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Itinerary Laos 2 to 4 weeks | Hints and Highlights

Unfortunately, Laos  often skipped in the classic backpacking route (Thailand, Vietnam,  & Cambodia† Why you really should travel to Laos? In my opinion, Laos is the most authentic country in Southeast Asia, because tourism has not yet taken hold. Laos is one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world with only around seven million inhabitants Asia† There are no big cities, the population is very nice and the country has beautiful nature! time to you itinerary through Laos to plan!

Plan your holiday to Asia here

Itinerary through Laos

Huay Xai – Ban Houayxay

Your Laos itinerary begins in the small town near the border of Thailand, Huay Xai. There is not much to do in Huay Xai itself, but it is the perfect starting point because you will immediately experience the highlight of your trip through Laos! You can also book the Gibbon Experience in Huay Xai.

Also read: On the scooter through Laos! † The two most popular motorbike loops

Gibbon Experience group, Laos
The village of Huay Xai where you can take the slow boat to Luang Prabang
The village of Huay Xai where you can take the slow boat to Luang Prabang

Tip:: There are only 17 accommodations on booking.com in this small town. Booking ahead is recommended to have something decent. The landing page for this particular town on Booking.com is here  to find.

Luang Prabang,

In Huay Xai you can easily book a ticket for the slowboat on the Mekong River to Luang Prabang. It is a long trip of 2 days, staying overnight in Pakbeng, but absolutely beautiful! Along the Mekong you can experience the 'real' Laos. You will see locals along the river and many animal species. The view you have is really a picture. Arriving in Luang Prabang you experience the more 'city life'. However, this cannot be compared with a city such as Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur. Luang Prabang is very atmospheric and you can easily last a few days here!

Tip:: there are plenty of nice accommodations in Luang Prabang. Want to quickly see what's available? then click here  for an overview.

Local life next to the river, Laos
Local life next to the river, Laos
The Kuang Si waterfall, Laos
The Kuang Si waterfall, Laos

Things to Do in Luang Prabang

  1. Visit the Kuang Si Waterfall
  2. Spend your evenings around the night market and get beautiful Laotian souvenirs
  3. climb Mt Phu Si and enjoy the great view
  4. Get up early and experience a Tak Bat (tour of the monks)
  5. One word: Utopia! Chill out here and you'll never want to leave!

Also read: Top 10 | What are the best backpacking destinations in Asia?

Vang Vieng

From Luang Prabang you book a minivan to Vang Vieng. Vang Vieng is a backpackers mecca that is best known for partying and tubing on the Nam Song River. However, do not underestimate this village, it has a beautiful environment and therefore this place definitely belongs in your travel route through Laos.

Tip:: there are 112 accommodations in this town, but due to great popularity among backpackers, the nice affordable hostels and hotels are often fully booked. Booking in advance pays off – check the current availability for Vang Vieng by here  to click.

The karst mountains in Vang Vieng
The karst mountains in Vang Vieng

Things to Do in Vang ViengI

  1. Go 'tubend' the Nam Song River af
  2. Visit the Blue Lagoon Cave
  3. Take walks through the beautiful surroundings
  4. Go mountain biking or kayaking
  5. go rock climbing
  6. Visit one of the many caves

Nong Kiau–Nongkhiaw

If you are looking for authentic Laos and enjoy peace and nature, then Nong Kiau (also known as Nongkhiaw) is the right place for you. It is in my opinion one of the most beautiful villages in Laos and a wonderful experience thanks to the fact that not many tourists visit Nong Kiau.

Tip:: In this village accommodation is very limited (only 19 hostels and hotels on booking.com). I repeat myself but booking ahead pays off. check here  current availability and prices.

The viewpoint in Nong Kiau, itinerary Laos
The viewpoint in Nong Kiau, itinerary Laos

Things to Do in Nong Kiau – Nongkhiaw

  1. Go to the viewpoint
  2. Rent a bike and explore the area
  3. Visit the Pha Tok Caves
  4. Book a '100 waterfalls' day trip

Muang Ngoy

If you thought Nong Kiau was already authentic, Muang Ngoy will blow your mind even more. The village consists of 1 street with a number of guesthouses and therefore a handful of tourists. It is on the river. From Nong Kiau you travel by boat to Muang Ngoy.

Tip:: in Muang Ngoy there are only 8(!) accommodations available on booking.com. Check availability and prices here .

The long street of the village of Muang Ngoy. Children playing and chickens all over the place!
The long street of the village of Muang Ngoy. Children playing and chickens all over the place!
Water buffalo's we encountered during a walk
Water buffalo's we encountered during a walk

Things to Do in Muang Ngoy

  • Rent a bike and explore the area
  • Take a walk through the village and its surroundings
  • Visit the monastery and be blessed by a monk
  • Visit the viewpoint just before the sunset

Travel route combine Laos with Vietnam Thailand or Myanmar?

From Muang Ngoy is it possible to cross the country border to Dien bien phu in Vietnam. You can easily book tickets for this when you are in the town of Muang Ngoy. The border crossing between Laos and Vietnam was very easy. When you arrive in Dien Bien Phu you will be dropped at a bus stop where buses will be waiting to take you to Sapa of Hanoi can bring.

Also read: Itinerary Myanmar in 2, 3 or 4 weeks | All must-sees and travel tips
Also read: Itinerary Thailand, in 2, 3 or 4 weeks | All must-sees and travel tips
Also read: Itinerary Cambodia in 2, 3 or 4 weeks | All must-sees and travel tips

Travel tips and travel information Laos

How much does it cost to travel in Laos?

Accommodation – Dorms in hostels start at about 5 euros per night. Private rooms in hostels and guesthouses generally cost 8 to 25 euros per night, depending on where you are in the country. Free Wi-Fi is the norm for hostels these days, and some also include free breakfast. You can get comfortable guesthouse rooms for 25-40 euros with air conditioning, TV and other amenities.

Beyond that, the sky's the limit, but I've never had to spend more than $50 a night on luxury in this country! Airbnb is available in major cities, with prices starting at around 15 euros per night for shared accommodation. Expect to pay closer to 50 euros per night for an entire house or apartment.

Food – Food is very cheap in Laos. Local street vendors will cost you around 2-3 euros per meal, and simple meals in a restaurant will cost between 5 to 7 euros. Western meals in nice restaurants cost between 5 and 15 euros per person.

If you plan on doing your own shopping and cooking your own meals, expect to spend between $20 and $25 a week. Stick to local markets for the cheapest produce.

Transportation – Local city transport is cheap. Tuk-Tuk taxis can be found on every corner in the major cities, but be sure to negotiate a price in advance (usually no more than 5 euros depending on the distance). Hiring a driver for the day will cost you between 15 and 25 euros, and most hostels can help you find one.

Activities – Tours, walks and entrance fees are between 5 to 20 euros, depending on the length and popularity of the activity.

What is the recommended daily budget for Laos?

low budget – How much does it cost to visit Laos? Not much! It's a super cheap place to travel. If you travel through Laos you will spend approx 30 euros per day† This will get you a dorm (or in some cases even a private hostel room if you cut your other costs), food from the street stalls, a few drinks a day, a few tours, day trips and local transportation around the country. If you stay in dorms a lot, you may be able to travel for even less.

Average budget – With an average budget of 40 euros per day you get a cheap air-conditioned hotel room, some meals in a restaurant, as many drinks as you want, and also all the tours and excursions you want! This amount goes a long way in Laos and you really won't have any problems doing whatever you want. You still won't be in the most exclusive places or eat the fanciest meals, but you'll lack nothing.

High budget – With a "luxury" budget of 60 euros or more per day the sky is the limit! You can stay in nice chain hotels, full apartments, resorts, eat world class meals or opt for private tours! This country doesn't cost a lot of money and for 60 euros each or more you can get everything you need! The more you want to spend, the more fun it will be!

Below you will find some answers to important questions if you are planning a trip to Laos. Think of the best travel time, general travel tips and whether there are, for example, certain dress codes.

When is the best time to travel to Laos?

The east of Laos has an area with a tropical monsoon climate and the extreme north has a warm climate with precipitation amounts of more than four hundred millimeters per month in the summer period. Laos mainly consists of rough mountainous terrain, along the western border with Thailand you will find lower areas. The Mekong River forms the lowest area of ​​Laos, with an average elevation of about 2817 meters above sea level. The many differences in height (the highest point is XNUMX meters above sea level) create a capricious precipitation pattern, with the windward side of a mountain sometimes being ravaged by rain showers for days and the leeward side being virtually dry for days at the same time. You can also see significant differences in the course of temperature due to the differences in height and the variations in geographical location. †Source)

Peak season - The best time to travel to Laos is from November to June. In places where rain has little chance, it can get quite hot in the summer months, while on the windward side of a mountain, where it does rain at that time, it can be five to ten degrees cooler. In the lower areas, the maximum temperature varies on average from 26 to 30 degrees in the winter months to 33 to 38 degrees in the hottest month (April).

Rainy season – Don't be put off by the rainy season. The rainy season certainly does not mean that it just rains for weeks on end. The weather can also differ per area in Laos, so that you can find pleasantly calm weather in some areas during the rainy season. And if it rains, during a holiday in Laos you will often encounter a heavy tropical rain shower in the morning or afternoon, after which the sun can break through again surprisingly quickly.

During the rainy season you will also find more blooms in nature and another advantage of the rainy season is that it is often quieter at the destinations. This really gives you an extra experience on your trip because you will encounter few other tourists at some destinations. Especially during the holidays Christmas, Chinese New Year and Easter are the peak periods in terms of visitors in Laos.

Hurricanes – Laos has a chance of hurricanes during the hurricane season (which runs from June to December). Laos is in the supply route, but because the country is a bit further inland and is 'protected' by mountains, the number of hurricanes that actually reach Laos with hurricane force is not that bad. If a hurricane does hit Laos, it usually means a trail of destruction and casualties, as in September 2009, when Hurricane Ketsana caused a lot of misery in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. †source).

Do you need a visa for Laos?

You do not need a visa for Laos for a stay of less than thirty days. However, your passport must be valid for at least six months after departure from Laos.

To travel to Laos as a tourist, you need a tourist visa. Upon arrival in Vientiane, Luang Prabang and Pakse, it is possible to immediately purchase a visa for Laos. This visa is valid for thirty days. You can possibly extend your stay in Laos at the immigration office.

Is there a dress code in Laos?

Laos has a tropical climate, which means that light, spacious and comfortable (cotton) clothing is the most comfortable. Against the mosquitoes (or the scorching sun) it can be wise to bring something with long sleeves / pipes. In terms of temperature, a t-shirt with shorts is sufficient for most regions. It is cooler in the higher areas, so it is advisable to bring a few pieces of warm clothing. In the rainy season, a raincoat, poncho or umbrella can be nice (you can also buy this on site). Hiking boots with a good profile are a must for certain trekkings, especially in the rainy season. If you visit a church or a Muslim area, make sure to wear appropriate (covered) clothing.

Do you need a power adapter in Laos?

Yes, you need a world plug in Laos. Unfortunately, many different sockets are used in Laos. If you live in the Netherlands, you absolutely need a travel plug in Laos. Many types and sizes of travel plugs are for sale on bol.com. Our advice: choose one that is super compact and supports as many plug types as possible.

Can you drink tap water in Laos?

The tap water in Laos is not drinkable, it is recommended to use bottled water. If no potable (tap) water is available, it is best to boil the water well first or use water purification tablets or water filters.

Ice cubes: Besides drinking the water, the water is often also used to make ice cubes or ice. It is not recommended to use ice cubes or ice creams in Laos that are made from tap water or where you are not sure.

What is the currency of Laos?

Chicken is the official currency of Laos. Abbreviated, it is often known as LAK† There are banknotes in circulation of 100.000, 50.000, 20.000, 10.000, 5.000, 2.000, 1.000 and 500 kip. Smaller notes of 100, 50, 20, 10 and 1 kip are practically never used anymore. The second largest banknote, 50.000 kip, is worth about 5 euros and the largest banknote (100.000 kip) is about the same as 10 euros.

In Laos, other currencies are often accepted in addition to the kip; the Thai baht, the US dollar and in some places also euros.

The currency in Laos: LAK, or the LAOS KIP
The currency in Laos: LAK, or the LAOS KIP

Are credit cards accepted in Laos?

With a credit card you can go to the better hotels and restaurants, and at some travel agencies. However, make sure you always have cash with you, because the economy of the Laos still mainly runs on cash.

Can you withdraw money in Laos?

Yes, debit card payment in Laos is possible in more and more places. There are many ATMs in almost every city. There are also plenty of ATMs at airports, stations and the larger villages. You do have to take into account pin limits, which can often be quite low (a maximum of 100 or 250 euros per pin).

Is tipping common in Laos?

Tipping is not expected in Laos, but it is always appreciated. Many service workers in Laos earn low wages, so if you're happy with the services of waiters, drivers, guides, or others, leaving a small tip depending on the service is a good way to show your appreciation.

Do you have to negotiate prices in Laos?

Yes, in Laos it is customary to negotiate prices. Especially on the market and the small shops on the street. You also have to negotiate with taxi drivers and tour operators!

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That was it then! You now know everything you need to know for a wonderful tour of Laos. Do you have any questions about this Laos itinerary? Then put it in the comments below the post. Do you want a dose of travel inspiration, travel tips and beautiful travel photos on your timeline every now and then? Then follow us on social media! You can find us at FacebookTwitter en Pinterest† See you there!

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Ilse & Nick

ILSE & NICK - OUR TRAVEL LIFE
♥️ Travel addicts from #netherlands
? Chasing adventures & creating memories
? Home, dreaming where to go next
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1 comment

  • Hello,

    I traveled to Laos a few weeks ago, wonderful stay, I was amazed!

    For those who don't want to waste time looking for a SIM card, activating it, etc. it is now possible to order a SIM card online and receive it activated and loaded with an Internet package at your hotel.

    Hyper efficient and in addition the customer service is French-speaking!
    The order takes a few minutes and is done on the internetlaos website.

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