No matter which foreign currency you plan to exchange in Laos, you should make sure your notes are in pristine conditions. If they are folded, stained or creased, they will certainly be rejected, or in the best-case scenario, be exchanged at a lower rate.
The best places to exchange are in the banks. They offer the security that you will get what you should be getting. Even if the banking industry is very competitive in Laos, you might see non-negligible differences among banks in terms of exchange rates.
We therefore advise you to compare different banks first and see which one offers you the most interesting rate.
Moreover, banks are now easily found throughout the country, and even provincial cities off the main tourist track have banks you can exchange at.
Note that most banks are closed on weekends and holidays, as well as being closed for a week every April during Pi Mai water festival.
Outside bank opening hours or in remote areas and airports, you might be able to find currency exchange counter. These are usually reliable, but they will likely take a larger commission.
You can also look at local jewelry shops or money exchange shop, they can offer interesting rates as well. If you are in Vientiane, we advise you to visit the Talat Sao Shopping Mall which is home to plenty of jewelry shops, most of them being trustworthy.
Nevertheless, we do not recommend you exchange money on the streets or through tuk tuk drivers. This is a great way to get scammed, particularly in Vientiane.
As it is often the case, larger bills are exchanged at slightly higher rates than smaller bills.
When you leave the country, do not forget to exchange your remaining kip before you take off. Indeed, nowhere outside Laos you will be able to exchange your extra kip, so make sure you get rid of them before you leave.