All aboard! High-speed train offers compelling new way to travel through Laos
The romance of train travel is alive and well in Laos. The recently-completed high-speed railway that stretches from Vientiane, through Laos, and into southern China is operating ‘full steam’ ahead.
Luang Prabang Holds First Boat Racing Festival After Years of Covid-19
Luang Prabang will celebrate the boat racing festival (Boun Souang Heua) in Namkhan River during Buddhist Lent Period, on August 26th, 2022.
A notice issued by Luang Prabang provincial office says that Luang Prabang will arrange Boun Hor Khaopadapdin, an annual festival held to feed spirits with home-made parcels of food, and the boat racing activities along Namkhan River.
The province intends to promote the traditional festival and practices in hopes of attracting more domestic and foreign tourists, generating revenue for locals.
Traditional racing boats are made of a single tree and can accommodate up to fifty rowers.
The boats are considered sacred, are cleaned, and are given offerings which are believed to bring victory to the team.
In the downtown heart of Luang Prabang, there will also be gatherings and markets.
The festival will be held on August 26th, 2022, the same day with Boun Khao Padapdine.
Covid-19 put a stop to traditional customs and festivals for almost three years, but now that the measurements have been relaxed, tourist destinations in Laos expect to recommence festivities and offer hope for travelers.
Laos fully reopens from May 9th, 2022
Laos has announced a full reopening to tourism today that allows vaccinated arrivals to enter the country without any testing requirements.
Government Spokesperson and Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office, Madame Thippakone Chanthavongsa, spoke during an announcement broadcast live across social media.
She said that as the number of Covid-19 cases had significantly decreased, and in order to ensure economic recovery, the National Taskforce for Covid-19 Prevention and Control and the government of Laos had coordinated with a number of sectors to determine new entry measures in line with the global situation.
After canvassing public opinion and consulting with experts, the Taskforce has set out the following measures for entry to Laos, effective from 9 May onward:
All international checkpoints will be open for entry and exit by Lao citizens, foreign residents, tourists, and other types of visitors.
Citizens of countries that have bilateral or unilateral visa waiver agreements with Laos may now enter Laos without the need for a visa.
Citizens of countries that do not have a visa waiver agreement with Laos may now apply for a visa at a Lao embassy or consulate abroad or via the e-Visa online system. Visa on arrivals will also be reinstated at certain international checkpoints.
Fully vaccinated foreigners or Lao citizens carrying a vaccination certificate may enter Laos without any screening or testing for Covid-19 when arriving by land, air, or water.
Non-vaccinated citizens of Laos, foreign citizens, or residents aged 12 years and over must take a Rapid Antigen Test (ATK) at least 48 hours prior to departure and present the results upon arrival.
Foreign arrivals in Laos that become infected with Covid-19 must bear responsibility for any and all medical costs involved in treatment.
Private vehicles may now enter and exit the territory of Laos via checkpoints as prior to the pandemic. Guidelines regarding this measure will be drafted and publicized by the Ministry of Public Works and Transport.
Madame Thippakone said that ministries and tourism departments, as well as tourism businesses, must now be fully prepared to welcome foreign tourists.
At the same time, she announced the reopening of entertainment venues and karaoke bars, however, such venues must ensure they fully comply with Covid-19 prevention measures.
Laos Prepares for Full Tourism Reopening, Testing Still Required
Laos is preparing to commence a new phase of reopening to tourism that will require Covid-19 tests prior to departure and on arrival.
Dr. Sisavath Soutthanilaxay said during an announcement by the National Taskforce for Covid-19 Prevention and Control yesterday that the country is now actively preparing for a full reopening.
Under new entry regulations, which will be officially announced at a future press conference, arrivals in Laos will be required to undergo two Covid-19 tests.
According to Dr. Sisavath, tourists will be required to take an RT-PCR test 72 hours before departure, as well as an RDT (Rapid Diagnostic Test) on arrival.
“The wait time for results will depend upon the number of travelers arriving,” said Dr. Sisavath.
Those who have been infected with Covid-19 and recovered will not need to take an RT-PCR test, however, an official medical certificate will be required.
Arrivals with a negative RDT test result may enter the country freely, while those who test positive will need to quarantine at a designated quarantine hotel.
Those with serious symptoms will be hospitalized.
The news comes after Prime Minister Phankham Viphavanh agreed to a full reopening of the country to tourism on Tuesday.
The PM said that he agreed “in principle” to the reopening and that relevant sectors should “draw upon lessons from neighboring countries” when drafting new regulations.
Laos Tourism Ministry Proposes Full Reopening
Laos Confirms Lao New Year Holiday Dates 2022
The government of Laos has officially set 13 April 2022 the first public holiday date of Lao New Year (Pi Mai).
A notice issued by Prime Minister’s Office confirms the holiday date and prohibits government offices and departments from holding Lao New Year parties in a bid to promote austerity and set an example for the wider population.
The notice states that the National Taskforce Committee for Covid-19 Prevention and Control and relevant provincial taskforces should issue coronavirus prevention measures related to celebrations in each locality.
While the country’s biggest festival was canceled in 2020, scaled-back Lao New Year celebrations were held in 2021, allowing residents to participate in the celebration with their families, at their workplaces, and at temples in accordance with Lao traditions.