Here you will find practical information in connection with trips to Laos. Visit cellphoneexplorer for Practical Information About Laos.
- Language: Lao
- Capital: Vientiane
- Population: 7 million
- Religion: Theravada Buddhism
- Currency: Kip
- Surface: 236,800 km2
The time difference between Sweden and Laos varies depending on whether Sweden has summer or winter time:
Summer time +5 hours
Winter time +6 hours
Transport in Laos
The buses in Laos do not quite meet the standard we are used to from Europe. We have of course chosen the best category with air conditioning where this has been possible.
On our round trips in Laos and Southeast Asia, we often fly the longer distances with domestic flights. At check-in at the airport, the tour guide will in that case inform the passengers about all practicalities and flight times for the route in question.
The price level in Laos is generally lower than in Sweden. A good meal is about 40-80 kroner. When it comes to pocket money, in our experience, people usually manage with a minimum of SEK 100-120 per day. If you want to buy extra drinks etc., we recommend an additional SEK 40-60 per day and person.
On our travels you come into contact with everyday life and local customs. There may be situations you do not like or are not used to, such as custom with tips. In many countries, the tips system is more organized than we as Swedes are used to and there is an expectation that local guides and drivers will receive a certain amount in tips during the journey, as the service industry’s salaries are often adjusted accordingly. We enter an amount in our travel program, so that you can take this into account when planning your trip. The price of the trip does not include the cost of tips as you decide how much you want to give during the trip. The system of tips can be said to be part of the culture you visit and which you should therefore follow and respect. We want to emphasize that it is of course voluntary to tip.
In Laos, people are not expected to tip, except in finer restaurants and hotels where they are expected to tip 10 percent.
Currency and credit cards
In Laos, the currency is called kip (LAK). Feel free to bring USD if you want to exchange in Laos. Please note that it is only possible to exchange LAK in Laos and Thailand. In many places you can also pay with USD and Thai baht. In most major cities, you can use Visa cards to pay at restaurants and hotels and also to withdraw money at banks.
In Laos, 220-230 volts are used and there are many different types of connectors. Therefore, feel free to bring an adapter set with several options.
Telephone and internet
Laos International Country Code is +856. It is expensive to call home from Laos, so feel free to consult with your mobile operator regarding coverage and prices for incoming and outgoing calls.
In most major cities there are internet cafes, but the speed can vary a lot, so here you have to try it out. Most hotels also offer internet for a fee.
In hotels and larger restaurants, the toilets are modern / western class. Out in the city, however, you can count on going to so-called pedal toilets, and that there is a lack of toilet paper. The standard of public toilets or in the countryside can thus be relatively primitive. Bring your own toilet paper or a package of intimate napkins and perhaps hand sanitizer (available at Swedish pharmacies, for example), so you will not be as dependent on access to water.
Customs and traditions
Laotians are generally very open and greet tourists with a smile. They do not like to get involved in how you behave. Instead, it is assumed that you as a visitor to the country have familiarized yourself with how to behave. Although Laotians are generally accustomed to many tourists, their shrines and customs are expected to be respected with respect and appropriate attire. This means that the shoulders and knees should be covered and the clothes not too tight.
You always take off your shoes before entering a temple. Remember to always have the soles of your feet facing the floor and never turn them towards a Buddha figure or shrine. They are considered unclean. You are not allowed to touch or climb Buddha figures and historical monuments. It is not always allowed to take photographs and it is important to be aware of any signage about this. It is also not allowed to pose in front of a Buddha figure. The Laotians consider it unworthy and indecent not to control themselves and their emotions. That is, as a tourist you should not show anger or excitement. If you end up in a situation where you feel badly treated, you can turn to the tour guide who can help resolve the situation.
Public kisses and declarations of love are highly inappropriate. Body contact and hand holding are not well regarded, although it is common for people of the same sex to hold hands. In addition, the body should always be decently covered. In the large tourist areas, it is accepted to deviate from the norms inside the hotel areas. Never touch a Laotian on the head. It is considered rude because the hair is sacred.
In some areas there are beggars and of course you can give an elderly person or a disabled person a penny, but preferably not to children and young people as this encourages child begging. Rather give the children things like shampoo, soap, pencils or drawing pads.
During flight and transport, there is an absolute ban on smoking. You may not smoke indoors in public places unless there is a special smoking room.