Ways & How

How to Travel to Laos

How to Travel to Laos

Laos, which is generally considered to be one of the poorest nations in Southeast Asia, is a mountainous, land-locked country. It is bordered by Vietnam to the east, Thailand to the west, Cambodia to the south, and Myanmar and China to the north. Still, it is a country that is incredibly rich in culture and diversity; even though it has a relatively small population, it is home to 49 ethnic groups or tribes. Its most popular destination is Vientiane, a cosmopolitan village that has a lot of charm. Since Laos shares borders with no less than five countries, there are a number of ways to get there. Here’s how to travel to Laos:

  1. Citizens of Russia, Japan, Switzerland, and ASEAN nations such as Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines do not need a visa to get into Laos. All other travelers need a visa issued by a Lao consulate or embassy.

  2. Most tourists can simply get a visa upon arrival at the major airports or borders. The fee for tourist visas depends on your nationality and ranges between $30 and $45.



    It is also possible to apply for a visa in advance; you can directly apply at the nearest Lao embassy or consulate in the country where you are presently staying, or you can ask your travel agency to do it for you. Take note that on some routes to Laos, such as the bus that goes from Khon Kaen (Thailand) into Vientiane, you will not be able to buy a ticket without presenting an issued visa first.

  3. As with most countries, your passport needs to be valid for at least six months from the date of your arrival in Laos; you also need at least one blank page for every country border you will cross.

  4. If you’re not in one of the countries that border Laos, the easiest way to get there is by plane. You can book a flight to Bangkok, Thailand, and then continue into Laos territory via another plane, or by train or bus. There are several major airlines that fly into Bangkok, but airfare prices tend to fluctuate throughout the year.

  5. From Bangkok, you can catch a shuttle service, which will take you to the train station that travels at night; it connects to Tha Naleng near Vientiane. There are also flights that land directly at the international airports in Vientiane and Luang Prabang.

  6. Bus services are also available when entering through different border countries. However, take note that foreigners are not allowed to cross the border between Laos and Myanmar. Some entry points in Thailand do not issue visas upon arrival, for example, Nam Hueng/Tha Li and Paksan/Bueng Kan. To get through these, make sure that you have applied for a visa in advance.

  7. Biking is one of the most popular modes of transportation in Laos, and they do not object to foreigners bringing in their own vehicles. One of the most pleasant and straightforward routes to get into Laos on a motorbike is at the border crossing at Tay Trang, Vietnam.

Many people who have been to Laos say that it is a rather sleepy place, but that is what makes it appealing to the increasing number of tourists every year. One of the things you have to remember when figuring out how to travel to Laos is to be prepared for any delays or hold-ups on your trip. Plan a leisurely pace, in keeping with the local way of life. It also pays to familiarize yourself with the customs and norms. For instance, public displays of affection, speaking loudly in public, or sitting with the feet up are seen as examples of poor manners. Also remember to respect personal space: ask permission before taking anyone’s picture, never touch anyone’s head unless you know them intimately, and refrain from touching the robes of the monks you will chance to meet (and you will meet many in Laos). Knowing things like this will help you to be prepared and informed, which will go a long way towards helping you to get the most enjoyment out of your trip to Laos.

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