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Laos is Asia’s diamond in the rough. Far less visited than other countries in Indochina, Laos offers exotic foods, incredible natural landscapes, and diverse culture. There’s plenty of opportunities for adventure – from canoeing down a river in an underground cave to trekking through the water of the 100 Waterfalls. Travelers will fall in love wandering to remote areas shrouded in both natural beauty and remnants of a historic past.

Tours & Packages

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Small Group Tour Ancient Capitals of Indochina
Sights, history & culture of three incredible countries: Cambodia, Laos & Vietnam plus deluxe overnight Halong Bay cruise; optional Bangkok extension
from $4399 w/ Flights from $3899 Tour Only 16 days
per person, double occupancy*

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Highlights

  1. Vieng Xai Caves

    The mystical and mysterious Vieng Xai Caves are a true testament to the determination and resilience of the Laotian people. The intricate cave system carved into massive limestone rocks lies in a remote region of the country, not far from the Vietnamese border. Nestled amid a quiet town on a road that literally has no name, it’s hard to believe that only a few decades ago nearly 20,000 people called these caves home, taking shelter from American aerial bombs. The Laotian people created an entire city in these limestone karsts, which included hospitals, schools, and markets to buy goods.
  2. Kuang Si Falls

    Relax in nature at the beautiful Kuang Si Falls! Like many of Laos’ hidden gems, the falls are a bit off the beaten path – which makes the trip even more worthwhile! Hike the trails for amazing views of the adjacent mountains. Stand underneath a waterfall on a hot day, and experience the thrill of cascading water as it tumbles onto you from the falls above.  Wade in the many pools of blue-green water. Don’t forget your camera – you’ll have beautiful photos to look back on long after you return from your incredible trip!
  3. Plain of Jars

    What happened here is still up to speculation, but the conclusion is unanimous – the Plain of Jars is unlike anything else. Thousands of jars placed in clusters can be found scattered throughout the Xiangkhoang Plateau. The “jars” are made from rock, and are believed to be anywhere from 1,500 – 2,000 years old. Not much is known about their purpose or origins. Some say they collected rainwater that was used by travelers on a trade route. In return for a refreshing drink, travelers left prayer beads in the jars. Another story claims the jars were used as funeral urns for human remains. No matter which story you believe, a trip to this vast plain will surely be a unique experience that you won’t forget!
  4. Luang Prabang 

    Laos’ bustling capital city is the perfect fusion of history, tradition, and culture. Join monks and locals in the centuries-old tradition of almsgiving as the sun comes over the horizon. Ride a bike down narrow alleys, where you can shop for artisan goods and sample local rice wine. Ascend the 328 stairs to the top of Mount Phousi for a panoramic view of the city, rivers, and mountains. Visit the Royal Palace Museum, the former home of King Sisavang Vong. Inside, you will find precious artifacts and the crown jewels of former royals.

Fast Facts

Already booked on one of our packages to Laos? See everything you need to know before you go.

Overview

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

Entry requirements

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. Please bring two passport-sized photos and $36 (exact change, US dollars only) visa fee with you.  Alternatively, you may also obtain your Lao visa electronically prior to your U.S. departure at https://laoevisa.gov.la/index. 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.

More information about passport, visa & entry requirements.

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 while traveling.

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.

Did you know?
  • The national dish of Laos is Laap, a meat salad with citrus juice, onions, and sticky rice (another staple of Laotian cuisine).
  • The Laotian New Year, Bun Pi Mai, occurs every April and lasts for 3 days.
  • French is the 2nd most popular language.  Laos was subjected to French rule for more than 50 years, and you can still see French influences in the country today.
  • Tempt your taste buds with one of Laos’ most popular drinks - Snake wine.  A cobra or other venomous snake is placed inside a bottle of rice wine.
  • Mount Phousi is considered sacred, and believed to have been the home of a Buddhist god.
* Advertised prices may include an "Instant Savings" discount and/or sale discount, available for a limited time. Prices reflect these discounts. Advertised prices are per person, based on double occupancy; single occupancy rooms may be available for an additional charge. Advertised prices are the best available based on the least expensive travel dates, departure city, and other options, and do not include optional excursions or other optional items. Your total price will vary based upon the dates, flights, and other options you select during the booking process. For packages including flights, prices include Airline Taxes, Fees & Sept. 11th Security Fee, but do not include excess baggage fees or advance seat reservations. Prices and availability subject to change. More about our prices.

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