Preparing for your trip

Package: Ancient Capitals of Indochina

Print this page and refer to it as you prepare for your trip!

Printed 11/17/2019. Please visit https://www.friendlyplanet.com/before-you-go/?tourId=1402 for the latest updates.

Checklist

Item Due
Ensure you have a current passport valid for at least six months after your return date. Immediately
Complete your registration. You'll receive a link to the registration form after you complete your booking. Within 24 hours of booking
Request any additions or changes you may still want to make to your trip. (Fees and/or additional charges may apply.) 75 days prior to travel
Make your final payment, if any balance is due.
75 days prior to travel
Obtain any necessary travel visas and review any requirements for entry. See below
Print your itinerary and other final documents, which we will send you via email by 14 days prior to travel. Prior to travel
Print your policy documents, if you purchased travel insurance, and carry them with you. Prior to travel
Enroll in The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), if you're a U.S. citizen or national, so the State Dept. can locate and assist you in case of an emergency. Prior to travel

In addition, if you booked flights with your package:

Item Due
Book connecting flights to your departure city, if necessary. (Please confirm your international flight schedule first!) 75 days prior to travel
Make advance seat reservations for your international flight, if you have a preference. After receiving your e‑tickets
Confirm your flight times and any special meal requests with the airline, and print and carry a copy of your e-ticket. 72 hours prior to travel
Check in for your flights online and download/print your boarding passes (if available). 24 hours prior to travel
Arrive at the airport, ready for the trip of a lifetime! 3½ hours prior to departure

Documents

Passport, Visa & Entry Requirements for Cambodia

U.S. citizens must have a passport which is valid for at least six months after your return date. U.S. passport holders must have a visa to enter Cambodia, which will be issued upon arrival. You must bring two passport-size photos and $30 (exact change, U.S. dollars only) visa fee with you. Consult the Cambodia Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the U.S. Dept. of State website for more information.

If you do not hold a U.S. passport, please see the entry requirements.

Passport, Visa & Entry Requirements for Thailand

U.S. citizens must have a passport which is valid for at least six months after your arrival date.

U.S. passport holders do not need a visa to enter Thailand for tourist stays up to 30 days. For extended stays, a visa is required prior to arrival, which can be obtained from the Thai Embassy, a consulate or a fee-based visa service, such as our preferred provider, VisaHQ. See the U.S. Dept. of State website for more information.

If you do not hold a U.S. passport, please see the entry requirements.

Passport, Visa & Entry Requirements for Vietnam

U.S. citizens must have a passport which is valid for at least six months after your arrival date.

U.S. passport holders must have a visa to enter Vietnam, obtained no more than six months prior to arrival. You may apply for a visa through the Vietnam embassy website: http://vietnamembassy-usa.org/ or a fee-based visa service such as our preferred provider, VisaHQ. Consult the Vietnam Embassy or the U.S. Dept. of State website for more information.

We will send visa instructions for U.S. passport holders.

If you do not hold a U.S. passport, you are responsible for determining all entry requirements and obtaining any necessary visas. Consider using an expedited visa service.

Passport, Visa & Entry Requirements for Laos

U.S. citizens must have a passport which is valid for at least six months after your return date. U.S. passport holders must have a visa to enter Laos, which will be issued upon arrival. You must bring two passport-size color photos and $50 (exact change, U.S. dollars only) visa fee with you. Consult the U.S. Dept. of State website or the Laos Embassy website for more information.

If you do not hold a U.S. passport, please see the entry requirements.

General Requirements & Guidelines

  • We provide visa & entry requirement information for the convenience of our travelers, and we try to keep it up-to-date. Ultimately, however, it is your responsibility to determine the passport and visa requirements that apply to you and to comply with them, including securing proper travel documents by the required deadlines and carrying them with you. Requirements are subject to change, sometimes without notice, and we suggest you verify them with the relevant embassy or consulate, the U.S. State Dept (if you're a U.S. passport holder), and/or with an expedited visa service such as VisaHQ. Airlines and cruise ships may deny boarding, your trip may be disrupted, and travel insurance may not cover your losses if your passport and visa are not in order.
  • To travel abroad, U.S. citizens must have a passport. In general, it should be valid for at least six months after your return date, and passports expiring before then should be renewed as soon as possible. We recommend that passports contain at least 2 blank pages for each country visited. If your passport does not have this many pages, you should obtain a new passport as soon as possible.
  • Any changes in names or passport information should be reported to us immediately. Airlines and cruise ships may deny boarding if the name on your passport does not match your tickets.
  • Minors (age 17 or younger) departing and/or returning to the U.S. without parents or with only one parent may be required by U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) to present a notarized parental consent letter and/or unabridged birth certificate (more information). Many other countries have similar entry requirements, especially for minors traveling with a parent/guardian with a different surname; check with the consulates of all countries you'll be visiting to learn more.

Final Documents

Your final travel documents will be sent to you via email by 14 days prior to departure. These will include your daily itinerary, hotel and emergency contact information, and other relevant information. Please print your documents and take them with you. If you're departing in less than a week and haven't received your documents, let us know immediately!

Travel Insurance Documents

If you purchased travel insurance, please print your policy documents. If you purchased our protection plan, you can find a link to the full policy on our travel protection page. Carry this document with you when you travel, as it includes contact information for emergency travel assistance and instructions on how to make a claim.

Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)

We encourage all U.S. citizens and nationals traveling abroad to enroll in the Department of State's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). This free service allows you to receive important updates about safety and security issues in your destination, and makes it easier for the U.S. Embassy, as well as family & friends, to contact you in case of an emergency. To enroll or get more information, please visit the STEP website or any U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Flights, Transfers & Arrival

Questions about your flights before you depart? Read the information below first. If you still have questions, contact our air specialists at 800-555-5765 ext. 2 or air@friendlyplanet.com.

Land Only Option: If you purchased this package without flights, you are responsible for booking your own flights to the destination. (Please review the itinerary carefully, as some packages start and end in different cities, requiring "open jaw" flights.)

Flights & tickets: If you selected flights with your package, we generally book your flights and issue tickets after we receive your final payment.

Once we have issued your tickets, we'll send you an "e-ticket receipt" which contains all of your flight information, including times, carriers, an airline booking reference number, and an e-ticket number. If you have not received this, or have questions about the flights we booked for you, please contact our air department. You will not receive paper tickets. We recommend you print and carry a copy of your flight details, including the airline booking reference number and e-ticket number, as some airports require this to enter the terminal. You do not need to reconfirm your flights with the airline prior to your departure, as we will handle this for you.

Want to reserve specific seats?

That depends on the airline. You can usually request a window or aisle seat, and sometimes specific seat numbers (but not exit row and bulkhead seats) ahead of time. Many airlines now charge a fee for this, and such fees are not included in your package price. If you have a seat preference, let us know when you book, in the special requests section, or email us at air@friendlyplanet.com after you book. Then:

If your airline does not charge a fee to pre-assign seats: We'll happily pass along your seat request to the airline and confirm they received it (though we cannot guarantee it will be honored).

If your airline does charge a fee to pre-assign seats: We'll let you know. You'll need to contact the airline directly to request your seats after we have issued your flight tickets, and fees are payable directly to the airline.

If you do not request specific seats: The airline typically assigns them within 24 hours of departure. If you do not like your assigned seats, you may be able to change them, subject to availability, when you check in online or at the counter. Learn more about Advance Seat Reservations.

Want to request a special meal?

You can enter special meal requests when you book with an agent or complete your online registration, shortly after booking. We will relay your requests to the airlines and our representatives abroad, but we cannot guarantee they will be honored. Please double check meal requests with your airline 72 hours before departure, and with our representatives upon arrival.

Looking to earn frequent flyer miles?

You may be able to earn frequent flyer points for your flights on this package. Contact the airline directly once you receive your tickets to enter your frequent flyer number in your flight record, or enter it when you check in. As you travel, check your tickets or ask the check-in or gate agent prior to boarding each flight to ensure the number has been entered properly. And just to be safe, keep your boarding passes and passenger receipt as proof that you have actually flown the miles you want credited to your account.

Interested in upgrading to business class or premium economy?

Cabin upgrades may be available on this package. Ask us about price and availability when you book online, in the special requests section, or contact our air department after you book. Please note that our special contracted airfare rates generally do not permit upgrading with frequent flyer points, and that upgrade requests may incur change fees if tickets have already been issued.

Flight Schedule

If you selected flights with your package, you may review the sample flight schedule(s) below. This information is for general planning puposes. You will receive your your actual flight schedule and details by email once we issue your tickets.

Airlines may change schedules at any time, even after flights have been confirmed, and we are not responsible for such changes. Please confirm your flight schedule prior to booking any connecting flights and again 72 hours prior to departure.

EVA Air's Toll-Free Number is 800-695-1188

China Airlines Toll-Free Number is 800-227-5118

Sample Schedule from Los Angeles (LAX)

You must arrive at LAX 3 hours prior to departure on your departure date to check in for your flight. Your flight will depart just after midnight. You will arrive one day later. See sample schedule below.

DEPARTURE
Flight From To Depart Arrive Flight Time
BR 015 Los Angeles (LAX) Taipei (TPE) 12:50 AM 5:45 AM (1 day later) 13.55 hrs
BR 265 TPE Phnom Penh (PNH) 8:45 AM 11:15 AM 3.30 hrs
RETURN
Flight From To Depart Arrive Flight Time
BR 392 Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) TPE 12:50 PM 5:15 PM 3.25 hrs
BR 012 TPE LAX 7:20 PM 4:20 PM 12.00 hrs

Sample Schedule from San Francisco (SFO)

You must arrive at SFO 3 hours prior to departure on your departure date to check in for your flight. Your flight will depart just after midnight. You will arrive one day later. See sample schedule below.

DEPARTURE
Flight From To Depart Arrive Flight Time
BR 027 San Francisco (SFO) Taipei (TPE) 1:20 AM 5:50 AM (1 day later) 14.25 hrs
BR 265 TPE Phnom Penh (PNH) 8:45 AM 11:15 AM 3.30 hrs
RETURN
Flight From To Depart Arrive Flight Time
BR 392 Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) TPE 12:50 PM 5:15 PM 3.25 hrs
BR 018 TPE SFO 7:40 PM 4:00 PM 11.20 hrs

Sample Schedule from New York (JFK)

You must arrive at NYC 3 hours prior to departure on your departure date to check in for your flight. Your flight will depart just after midnight. You will arrive one day later. See sample schedule below.

DEPARTURE
Flight From To Depart Arrive Flight Time
BR 031 New York (JFK) Taipei (TPE) 1:25 AM 5:15 AM (1 day later) 15.50 hrs
BR 265 TPE Phnom Penh (PNH) 8:45 AM 11:15 AM 3.30 hrs
RETURN
Flight From To Depart Arrive Flight Time
BR 392 Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) TPE 12:50 AM 5:15 PM 3.25 hrs
BR 032 TPE JFK 7:10 PM 10:05 PM 14.55 hrs

Connecting Flights

If you plan to purchase connecting flights to your departure city, we strongly suggest waiting until 75 days prior to departure (and after you make your final payment) to ensure materialization and to reduce the chances that your international flight times might change—since airlines sometimes change schedules even after flights have been booked. Before purchasing connecting flights, always confirm the times for your international flights first. Leave at least 3½ hours connecting time between flights, and if you're traveling within a few weeks of Daylight Savings Time changes (in March and November, when flight schedules may change even more dramatically), allow 5–5½ hours between flights. Nobody likes waiting around the airport, but missing your flight is far worse!

Airport Transfers

If you purchased this package with flights, or independently booked the same international flights used for this package, scheduled group airport transfers at the destination are included. When you exit customs, please look for our representative holding a Friendly Planet sign, who will cheerfully escort you to your transfer vehicle and assist with your luggage.

If you purchased this package without flights, transfers are generally not included. In most cases, private transfers are available for an additional fee; contact us for price and availability. Or you may instead arrange your own ground transportation to the touring program start and end points, usually the first and last hotels listed in the itinerary.

Arrival Complications

We make every effort to ensure our tours run smoothly and trouble-free. We don't expect any problems, and nor should you. But when things don't go as planned, here's what to do:

  • You miss your flights, or your flights are cancelled: Please call us immediately. If it's outside our normal business hours, leave a message in our emergency mailbox, with a phone number at which to reach you, and we'll get right back to you.
  • Your flights are delayed and you're worried about missing your included transfers: Please contact us to let us know about the delay, and we will notify our partners in destination. If you are arriving on one of our group flights, or booked your own flights and supplied us with the details, our partners will be tracking your arrival and will plan accordingly.
  • Your package includes transfers, but you can't find our representative at your destination: Don't panic—they may have been unexpectedly delayed. Wait up to 30 minutes. Then contact our local partners in destination, listed on the emergency contact page of your final documents. If you can't reach them, call us. If it's outside our normal business hours, leave a message in our emergency mailbox. If all else fails, make your own way to the starting hotel (or cruise port), and we'll refund you the cost of your transfer.

Packing & Luggage

Baggage allowance: In general, our tours & packages allow per person: one checked bag, not to exceed 44 pounds; one personal item such as a purse or camera bag; and one carry-on bag, which should fit under your seat or in the overhead compartment. If your trip includes domestic flights within your destination and/or travel by motor coach, your carry-on should also fit should also fit under your seat or in the overhead bins on those flights or coaches.

Learn more about Baggage Allowances on your international flights. Note that our baggage allowances may be less than those for your international flights. If you exceed the baggage limits, you may be subject to excess baggage charges levied by the airlines and/or by Friendly Planet.

Regardless of the limits—we recommend a smaller size and weight for both your checked and carry-on bags. It's so much easier and faster for you to get around when you have fewer, lighter bags! For your carry-on, consider a soft-sided bag such as a duffel rather than a hard clamshell-type case, which may not fit as easily into overhead compartments or under your seat, especially on buses. For your protection, we suggest your checked luggage have a TSA-approved lock.

Luggage tags: We will mail you Friendly Planet luggage tags with your invoice. Fill in the luggage tags with your name and contact information and attach to each bag, including carry-ons and camera cases, so that your luggage can be identified should it get misplaced during your trip. However, we are not responsible for lost or damaged luggage.

What to pack: Check out our blog post on our Top 10 Must-Haves for International Travel. Pack smart: put your travel documents, medications, one change of clothing, and other essentials in your carry-on, in case your checked baggage is misplaced. And pack light, for your own comfort and convenience. For clothing, we suggest packing a variety of separates with climate and comfort in mind.

What not to pack: U.S. law forbids you to carry hazardous materials aboard aircraft in your checked or carry-on baggage or on your person, including explosives, compressed gases, flammable liquids & solids, loaded firearms, poisons, corrosives and radioactive materials. Common examples include paints, lighter fluid, fireworks, mace/tear gas and oxygen bottles. Restricted materials may vary by airline and destination. Some items, in quantities of no more than 70 ounces total, may be carried within baggage, including medicinal or toilet articles such as hairspray, perfume and certain medicines that are necessary during your journey. Please check with the airline and/or visit the FAA website prior to travel if you have any questions.

While on Tour

What to Expect

This fast-paced, escorted tour involves a significant amount of walking or hiking, often on uneven terrain, requiring a high level of physical fitness to fully enjoy the trip. This tour also includes long scenic drives between destinations, sometimes on bumpy unpaved roads and may have limited rest stops.

Remember that you're a guest in someone else's homeland, and that you're traveling to experience their country and culture. Be sensitive to local customs and manners, as many things may be done differently than what you're used to. And while we have made every effort to secure modern and comfortable accommodations and transportation, please note that the standards in other countries may be different from those you are accustomed to at home. Overall, you will find a polite, positive, patient, and open-minded approach generally yields the best travel experience!

Please keep in mind that you'll be traveling with a group. Sharing your explorations with like-minded folks can often be a source of joy, and some of our travelers become lifelong friends. But traveling with strangers can also sometimes be challenging, especially in a foreign country. We ask that you be patient and respectful with your fellow travelers, including their needs and preferences. Also remember that you have responsibilities to the group—please be prompt for group activities so you don't keep everyone else waiting. Lastly, please defer to your tour leader, guide or manager. They are there for your safety and wellbeing, and to ensure the journey goes smoothly for everyone. If you have a problem with one of our tour guides or managers, please let us know, either while you're on tour or after you return, and we'll make sure your concerns are addressed.

Eating & Drinking

The meals included with your package are listed in the itinerary. For all other meals, you're at liberty to dine where you like. Your hotels will have several dining choices, from coffee shops to specialty restaurants.

Please see above for special meal requests.

Special Needs & Requests

Please see above for special meal requests and seat requests. If you have any other special requests, including wheelchair or electric cart assistance, please mention your request when you book with an agent, or in the special requests section when you book online. We will do our best to accommodate them!

Country FAQs

Fast Facts about Cambodia

Overview

Capital: Phnom Penh
Population:  90.5 million
Currency: Cambodian riel (KHR)
Languages:  Khmer
Drives on the: Right
Time zone: GMT +7

Health Precautions & Vaccinations

There are no health requirements for entering Cambodia, however, it is highly recommended that you ask you doctor about obtaining malaria suppressants and possible vaccinations for hepatitis and typhoid. Polio is also present in Cambodia. Bring along plenty of insect repellent and cover any wounds with a bandage. Avoid swimming in the ocean or freshwater while in Cambodia, as many contaminants are in the water.

Center for Disease Control
World Health Organization

Weather

December and January are the best months for travel in Cambodia although it is still hot and humid. The months of November and February are tolerable. Stay away during the summer months of March through May, as the weather is extremely hot, and June through October is monsoon season.

What to wear

Please be sure to have respectable attire for visits to temples and religious sites—wear clothing that covers your shoulders and knees. Jungle exploring is more comfortable with covered legs! Since weather can be unpredictable anywhere in the world and to be sure you are comfortable during your trip and prepared for all types of weather possibilities, we suggest that you carry a small folding umbrella. If you have two pairs of comfortable (broken-in, not brand-new) walking shoes, consider taking both pairs. Plan to dress in layers, so you can adjust your wardrobe according to the weather conditions of the moment. Remember that comfort and convenience should dictate your wardrobe for the tour, and casual clothes are in order for most every occasion as you travel. All hotels provide laundry service for a small fee.   

Money & Credit Cards

The local currency in Cambodia is the riel. Hotels and some stores accept major credit cards. However, for “street shopping” you will need local currency or U.S. dollars. Your hotel will be able to exchange your cash for local currency. We highly recommend that you bring crisp, new bills in small denominations. Old, torn, crumpled bills are not always accepted. Traveler’s checks are not widely accepted in Cambodia. If you intend to use traveler’s checks, please verify that they are still accepted in the places visited in this program.

Always notify your bank prior to departure to avoid any problems using your credit or debit card abroad.

Shopping

Shop for replicas of Angkor's bas-reliefs and sculptures, carvings of wood and stone, naturally dyed silk called leak tomuhjeat, Cambodian music and instruments, and precious stones. Be prepared to bargain, which is best done with small U.S. bills which are accepted throughout the country.

You will certainly have time for shopping. Your guides will no doubt have some favorite shopping places, where the vendors are known, provide good quality merchandise and probably pay some sort of commission from sales to the guide. This should not surprise or offend you. This is how business is done throughout the world. But do beware when you shop, especially if you are buying jewelry or other valuable items. If you plan to buy jewelry or other expensive items, be sure to inspect the items before you leave the store. Most stores will not allow you to return or exchange purchased items.

Electricity & Power Adapters

230 volts. Plugs A & C. Some outlets are a combination of type A and C and can accept either type plug. Plug G may be found in some hotels. You will need a voltage converter and plug adapter in order to use U.S. appliances. We recommend getting a universal adapter and converter kit.

Learn more about electrical standards around the world.

Cell Phones & Internet

Want to take your cell phone, tablet or laptop, but not sure how to get cell service or wifi? See our blog posts on using your cell phone abroad and the top 5 ways to get Internet abroad.

Photography

Cameras and video recorders are permitted, and photography is generally permitted everywhere except at airports and military installations. Memory cards for digital cameras will be available in major cities. Bring an extra battery for your camera, as not every type of camera battery is always available as you travel.

Fast Facts about Thailand

Overview

Capital: Bangkok
Population:  67.9 million
Currency: Thai baht
Languages: Thai
Drives on the: Left
Time zone: GMT +7

Health Precautions & Vaccinations

Malaria is not present in major cities. Although not required, typhoid, tetanus and hepatitis vaccinations should be considered if you're going to remote areas. If you get nipped by a dog, even in Bangkok, get checked for rabies. Skin infections are common—even the smallest wound should be disinfected and covered with a bandage.

Center for Disease Control
World Health Organization

Weather

Thailand's climate is always hot and humid; the highlands are typically 10 degrees cooler. November through February is the best time to go when the days are milder. March thru May is extremely hot, with temperatures into the low 100's. The rainy season is May through October.

What to wear

Since weather can be unpredictable anywhere in the world and to be sure you are comfortable during your trip and prepared for all types of weather possibilities, we suggest that you carry a small folding umbrella. If you have two pairs of comfortable (broken in, not brand new) walking shoes, by all means, take both pairs.

In the warm climates of Thailand, you’ll find that cotton and lightweight clothing will be the most comfortable. Take some lightweight slacks as well as shorts. Please be sure to have respectable attire for visits to temples and religious sites, and wear clothing that covers your shoulders and knees. Jungle exploring is often more comfortable with covered legs! Plan to dress in layers, so you can adjust your wardrobe according to the weather conditions of the moment. Remember that comfort and convenience should dictate your wardrobe for the tour, and casual clothes are in order for most every occasion as you travel. All hotels provide laundry service for a small fee.

Money & Credit Cards

The local currency of Thailand is the baht. Hotels and some stores accept major credit cards. However, for “street shopping” you will need local currency. Your hotel will be able to exchange your cash for local currency. We highly recommend that you bring crisp, new bills in small denominations. Old, torn, crumpled bills are not accepted. Traveler’s checks are not widely accepted in Thailand. If you intend to use traveler’s checks, please verify that they are still accepted in the places visited in this program.

Always notify your bank prior to departure to avoid any problems using your credit or debit card abroad.

Shopping

Thailand is famous for its silk (silk from Jim Thompson is good quality). Shop also for lacquerware, painted umbrellas, bronze, silver, temple bells, celadon pottery, tribal weavings, custom-made shoes, opium weights and pillows, and carved water buffalo bells. Beware of copycat items in Thailand from clothes to watches. Some 24 carat gold is also somewhat less than 100% pure, but crafted well.

You will certainly have time for shopping. Your guides will no doubt have some favorite shopping places, where the vendors are known, provide good quality merchandise and probably pay some sort of commission from sales to the guide. This should not surprise or offend you. This is how business is done throughout the world. Be cautious when you shop, especially if you are buying jewelry or other valuable items. If you plan to buy jewelry or other expensive items, be sure to inspect the items before you leave the store. Most stores will not allow you to return or exchange purchased items.

Electricity & Power Adapters

220 volts. Plugs A & C. You will need a voltage converter and plug adapter in order to use U.S. appliances. We recommend getting a universal adapter and converter kit.

Learn more about electrical standards around the world.

Cell Phones & Internet

Want to take your cell phone, tablet or laptop, but not sure how to get cell service or wifi? See our blog posts on using your cell phone abroad and the top 5 ways to get Internet abroad.

Photography

Cameras and video recorders are permitted, and photography is generally permitted everywhere except at airports and military installations. Memory cards for digital cameras will be available in major cities.

Fast Facts about Vietnam

Overview

Capital: Hanoi
Population:  90.5 million
Currency: Vietnamese dong (VND)
Languages:  Vietnamese
Drives on the: Right
Time zone: GMT +7

Health Precautions & Vaccinations

Malaria is present in rural areas of Vietnam. See your doctor about malaria suppressants. Dengue fever, plague, cholera, typhoid, hepatitis and trypanosomiasis have also been reported in Vietnam. Disinfect wounds and bandage to prevent skin infections. Seek medical aid if bitten by an animal.

Center for Disease Control
World Health Organization

Weather

The best months to visit Vietnam are between October and December when temps are mild and nights are cool. The northern part of the country has cooler temperatures. In the south, monsoon season occurs between May and September. The mountains can be quite cold any time of the year. Bring along a sweater for cooler nights.

Tipping

Upscale restaurants will add a 5% service charge. Inexpensive restaurants do not expect tips. Taxi tipping is optional, but most appreciated.

Money & Credit Cards

Always notify your bank prior to departure to avoid any problems using your credit or debit card abroad.

Shopping

Shop for hand-embroidered items, jewelry, baskets, carvings, fabrics, marble boxes, water pipes, statues, water puppets, lacquerware, paper-mache, beaded bags, kimonos, watercolors, war-related items, and custom tailored items. Avoid tortoiseshell, coral, ivory and even antique items, as many will not be allowed back into the U.S. or Canada.

Electricity & Power Adapters

127/220 volts. Plugs A, C & G. You will most likely need a voltage converter and plug adapter in order to use U.S. appliances, even though some outlets will correspond to American plug types and voltages. We recommend getting a universal adapter and converter kit.

Learn more about electrical standards around the world.

Cell Phones & Internet

Want to take your cell phone, tablet or laptop, but not sure how to get cell service or wifi? See our blog posts on using your cell phone abroad and the top 5 ways to get Internet abroad.

Fast Facts about Laos

Overview

Capital: Vientiane
Population:  6.8 million
Currency: Lao kip (LAK)
Languages:  Lao, Hmong, Khmu, French
Drives on the: Right
Time zone: GMT +7

Health Precautions & Vaccinations

There are no health requirements for entering Laos, however, it is highly recommended that you ask you doctor about obtaining malaria suppressants and possible vaccinations for hepatitis and typhoid. Bring along plenty of insect repellent and cover any wounds with a bandage. Seek medical aid if bitten by an animal.

Center for Disease Control
World Health Organization

Weather

November through March are the best months for travel in Laos although it can still be hot and humid in some areas. The months of July and August are tolerable. April and May bring the hot season to Laos, where the thermostat can reach 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and September and October is the monsoon season. 

What to wear

Please be sure to have respectable attire for visits to temples and religious sites—wear clothing that covers your shoulders and knees. Since weather can be unpredictable anywhere in the world and to be sure you are comfortable during your trip and prepared for all types of weather possibilities, we suggest that you carry a small folding umbrella. If you have two pairs of comfortable (broken-in, not brand-new) walking shoes, consider taking both pairs. Plan to dress in layers, so you can adjust your wardrobe according to the weather conditions of the moment. Remember that comfort and convenience should dictate your wardrobe for the tour, and casual clothes are in order for most every occasion as you travel.

Money & Credit Cards

The local currency in Laos is the Lao Kip. Most upscale hotels and some stores and restaurants accept major credit cards. However, for “street shopping” you will need local currency or U.S. dollars. We highly recommend that you bring crisp, new bills in small denominations. Old, torn, crumpled bills are not always accepted. Traveler’s checks are not widely accepted in Laos. If you intend to use traveler’s checks, please verify that they are still accepted in the places visited in this program.

Always notify your bank prior to departure to avoid any problems using your credit or debit card abroad.

Shopping

You will certainly have time for shopping. The best buys in Laos are handicrafts and textiles. The Lao sarong or pha sin made from silk or cotton is a popular souvenir. Other souvenirs to look out for include silverware, in particular from Luang Prabang, and wood carvings.

Your guides will no doubt have some favorite shopping places, where the vendors are known, provide good quality merchandise and probably pay some sort of commission from sales to the guide. This should not surprise or offend you. This is how business is done throughout the world. But do beware when you shop, especially if you are buying jewelry or other valuable items. If you plan to buy jewelry or other expensive items, be sure to inspect the items before you leave the store. Most stores will not allow you to return or exchange purchased items.

Electricity & Power Adapters

230 volts. Plugs A & C. Some outlets are a combination of type A and C and can accept either type plug. Plug G may be found in some hotels. You will need a voltage converter and plug adapter in order to use U.S. appliances. We recommend getting a universal adapter and converter kit.

Learn more about electrical standards around the world.

Cell Phones & Internet

Major hotels throughout Laos have Business Centres with PCs connected to the Internet and most now some wireless broadband access. Check with reception for fares (often free of charge) and facilities. Cyber cafes are easily found in major towns and cities and prices are reasonable. In many Internet cafes, you can buy pre-paid international phone cards to dial from a computer to landlines or mobile phones worldwide. Most Internet cafes are equipped with webcams, headsets and microphones.

Want to take your cell phone, tablet or laptop, but not sure how to get cell service or wifi? See our blog posts on using your cell phone abroad and the top 5 ways to get Internet abroad.

Fine Print

Terms & Conditions: Please check out the terms & conditions for this package.

Cancellations: If something comes up and you need to cancel your trip, please let us know as soon as possible. All cancellations must be made in writing. Cancellation fees vary by package; please see the cancellation fees for this package.

Materialization: This package may require a minimum number of passengers to operate. In the unlikely event that your departure must be cancelled due to lack of participation, we will notify you prior to the final payment due date, and offer alternate dates of travel or a full refund. Please do not purchase any domestic connecting flights, or other services which are dependent upon the operation of your package, until this time.