You now have the basic information about traveling in Laos. It is time to run through the step-by-step guide on how to make the best itinerary for Laos.
To plan your trip to Laos easily, you should do a little brainstorming and ask yourself:
a) How much time do you plan to visit Laos?
You should consider how much time you’re planning to visit Laos.
Do you have one week or two weeks in Laos?
Is Laos just a quick stop for a 3-day-trip in your big Asian adventure?
Although the longer, the better, you can still visit Laos in 3 days (choose either Luang Prabang or Vientiane).
If you have a longer time, you can choose your favorite places to go in Laos. We’ve listed the most beautiful and worth-visiting places in Laos for your Laos itinerary.
b) How much is your budget?
Although Laos is a budget-friendly country, you can find luxury stuff.
It can cost a lot of money if you are overspending. Knowing your budget well will help you greatly in planning your Laos trip.
c) Who are you traveling with?
Do you travel with your partner, friends, or family? Or are you traveling solo to Laos?
If you’re a solo traveler, it’s best that you can rent a motorbike for a trip from the North to the South of Laos or vice versa or join tours.
Traveling in Laos by bus or train is a great option with friends or family.
d) What type of experience do you prefer?
Are you more into sightseeing or adventure travel? Or are you just looking for a relaxing leisure vacation? Do you prefer the city or rural area? Would you like to visit off-the-beaten-path?
2. Choose your destination in Laos
Deciding where to travel in Laos may be one of the most challenging decisions in your planning process. But after brainstorming, you may know where you want to go.
Depending on your travel style, you can pick different destinations in Laos that suit your needs.
Answer these questions in the brainstorming part will narrow down places on your bucket list.
Also, while choosing your places to visit in Laos, you should know the best time to visit Laos.
Are you into a rainy or dry season, or do you prefer to travel in the off-season, shoulder-season, or peak season?
Each place has a different best time to visit, so planning well is essential.
3. Check your Passport
You should have a valid passport when traveling abroad according to the “6-month-rule”.
It means that your passport does not expire six months before your arrival date. You may get declined boarding your flight if your passport is not valid.
So check your passport carefully and renew it if needed.
4. Apply for a visa
Firstly, you should check if you need a visa to Laos and how long you need it.
Laos visa is quite straightforward and easier to understand. The easiest way is to apply visa on arrival. If you are afraid of the long queue, then the online visa is your option. You can either apply for Laos visa via an embassy abroad if it is more convenient for you.
Still looking for an easier option? Apply for a Lao visa is through an agency. You won’t need to worry much about the regulation and process. Just let them take care of you.
With over ten years of experience, iVisa.com is a trusted agency providing quick and trustworthy service for travelers.
5. Book your flights
a) From abroad
You may land in either Luang Prabang, Vientiane, or Pakse if you fly overseas. There are several flight companies having routes from and to Laos with a stopover in either Bangkok, Hanoi, or Ho Chi Minh city.
Check Skyscanner to find the best deal.
b) Domestic flights
Laos Airlines and Lao Skyway are leading flight companies in Laos.
I prefer Laos Airlines because they provide excellent service. There is not much canceling or delaying, and you may have food onboard. The seats are also more comfortable.
Lao Skyway usually has a promotion, and the price is lower than Lao Airlines. However, it’s pretty common that your flights may get delayed around 30 mins or more with them.
6. Buy travel insurance
You should never travel without travel insurance. As Laos is not too safe, you may get robbed or have an accident while traveling in Laos.
With travel insurance, you’re covered if there’s any problem. The travel insurance will cover your needs: sightseeing city breaks, vacation getaway, or adventure travel.
7. Book your stay
Depending on where you go, you can book your visit accordingly.
There are different types of accommodation in Laos: resorts, hotels, hostels, guesthouses (homestay), and apartments.
From budget-friendly hostels to luxurious resorts, you can choose the most suitable accommodation and enjoy the best of your time in Laos.
Although you can just come in and ask for rooms in hotels in Laos, booking your place in advance for your convenience is recommended.
8. Book train, bus, ferry in Laos
How to get around in Laos?
Many backpackers buy motorbikes or scooters and get on a road trip from the North to the South or vice versa.
If you’re not a big fan of riding a motorbike, you can consider booking a train or bus or renting a car for your Laos trip.
How to book a train, bus, and ferry in Laos?
We recommend using Rome2Rio to book trains, buses, and ferries while traveling in Laos.
Rome2Rio is the travel search engine compares prices and time of train, bus, and ferry routes in Laos, facilitating your Laos travel planning and simplifying the booking process.
You can pay online with a credit card and receive your electronic tickets by email.
9. Book travel tours
As Laos is relatively cheap, you can find budget-friendly tours starting at $25. There are more expensive tours such as day tour to MandaLao Elephant Sanctuary starting at $70 per person.
If you’re interested in visiting the far north or deep in the south, booking a tour may be the best idea because it’s complicated to arrange the logistic by yourselves.
Also, taking a tour will be a great option if you travel alone and would like to have a companion. Book a tour with us
10. Know places to go
After choosing your destinations, you should know where you would like to visit each site.
We would recommend having a flexible schedule because you might love one destination more than others or unexpected events during your trip to Laos, but still plan a bit before your departure.
We have several tips and guides on traveling in Laos, from the best places in Laos to dos and don’ts in Laos. The more you prepare, the better you can plan your trip.
11. Find places to eat and drinks
Trying Lao food must be on your list of things to do in Laos.
Wonder what you should eat in Laos? Read our Laos street food list to find your favorite.
We recommend downloading and using the FoodPanda app to find restaurants when you arrive in Laos. You can also check TripAdvisor for places to eat at each destination.
12. Connect with the locals or travelers
Laos is a popular destination in Southeast Asia, so you can find several travelers who are going here.
You can either join Facebook groups or Couchsurfing to find them. Couchsurfing is a great way to meet the locals and connect with travelers around the world.
13. Take vaccines
If it’s your first-time visiting Laos or traveling to Asia, there’s a high chance that you will need vaccines.
If you are going to explore the jungle or mountains in Laos, you should be careful of malaria or dengue fever.
Before visiting Laos, you should check with your doctor or a qualified medical professional for relevant travel-related advice.
Some recommended vaccines are Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Yellow Fever, and Typhoid.
Being healthy is essential for traveling, don’t forget to buy travel insurance to prepare for all the risks.
14. Prepare money
In Laos, Cash is a King. The Lao currency is Lao KIP (LAK) and can be exchanged in banks or jewelry shops.
Depending on your budget and travel style, the amount of money needed for your Laos trip may vary.
There are several ATMs and banks in big cities, so it will not be a big issue to withdraw some cash. Then you can exchange your currency for Lao KIP.
As the withdrawal fee is high, we recommend bringing some cash before entering Laos.
15. Buy a sim card
Although you can find free wifi in public places such as coffee shops, shopping malls, etc., in big cities, it’s more convenient to buy a 4G sim card when traveling to Laos.
Some stands at the airport offer sim cards, but we recommend ordering one online in advance.
16. Pack your luggage
What to pack for Laos?
If you travel in the summertime, you should bring light clothes or buy new clothes in Laos as they are cheap.
If you need any specific medicine, you should bring them along.
You can easily buy sun cream, shampoo, toothbrushes, and toothpaste in Laos at convenience stores, so you don’t need to pack them.
For women, it can be difficult to buy tampons or menstrual cups in Laos, you should pack them in your luggage, or you can purchase and use pads here.
17. Check your travel documents & flights
Before the departure time, you should recheck all your travel documents: passport, visa, insurance, and other required travel documents such as booking confirmation.
We recommend storing those documents as PDF files on your USB or laptop, or Drive so you can access them remotely.
Also, it would be best if you rechecked your flight schedule to make sure it departs on time.
Checking online will save you lots of time and avoid a long queue at the airport, so you should do it when the online check-in service is open.
18. Prepare for your flight
Airsickness is a real problem for some people. It can make you feel nausea, stomach pain, vomiting, and dizziness.
If you have airsickness, you should eat a light meal before boarding, use anti-nausea drugs or natural remedies, and choose the right seat.
When on the plane, you should avoid reading or staring at the electronic screen for a long time because it may worsen the symptom.
Also, if it’s a long flight from your departure destination to Laos, buying a soft travel pillow for neck support is a good idea.
Now you’re ready for your trip to Laos!