Visit Laos > Practical information
Visas are available from Laotian embassies or on site, at entry points. They are only granted if you have purchased at least one night's hotel accommodation and a transfer from the airport. Visas are valid for one month but can be renewed within the country. Be sure that the date of entry is indicated next to the visa, otherwise you may have to pay a $100 US fine upon leaving.
The unit of Currency is the kip (LAK), divided into 100 ats. Major credit cards are accepted in Vientiane and Luang Prabang. Cash withdrawals using your Visa are possible in Vientiane banks.
Anti-malarial treatments are recommended. Bring along insect repellent. Be sure the following vaccinations are up to date: diphtheria, polio and tetanus. Vaccinations against hepatitis A and B, typhoid and Japanese encephalitis (for extended stays in rural areas) are recommended. Do not swim in stagnant waters and drink only sterilized or bottled water that has been opened in front of you.
220 V. Bring an adaptor. Power outages are common during the rainy season and in smaller centers. Bring a good flashlight or candles.
Light cotton Clothing is preferable, good for both heat and rain. Bring some light woolen Clothing for evenings and trips to the north, as well as rain gear. Remember that you must remove your shoes and socks before visiting temples, so bring footwear that is easy to get on and off.
Using a camcorder poses no problem in Laos. Generally speaking, Laotians are flattered to have their pictures taken, but it is recommended that you ask permission before taking photos in temples. Most kinds of film are available in Vientiane and other cities, though it is generally better to bring film with you.
The practice of Tipping is not widespread in Laos, except in large restaurants (10% as a rule). However tips are appreciated for any small service rendered.
Driving is done on the right, but the condition of the roads and of rental vehicles makes it advisable to hire a car and driver.
You can bring back many authentic Laotian objects that are handmade, such as woven baskets, high quality silk and cotton goods, carved wood or bone objects, terra cotta bowls and pitchers, wooden spoons and straw hats.
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