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  • WTM 2018

Vietnam   

Laos   

Cambodia   

Myanmar   

Thailand   

 

    Laos is the only landlocked country in Southeast Asia. After many years of war and isolation, this country with its most pristine environment, intact cultures is now fast developing. Vientiane- the capital, is still refreshingly simple, if not say a little languid. There is the historic royal city of Luang Prabang, where watching as hundreds of saffron-robed monks move silently among centuries-old monasteries is as romantic a scene as you’ll experience anywhere in Asia. Away from the cities, there is so much more to see- its thickly forested landscape consists mostly of rugged mountains, the highest of which is Phou Bia at 2,818 metres, with some plains and plateaus, the Mekong River forms a large part of the western boundary with Thailand, whereas the mountains of the Annamite Range form most of the eastern border with Vietnam and the Luang Prabang Range the northwestern border with the Thai highlands. There are two plateau, the Xiangkhoang in the north and the Bolaven Plateau at the southern end.

    LANGUAGE

    Speaking languages

    Official language: Lao
    Foreign languages: Thai (Lao is a tonal language closely related to Thai), French (understood by some older people), English is now more popular.
    The most popular languages for tourist guides: English
    Dialects

    Being the primary language of the Lao people, Lao is also an important second language for the multitude of ethnic groups in Laos and in Isan. Lao, like many languages in Laos, is written in the Lao script, which is an abugida script. Although there is no official standard, the Vientiane dialect has become the standard. There are six regions of Lao dialects: Vientiane Lao, Northern Lao, Northeastern Lao/Tai Phuan, Central Lao, Southern Lao and Western Lao.

    In addition to the dialects of Lao, numerous closely related languages (or dialects, depending on the classification) are spoken throughout the Lao-speaking realm in Laos and Thailand, such as the Nyaw, Phu Thai, Saek, Lao Wieng, Tai Dam, Tai Daeng, etc. These Tai peoples are classified by the Lao government as Lao Loum or lowland Lao. Lao and Thai are also very similar and share most of their basic vocabulary, but differences in many basic words limit inter-comprehension.

    Common Phrases

    Hello   
    Sa-bai-Dee
    Goodbye   
    Sôhk Dee Deuh
    Thank you  
    Khawp Jai
    I don’t understand 
    Khàwy Baw Khào Jai
    I understand 
    Khàwy Khào Jai
    Please!
    Kawlunaa
    Yes 
    Maen Laeow/Doi/Eur/Jao
    No  
    Baw
    Do you speak English?
    Jâo Wâo Pháa-Sǎa Ung-Kit Dai Baw?
    Sorry 
    Khǎw Thôht
                                                        


    CURRENCY

    - The official national currency in Laos is the Lao kip (LAK). The vast majority of transactions will be carried out in kip, so it’s always worth having a wad in your pocket. Kip notes come in denominations of 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10, 000, 20, 000 and the recently printed 50, 000 kip. Small vendors, especially in rural areas, will struggle to change the 20, 000 kip and 50, 000 kip notes – some we met had never even seen a 50, 000 kip note. Also, both of these larger notes are red, so watch you don’t go handing out 50, 000 kip notes thinking they’re 20, 000 kip.

    The Lao kip is not convertible to any currency outside of the Lao PDR. So please spend it all before you leave Laos.

    - Other 2 popularly used currencies are: Thai baht (B) and US dollars (US$). In larger cities and towns, baht and US dollars are readily acceptable at most businesses, including hotels, restaurants and shops.

    - In smaller towns and villages, kip is usually preferred. The rule of thumb is that for everyday small purchases, prices are quoted in kip. More expensive goods and services (eg long-distance boat hire) may be quoted in baht or dollars, while anything costing US$100 or more (eg tours, long-term car hire) is quoted in US dollars.

     

    METHOD OF PAYMENT

     
    ATMs

    Travellers on their last kip have been giving thanks that ATMs have made a tentative landing in Laos. But before you get overexcited, the ATMs are only in Vientiane and dispense a maximum of 700,000 kip (about US$70) a time, with each withdrawal incurring a US$2 fee from BCEL. If, like most of us, you also have to pay extortionate charges to your home bank on each overseas withdrawal, that doesn’t work out so well. So taking your plastic into the bank itself might still work out cheaper; see right.

    At the time of research ATMs dispensed cash – in Lao kip – to Visa and MasterCard accounts only, despite stickers promising access to Cirrus and Plus accounts. This might change, but don’t count on it. We met one traveller who had to go to Thailand to access his cash – an expensive diversion when you consider he needed to get a new visa to come back.


    Credit cards

    A growing number of hotels, upmarket restaurants and gift shops in Vientiane and Luang Prabang accept Visa and MasterCard, and to a much lesser extent Amex and JCB. Outside of these three towns, credit cards are virtually useless.

    Banque pour le Commerce Extérieur Lao (BCEL; thanáakháan kąan khâa taang páthêht láo in Lao) branches in Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng, Savannakhet and Pakse offer cash advances/withdrawals on Visa credit/debit cards for a 3% transaction fee. Other banks may have slightly different charges, so if you’re in Vientiane (where there are options) it might be worth shopping around. Advances/withdrawals can be made in Lao kip only – it’s not possible to withdraw US dollars or Thai baht.

    Travellers cheques

    Travellers cheques can be cashed at most banks in Laos, but normally only in exchange for kip. Cheques in US dollars are the most readily acceptable, and in fact outside Vientiane they might be the only cheques accepted. Very few merchants accept travellers cheques.

     

    TIME & WORKING HOURS

     
    Banks
    08 AM -11:30 AM & 01PM -04PM / Mon.-Fri.
    08 AM -11:30 AM – Sat.
    Bars
    05 PM/06 PM -Midnight
    Businesses & Shops
    07 AM/08 AM -05PM /06PM – Mon-Sat.; Most also open on Sun.
    International restaurants
    7:30 Am- 10 PM
    Local restaurants
    07/AM-13 PM or 10 Am- 10 PM (Big restaurants)
    Supermarkets
    09 AM-10 PM
    Temples & Pagodas
    05 AM-09 PM
            
     
    TIMEZONE   GMT+7
     
    TELEPHONE

    Emergency telephone numbers and area codes of Cambodia as following:

    All regular phone numbers have an area code followed by a seven or eight digit number.

     
    Country code
    856
    Inter provinces
    0
    International access code
    007

    Mobile (020-2 ETL, 020-5 Lao Telecom, 020-7 Tigo, 020-9 Unitel)

    020

    Vientiane Prefecture

    021
    Vientiane
    023
    Attapeu
    031
    Salavan
    034
    Savannakhet
    041
    Khammouan
    051
    Bolikhamsai
    054
    Xiangkhoang
    061
    Houaphan
    064

    Luang Prabang

    071
    Sainyabuli
    074
    Oudomxai
    081
    Bokeo
    084

    Louang Namtha

    086
    Phongsali
    088
     
    INTERNET

    Internet cafes can be found in larger towns, however access speeds are usually painfully slow and cafe staffs have less knowledge. The most reliable connections are in Vientiane, and usually cost around 100 kip/minute, with the cheapest offering 4,000 kip/hour. However, internet security is not guaranteed and computer virus issues are often ignored.

    Wi-Fi with Mac/Linux laptop or iPad are recommended. Some cafes offer free Wi-Fi-access for customers (check first if it's really free). Many accommodations now offer free Wi-Fi. GPRS via mobile phone is also an option, especially if you have a local or Thai SIM, for those who intend to stay longer term and require mobile internet.

     
    TRANSPORT

    - Airlines flying to/from Laos

     

    Bangkok Airways

    China Eastern Airlines

    Lao Airlines

    Thai Airways International

    Vietnam Airlines

     
     

    - Other means of transportation

    Boat service

    Car & Motorcycle

    Bus & Tram

    Hitching

    Jumbo (sometimes called tuk tuk as in Thailand)

    Bicycle

     

    PUPLIC HOLIDAYS

     
    January 1

    New Year


    January 6
    Pathet Lao Day

    celebrates the victory of the Pathet Lao against the royalist Western-backed government of the time

    January 20
    Army Day

    This celebrates the founding of the Lao People's Army in 1949 by Kaysone Phomvihane in the former revolutionary stronghold of Huaphan province.

    March 8

    International Women's Day

    Honors women in Lao society, with celebrations at homes and in offices.

    March 22
    Day of the People's Party

    Celebrates the ruling Lao People's Revolutionary Party and all its works.

    May 1

    Labor Day


    August 13
    Day of the Free Laos
     
    Lao Issara

    A celebration of the Issara, the freedom fighters who gained victory in Laos in the 1970s.

    October 12
    Day of Liberation

    End of war in Laos in 1975 and the Pathet Lao achieved victory.

    December 2
    Lao National Day

    The establishment of the Lao People's Democratic Republic in 1975. Parades and dancing at That Luang temple.

     
     

    EMBASSIES & GENERAL CONSULATE IN LAOS

    Australian Embassy in Vientiane, Laos

    Australian Embassy in Vientiane, Laos

    KM4, Thadeua Road

    Watnak Village

    Sisattanak District

    Vientiane

    Lao P.D.R.

    City: Vientiane

    Phone: +856 21 353800

    Fax: +856 21 353801

    Website: http://www.laos.embassy.gov.au/

    Email: austemb.laos@dfat.gov.au

    Office Hours: The Embassy is open for general and consular enquiries from 8.30 am to 5.00 pm Monday to Friday except for public holidays. The Visa office is open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9.00am to 12.00 noon.

    Details: The Australian Embassy, located in the capital of Vientiane, offers a comprehensive range of services to Australian citizens, administers the Australian development assistance program to Laos, provides trade commission services to Australian businesses, manages the formal bilateral relationship between Australia and Laos and provides a visa service for people in Laos planning to travel to Australia.

     
    Bruneian Embassy in Vientiane, Laos

    Embassy of Brunei in Laos

    No.30, Unit 12 - Ban Thongkang

    Sisathanak District

    Lanexang Avenue

    Vientiane, Laos

    P.O.Box 7843

    City: Vientiane

    Phone: 856 21 352294

    Fax: 856 20 352290

    Email: vientiane.laos@mfa.gov.bn

    Office Hours: 0800 - 1200 hrs 1330 - 1600 hrs Monday - Friday

     
    Cambodian Embassy in Vientiane, Laos

    Embassy of Cambodia in Laos (Vientiane)

    Thadeua Road, KM2Vientiane,

    B.P. 34, Lao P.D.R.

    City: Vientiane

    Phone: (8562) 131 4950, 131 4952

    Fax: (8562) 131 4951

    Email: camemb.lao@mfa.gov.kh

     
    Canadian Embassy in Laos

    Laos People's Democratic Republic

    The Government of Canada has no resident representation in Laos.

    Services are offered through our Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand.

    For consular services, please contact the Australian Embassy in Laos.

     
    Chinese Embassy in Vientiane, Laos

    Chinese Embassy in Vientiane, Laos

    Wat Nak Road

    Sisattanak

    Vientiane, Laos

    City: Vientiane

    Phone: +856-21-315100

    Fax: +856-21-315104

    Email: embassyprc@laonet.net

     
    Cuban Embassy in Vientiane, Laos

    Embassy of Cuba in Vientiane, Laos

    Bourichanne Road, No.422 Naxay Village

    Saysetha District

    Vientiane
    Laos

    City: Vientiane

    Phone: (856) 21453813

    Fax: (856) 21453814

    Website: http://www.cubadiplomatica.cu/laos

    Email: embajada@laotel.com

    Office Hours: Customer service (at the consulate): Monday-Friday 9:00 am-12:00 pm & 2.00 pm-4pm Closed on holidays in Cuba and holidays in Laos

    Details: Ambassador: Waldo Reyes Sardiñas

     
    French Embassy in Vientiane, Laos

    French Embassy in Laos

    Avenue Sethathirat

    Vientiane, BP 6

    City: Vientiane

    Phone: 856 21 21 52 53

    Fax: 856 21 21 52 50

    Website: http://www.ambafrance-laos.org/

    Email: consulat.vientiane-amba@diplomatie.gouv.fr

     
    German Embassy in Vientiane, Laos

    German Embassy in Laos

    Rue Sokpalouang 26

    Vientiane

    City: Vientiane

    Phone: 856 21 31 21 10

    Fax: 856 21 31 43 22

    Website: http://--

    Email: info@vien.diplo.de

    Details: ---

     
    Indian Embassy in Vientiane, Laos

    Embassy of India in Laos

    002, Ban Wat-Nak

    Thadeua Road, KM 3

    Sisattanak District

    City: Vientiane

    Phone: 00-856-21-352301-04

    Fax: 00-856-21-352300

    Email: indiaemb@laotel.com

     
    Indonesian Embassy in Vientiane, Laos

    Embassy of Indonesia in Vientiane, Laos

    Kaysone Phom Vihane Avenue

    PO Box 277

    City: Vientiane

    Phone: +856-21 413 909, +856-21 413 910

    Fax: (856-21) 214-828

    Website: http://www.kemlu.go.id/vientiane/Pages/default.aspx?l=id

    Email: kbrivte@laotel.com

     
    Japanese Embassy in Vientiane, Laos

    Embassy of Japan in Laos

    Road Sisangvone, Vientiane

    Lao People's Democratic Republic.

    City: Vientiane

    Phone: + 856 21 41 4400-3

    Fax: + 856 21 414 406

    Website: http://www.la.emb-japan.go.jp/en/embassy/embassy.htm

    Office Hours: 08:30 - 12:00, 13:30 - 17:45

     
    Malaysian Embassy in Ventianne, Laos

    Embassy of Malaysia in Vientiane, Laos

    23 Singha Road

    Ban Phonxay, P.O Box 789

    Vientiane, Laos PDR

    City: Ventianne

    Phone: 856-21-414205/06

    Fax: 856-21-414201

    Website: http://www.kln.gov.my/perwakilan/vientiane

    Email: malvntian@kln.gov.my, mwvntian@laopdr.com

    Office Hours: Monday - Friday 8.00 am - 4.30 pm Holiday : Saturday - Sunday

     
    Myanmar Embassy in Vientiane, Laos

    Embassy of the Union of Myanmar in Vientiane, Laos

    Ban Thong Kang, P.O. Box No. 11

    Sok Palaung

    P.O. Box No. 11

    City: Vientiane

    Phone: (856) (21) 314910, 314911

    Fax: (856) (21) 314913

    Email: mev@loxinfo.co.th, mevlao@laotel.com

     
    Filipino Embassy in Vientiane, Laos

    Embassy of Philippines in Vientiane, Laos

    Ban Saphanthong Kang, Sisattanak District,

    Vientiane, LAO PDR

    P.O. Box 2415

    City: Vientiane

    Phone: (85621) 452-490/ 491

    Fax: (85621) 452-493

    Email: pelaopdr@laotel.com

     
    Russian Embassy in Vientiane, Laos

    Embassy of Russia in Vientiane, Laos

    Thaphalanxay quarter, km 4, Thadeua Str.,

    Vientiane, B.P. 490, Laos

    City: Vientiane

    Phone: +856 21 312-219, 312-222

    Fax: +856 21 312-210

      Email: rusemb@laotel.com

     
    Singaporean Embassy in Vientiane, Laos

    Embassy of Singapore in Vientiane, Laos

    Thadeua Road, KM 3, Unit 4

    Watnak Village, Sisattanak District

    Vientiane Capital, Lao PDR

    City: Vientiane

    Phone: +856 21 353939

    Fax: +856 21 353938

    Website: http://www.mfa.gov.sg/vientiane

    Email: singemb_vte@sgmfa.gov.sg

    Office Hours: Mon - Fri 8.30 am to 12.00 pm 1.00 pm to 5.00 pm Sat & Sun - Closed

     
    Swedish Embassy in Vientiane, Laos

    Embassy of Sweden in Vientiane, Laos

    Sokpaluang Road, Quartier Wat Nak

    Vientiane

    Laos/LAO PDR

    City: Vientiane

    Phone: +856 (21) 315003

    Fax: +856 (21) 315001

    Email: ambassaden.vientiane@foreign.ministry.se

    Office Hours: Monday-Friday 9 to 11.30 a.m.

     
    Thai Embassy in Vientiane, Laos

    Embassy of Thailand in Laos

    Royal Thai Embassy

    Avenue Kaysone Phomvihane

    Saysettha District, Vientiane .P.O. Box 128

    Consular Section, Rue 23 Singha,

    Saysettha District,Vientiand

    City: Vientiane

    Phone: (856-21) 214-581-2

    Fax: (856-21) 214-580

    Website: http://www.thaiembassy.org/vientiane/

    Email: thaivte@mfa.go.th

     
    Thai Consulate in Khanthabouly District, Laos

    Consulate of Thailand in Laos

    Savannakhet Province

    City: Khanthabouly District

    Phone: +856-41 212-373 / +856-41 212-445

    Fax: +856-41 212-370

    Email: thaisvk@mserv.mfa.go.th

     
    American Embassy in Vientiane, Laos

    U.S. Embassy in Vientiane, Laos

    19 Rue Bartholonie,

    That Dam Road

    City: Vientiane

    Phone: (856-21) 267000

    Fax: (856-21) 267190

    Website: http://usembassy.state.gov

     
    Vietnamese Embassy in Vientiane, Laos

    Embassy of Vietnam in Vientiane, Laos

    No 85 23 Singha Road, Ban Phonxay,

    Saysettha District, Laos

    City: Vientiane

    Phone: (856-21) 413400

    Fax: (856-21) 416720

    Email: dsqvn@laotel.com

     
    Vietnamese Consulate in Vientiane, Laos

    Embassy of Vietnam in Laos

    No 85 23 Singha Road, Ban Phonxay, Saysettha District

    City: Vientiane

    Phone: (+856-31) 413400/413409; 451990

    Fax: (+856-31) 413379/416720

    Website: http://www.mofa.gov.vn/vnemb.la?set_language=en

    Email: dsqvn@laotel.com

     
    Vietnamese Consulate in Savannakhet, Laos

    Consulate General of the S.R. of Vietnam in Savannakhet, Laos

    1 Thatluang Road, Vientiane

    Savannakhet, Laos

    City: Savannakhet

    Phone: (856) 41 212418

    Fax: (856) 20 5541259

    Website: http://www.vietnamconsulate-savanakhet.org/en/

    Email: tlsxavan@laotel.com

     
     

    LAOS HAS THREE DISTINCT SEASONS:

     
    Hot season
    Slightly cooler wet season
    Dry season

    March to May

     

    -This season is not very bad for mountainous northern provinces tours.

     

    - The temperature can soar as high as 40°C in Southern Laos. So tours at this side are best avoided for during these months.

    May to October

     
    - Average temperature:30°C

    - This season is not as bad as you might think. While it will rain – very heavily – the downpours are often fairly brief and can be bracketed by long periods of sunshine. The rains also clear dust from the skies and land, making everything clearer and brighter.

    November to March

     

    - Average temperature: 15°C or even zero in the mountains at night

    - Low rainfall

    - The best time for visiting most of Laos is between November and February, when it rains the least and is not too hot. It’s also Laos’s main season for both national and regional bun (festivals).

     

    - This is the peak tourism season.

     

    Note: At the end of this season, North of Luang Prabang can become very hazy as farmers burn their fields and there are fires in the forest

     
    TEMPERATURE
     
    Vietnam weather chart
     
     
    Month
    Luang Prabang
    Vientiane
     
    Av.Temp (C)
    Av.Temp (C)
    January
    28
    28
    February
    32
    30
    March
    34
    33
    April
    36
    34
    May
    35
    32
    June
    34
    32
    July
    32
    31
    August
    32
    31
    September
    33
    31
    October
    32
    31
    November
    29
    29
    December
    27
    28
     
     
     
     
     

    FESTIVALS & EVENTS

     
    January
    Bun Pha Vet

    It is a temple-centre festival in which the birth-tale of Prince Vestsantara, the Buddha’s penultimate life, is recited in temples throughout the country and this is considered a particularly auspicious time for ordination as a monk.

    February
    Marha Puha
     (or Makka Bu-sao)
     

    The festival is marked by grand parades of candle-bearing worshippers circling their local temples, merit-making, and much religious music and chanting.

     
    Vietnamese Tet and Chinese New Year
     
     
    Wat Phu festival
     

    Festivities are elephants racing, buffaloes fighting, cocks fighting and performances of Lao traditional music and dance. The trade fair showcasing the products from the southern province of Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam is also held.

    March
    Boun Khoun Khao
     
    This is a harvest festival that is celebrated at local temples and wats.
    April
    Boun Pimai
    (or Pimai Lao)
    Laos New Year
    May
    Boun Bang Fai (rocket festival)
     

    Rain-invoking ceremonies: large bamboo rockets are built and decorated by monks and carried in procession before being blasted skywards to invite the rains.

    June
    Khao Phansao (also Khao Watsa, full moon)

    This festival marks the beginning of the traditional three months "rains retreat" during which Buddhist monks are expected to station themselves in a single monastery.

    September
    Boat Racing festival
     

    This festival is organized in Luang Prabang from Aug 17 to Aug 18 (Lunar month) including boat racing on the NamKhane River and a trade fair in Luang Prabang city. At the Khao Salak ceremony day, people visit local temples to make offering to the dead as well to share merits making.

    October
    Awk Phansao (Awk Watsa)
     

    This celebrates at the end of the three-month rains retreat on the day of the full moon. Monks are at last permitted to leave the temple and are presented with robes, alms bowls and other requisites of the denunciative life. One particularly beautiful aspect is Lai Hua Fai. On the eve of Awk Phansaa people gather at the nearest body of water to release dozens of small banana-leaf boats decorated with candles, incense and small flowers, in a celebration similar to the Thai Loy Krathong.

     
    Bun Nam
    (water festival)
     

    A second festival held in association with Awk Phansaa is Bun Nam (water festival) in riverside towns such as Vientiane, Luang Prabang and Savannakhet, the highly competitive Bun Nam boat races are held during the same time as Awk Phansaa. Smaller communities sometimes hold these races on National Day on 2nd December so that residents aren’t saddled with two costly festivals in two months.

     
    Boat Racing festival

    This festival is organized in Oct 2 to Oct 3 in Vientiane. The water festival held during Pansa is spectacular; on the first day at dawn, donations and offerings are made at temples around the city; in the evening, candlelight processions are held around the temples and hundreds of colorful floats decorated with flowers; incense and candles are set adrift down the Mekong river in thanksgiving to the river spirit; the next day, a popular and exciting boat racing competition is held on the Mekong.

    November
    That Luang Festival
     (full moon)
     

    This takes place at That Luang in Vientiane. Hundreds of monks assemble to receive alms and floral votives early in the morning on the first day of the festival. There is a colorful procession between Wat Si Muang and Pha That Luang. The celebration lasts a week and includes fireworks and music, culminating in a candlelit circumambulation (wien thien) of That Luang.  

    December
    Lao National Day
     

    This celebrates the 1975 victory of the proletariat over the monarchy with parades, speeches, etc. Streets strewn with national flags and banners, processions, parades. Celebration is mandatory, hence poorer communities postpone some of the traditional Awk Phansaa activities–usually practiced roughly a month earlier--until National Day, thus save themselves from considerable expense (much to the detraction of Awk Phansaa)

     
    That Inhang Festival
     

    This festival is held on the grounds of the splendid That Inhang stupa, located just outside the city of Savannkakhet; an international trade fair will include exhibitions of tourism products from Laos, Thailand and Vietnam and performance of traditional Lao, Thai and Vietnamese music and dance; the fair will also include a sports competition, complete with football, boxing and tennis matches and local traditions like a drumming competition.

     
     
    Travel is not just about visiting, It’s about experiencing. Try to get beneath the skin of the country: this can take any shapes or forms. It might be a culinary adventure or a walk on the wild side. It could be a cultural encounter or perhaps spiritual enlightenment. The followings are some suggested tips:
     
    DOS:
     

    1. Arrange for medical insurance (including the provision for emergency evacuation) prior to your departure, as there is no free medical treatment available in Vietnam and the standard of local health facilities may be below international standards.

    2. When visiting temples, dress conservatively (no shorts or short sleeved T-shirts). Shoes are removed before entering. Never touch or even hand anything to monks.

    3. Always ask permission first before taking photographs, especially in religious places.

    4. Tipping is not customary in Laos except in upmarket restaurants where 10% of the bill is appreciated – but only if a service charge hasn’t already been added.

     
    DON’TS:

    1. Don’t pat or touch an adult or even a child on the head.

    2. Don’t touch or climb on Buddha figures or images as they are considered sacred. Don’t even pose in front of them for photographs.

    3. Don't show much money, jewelry, or expensive belongings while walking around in big cities, which may attract the pick-pockets.

    4. Don’t point to something or someone with your finger. Instead use a palm-up gesture of the whole hand. Don’t show the soles of your feet 

    5. Don’t show affection (hugging or kissing) in public, especially between the 2 lovers

    6. Don’t drink tap water

     
     
     
     
     
    VIENTIANE

    From Luang Prabang, take a flight south to this capital of Laos, which is located along the Mekong river. This capital resembles a town rather than a capital, as Vientiane still remains its majesty and grandeur of the colonial yesteryears, with its ample French-inspired buildings and wide boulevards. Coming to Vientiane to enjoy the finer aspects of Laotian cultures through its fine cuisine and traditional crafts, especially aromatic brew of local coffee by the riverbanks of stately Mekong river.
     
    Places of interest
    Entertainment
    Top eats and drinks

    Wat Sisaket- the oldest temple with thousands of miniature Buddha statues

    Visiting fisherman’s villages
    Laos deep fried spring rolls
    Laos papaya salads
    Laos fried rice
    Laos noodle with beef
    Wat Prakeo- former royal temple
    Gambling at casinos
    Yellow chicken curry

    Wat Simuang- the most sacred religious site

    Talet Sou morning market
    Grilled Mekong fish
    That Luang Stupa
    Traditional Lao massage
     
    Patuxay Monument
    Lao Bowling /Golf
     

    Nam Ngum lake- a huge reservoir created by damming the Nam Ngum river

    Meditation at Wak Sok Pa Luang
     
     

    Learning how to weave silk and dye textiles using natural pigments

     
     
    Sitting and watching time pass by
     
     
     
    VANG VIENG

    Vang Vieng is a small and tranquil town nestled on a bend of Nam Song river. Its stunning scenery with a mixture of quiet water and limestone outcrops remains unspoiled, which becomes more attractive for those who come from a country of high technologies. One of the most notable features of the area is the karst hill landscape surrounding the town. Some even praise this town a dream-like town.

     
    Places of interest
    Entertainment
    Top eats and drinks
    Nam Song River
    Kayaking/cycling

    Traditional laap made of pork, chicken, beef..

    Limestone cliffs and valleys
    Exploring caves and climbing cliffs
    Laap tofu for vegetarians
    Tham Jang cave
    Inner tubing

     LU, which consists of raw beef that is flavored with blood and bile!

    Ban Huai Ngai village
    Exploring local lifestyles

    Lao Pho is the Laotian version of the Vietnamese noodle soup pho. Flavored with garlic, cilantro, lime, and basil, this light broth with noodles is a great healthy option.

     
    Bustling central market
    Walking and exploring the market

    Ping gai is marinated chicken grilled slowly until it becomes dry and stringy

     
    Bamboo raft rides
    Fresh fish of various kinds
     
    Herbal massage and sauna
     
     
    Shopping for Lao typical dresses
     
     

    Walking around ethnic minority people

     
     
     
    XIENG KHOUANG

    Xieng Khouang, once devastated by American bombings between 1964 and 1973, has now been known more to tourists by its charming and tranquil beauty. Xieng Khouang is more impressive with “The Plain of Jars”- an archaeological site where hundreds of large stone jars are scattered all over the plateau. These huge jars are supposedly over 2,000 years old. but most of archeologists still question their purpose. Theories range from the view that they were made to store wine for a huge party to celebrate the conquest of Pakhanh City (Xieng Khouang). Other archeologists believe they were made to store dead human bodies, as was the practice of ancient believers. No one really knows.

     
    Places of interest
    Entertainment
    Top eats and drinks
    Hot spring in Muang Kham district
    Mineral Spring exploring and bathing
     Laotian traditional food

    Tham Piu cave- used to be a bomb shelter

    Xieng Khuoung shopping at the Dry Goods Market

    Western food

    Tham Pa: these 2 limestone caves hid hundreds of small Buddha figures. The caves persist deep into the hill side and are pretty amazing.

    Exploring the ancient architectural sites

    Chinese and Thai food
    Mulberries organic Silk Farm

    Exploring the local lifestyle and working styles

     
    The Plain of Jars
    Trekking, hiking
     
    Muang Khan Cemetery
     
     

    Muang Sui- used to be an airplane landing site

     
     
     
     
    LUANG PRABANG

    Luang Prabang is one of Asia’s most beautiful towns in Laos. It is a unique blend of ancient temples, colonial buildings set between 2 rivers and a magnificent range of limestone mountains. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this architectural heritage has been well preserved, and therefore hardly a tall building can be found mar the townscape. Coming to Luang Prabang, you can explore the limestone caverns of the Pak Ou Caves to admire the repository of Buddha statues and up Mount Phou Sil to capture the spectacular panoramic view of the town.....

     
    Places of interest
    Entertainment
    Top eats and drinks
    Waterfalls:
    - Kuang Si Falls
    - Tad Thong Falls
    - Tad Sae Falls

    - Escapes waterfalls, swim, relax and beat the heat

    Nem Tadieu - A unique salad of crumbled crispy fried coconut rice and pork; fermented pork skin lends depth to the dish, while fresh herbs and lime juice add brightness and balance.

    Mountains:
    - Mount Phousi
    - Gecko Mountain
    - Climbing/ trekking mountains
     Salads and vegetarian food
    - Mushrooms and herbs salads
    - Green papaya salad
    - Wing beans/long beans salads
    - Tofu
    Grottes
    - Visiting weaving village

    Laap pork - laap is a classic oil-free minced meat salad common in both Thailand and Laos. Lao style laap tends to have a stronger light citrus scent from lemongrass and lime leaves, and uses a higher proportion of herbs than its Thai counterpart.

    Pak Ou Cave
     
     
    Golden City temple
    - Joining Alms Giving ceremony

    Oua si khai - Lemongrass stalks stuffed with minced meat. These can be steamed, fried or grilled, and are nicely infused with citrusy scent of the lemongrass. 

    Traditional Arts+ Ethnology center
    - Ethnik fashion shows

    Mok paa - ‘Mok' are ingredients wrapped in banana leaves, and then steamed. The ingredients vary but are commonly seasoned with lime leaf and other aromatics, and held together with a little sticky rice custard.

    Luang Prabang Library
    - Kayaking tours
     
    Royal Palace Museum
    - All Lao elephant Camp
     
    Whisky Village
     
     
     
     
    LUANG NAM THA

    Luang Namtha - the largest settlement in North-West of Laos, North of Luang Prabang is best known as a stopover point on the backpacker trail from China to Laos and as an alternative to the long and cramped boat journey between Huay Xai and Luang Prabang. Luang Namtha is a popular tourist destination, and a base for treks, biking to the surrounding hill-tribe villages. It contains the Luang Namtha Museum. Luang Namtha has become increasingly popular as a starting point for hill tribe treks, especially those into the Luang NamTha NPA - National Protected Area. While short on jaw dropping sights, it's a compact and fairly pleasant little town, albeit one divided in two distinct parts: the "old" or original town near the airport (bombed out in the 1970's war), and the "new" or replacement town to the north where the trekking companies and most guesthouses can be found.

     
    Places of interest
    Entertainment
    Top eats and drinks

    Nam Dee waterfall

     
    Jungle trekking

    Bamboo shoot, pork and bitter herb soup

    Gneung Phou Ku Lom waterfall

    Jungle camp

    Laab, BBQ chicken

    Tad Lik Waterfall
    Ecotours
    Fresh fish dishes

    Nam Ha National Protected Area, an ASEAN Heritage Site,

    Mountain bike riding

    Different awesome kinds of jungle eatable fruits and berries

     
    Ban Hot Yawng Villlage
    Countryside bike riding
    Laos beer
    Local markets
    Kayaking
    Good Laos coffee
     
    Boat rides
     
     
    City tour
     
     
    Herbal sauna
     
     

    Homestay to explore the local lifestyle

     
     
     
     
     
    TOURIST VISA

    - A tourist visa to Laos is valid with 30 days. It can be issued via a travel agency or through a Lao embassy or consulate.

             + Via embassy: $30- $37 depending on nationality and office you use.

             + For Canadians: $ 44

             + For Asean members, no visa is needed (please check with a Laos embassy.consulate for the updated information).

    - Visa on arrival(valid 30 days:) is reliably available at most overland crossings between Thailand and Laos, including the Huay Xai, Vientiane, Savannakhet, Tha Khaek and Chong Mek entry points.

             + It is also available at both Vientiane and Luang Prabang airports (US$37, cash only).

             + It is available at the Boten crossing with China and at the main international crossings with Vietnam.

    - Visa on arrival is not available at the Paksan crossing, but it is now available at the popular southern crossing from Cambodia.

     
    *Remark:

    - One passport photo is needed

    - Passport has to be valid at least 6 months after departure date of the country.

    - Visa on arrival pay more 1 USD/Pax every Saturday and Sunday.


    EXTENSIONS

    Extending a tourist visa is straightforward and can be arranged at the immigration office in Vientiane.

    - Fee: US$2-3 per day depending on whether you handle it yourself or work through a travel agent.
    - An extra 10 days will cost you $30.


    VALIDITY ISSUES

    All tourist visas are single-entry only. The visa sticker for visas issued from an embassy are full page, so bear that in mind if you do not have many pages left in your passport. If you want to stay in Laos longer than a month, it's no big deal to exit to Thailand and come back in on a new tourist visa for another 30 days.

     
     
     
    VIENTIANNE
     
    Categories
    Map & locations
    Address
    Ministry of silk
     
     

    Laos traditional textile weaving with a strong emphasis on patterns and motifs

     
     
     
    Tel: +856 21 213776
     
    Carol Cassidy
    Phaeng Mai Gallery
     
     
     
    Finer Things
    99/01 Namphou Square, Vientiane
     
    Ban Mixay
     

    117 Nongbouathong Tai Village, Sikhottabong District, Vientiane

     
    34/03 Francois Ngin Street, Mixay
    Clothes
    Souvenirs
    Shoes
    Glasses
    …................
     
     
     
    Jewelry
    TALAT SAO MORNING MARKET AND SHOPPING MALL
     
     
     
    Lao Fine Art Handicrafts Jewellery
     
    Talat Sao Mall, Lane Xang Avenue, Vientiane
    Tel: 856 21 285 001

    Opening Hours: 7:00-17:00 (Market stalls tend to close earlier)

     

    550/01 Thatluang Tai Village, Xaysettha District, Vientiane (the shop is not far from the fountain and right next to the Mandarina Antiques Shop and a travel agency.) 

    Buddhist-inspired paintings and knickknacks

    cheap sunglasses
    Beer Lao T-shirts
     
    Night Market
     
    Oot Ni Gallery
     

    Riverside promenade, upstream from the Chao Anouvong statue.

     

    306 Samsenthai Street, Vientiane, not far from the National Cultural Hall

     
     
    LUANG PRABANG
     
    Categories
    Map & locations
    Address
    - Ethnic handicrafts and trinkets

    - Embroidered bags and purses of various sizes and colours

    - Screened ‘Beer Lao’ T-shirts

    - Cotton pants and shirts, bed covers, woven scarves, opium pipes and accessories, paper lanterns

     
     
    Luang Prabang Night Market
     
     
    Ban Lao Natural Products
     
     
    CAMA Crafts
     
    Hmong Market
     
    Lisa Regale
     

    Sivsavangvong Road to where it meets with Settathilat Road

     
    Ban Vat Nong, along the Mekong
     
    Downtown
     
    Sisavangvong Road
     
     

     Ban Xieng Thong 42/4, Luang Prabang

    High quality handcrafted produces

    Caruso Lao
     
    Sakkarine Road, Ban Vat Sene
    Books and coffee
    L’Etranger Books and Tea
     
    Phousi Road, Ban Aphay
     
     
    XIENG KHUOANG

    Phonsavan's local market is right in the centre of town. There's nothing touristy about this market, but it is a great place to pick up some genuine local products to remember your Xieng Khouang travel experience. The best time to visit it would be any morning, before noon, as that is when it's bubbling with activity and also the most fun.

    The market has a large food section and an equally large clothes section. It also sells handicrafts which make for great souvenirs to remember your Xieng Khouang travel experience.

    Phonsavan's market is a great place to pick up items at reasonable prices.

     
    Categories
    Map & locations
    Address
    - Local traditional products
    - Clothes
    - Food
    Phonsavan's local market
    In the center of the town

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