1. Visa requirements. I’m from the UK and I could get my visa on arrival in Laos. There will be different entry requirements for citizens of different countries, so do lots of research well in advance and find out what you need to do.
2. Vaccinations and malaria. You can search for malaria maps online to check the areas you’re going to, and ask your doctor which vaccinations you’ll need.
3. Take US dollars. It’s useful to have some American dollars with you when travelling in South-East Asia because they’re accepted in many places. I used dollars to buy my visa entry on arrival.
4. Safety. I didn’t feel unsafe at all in Laos, but I would recommend the usual common sense with looking after your belongings.
5. Be respectful. Laos is known for “tubing” – where people float down a river on inflatable tubes and stop at bars along the way. When I visited Vang Vieng, there were lots of signs asking people to dress appropriately and behave respectfully. It’s possible to have a good time while also being respectful to the locals.
6. Be careful when tubing. The tubing craze has decreased a great deal since the Laos Government cracked down on it a few years ago. If you are going to go tubing, be careful. Getting drunk and heading into a river is clearly very dangerous. Tourists are injured and killed while tubing, so look after yourself!
7. Learn the history. I knew very little about Laos before I visited, and I had no idea about its history relating to the Vietnam War. The COPE centre is a great place to learn more about this.
8. Land mines. Laos is the most heavily bombed country in the world, relative to its size, due to being caught up in the Vietnam War. As a result, there are still unexploded bombs all over the country. This is something to be aware of if you’re planning on heading off the beaten path.
9. Don’t show the soles of your feet. This is considered extremely disrespectful in Laos. If you’re on a long bus or boat journey and you want to relax or sleep, don’t point the soles of your feet at the driver.
10. Get physical! The landscape in Laos is so unique and beautiful. I’d advise you make the most of it with lots of the outdoor activities on offer. I kayaked in Vang Vieng and it felt like I was in Jurassic Park.
Thank you for taking a look at this post. I hope you found something useful in it! If you have any great tips for travelling in Laos, please let me know in the comments. If you’d like to share this post on Pinterest, feel free to use the image below. xx