are in use you would be wise to bring an adaptor. Three-pin plug adaptors are usually provided by hotels; just ask the reception. In all countries, protect sensitive electronic equipment like laptops from power fluctuations by using a surge-protector.
Since the weather is consistently warm throughout the country, it is advisable to bring comfortable lightweight, loose fitting, cotton clothing and long-sleeved items for protection from mosquitoes and the sun. During the rainy season an umbrella and open-toe sandals are recommended. A jacket may be needed in hotels and restaurants using excessive air-conditioning. A hat and high-factor sun block is advisable for protection against the hot sun when sightseeing. T-shirts and knee length shorts are acceptable for visiting temples or pagodas. From November to January, particularly in the northern mountainous region, the temperature can dip below zero so you will need to bring a sweater or a light jacket. Since the cities and towns in Laos are ideal for walking, be sure to bring comfortable and supportive walking shoes.
You should bring a money-belt to safely carry your travel documents and cash, and ensure that your luggage has a lock. Bring photo-copies of your passport and visa, plus some extra passport-sized photos if you’re applying for on-arrival visas. When flying into or within Laos, you will probably be given baggage claim tags (they will be stuck to the back of your ticket). Keep these, as you might need to show them when leaving the airport.
If you have any questions or encounter any problems on the ground, please contact us immediately so we can provide an immediate solution:
Address: 37A, street 4, Binh Tri Dong B, Binh Tan, HCMC, Vietnam
Tel: (+84) 9 3453 7176