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A passport valid up to 6 months beyond your travel date and a tourist visa are required for entry into Laos. A tourist visa is valid for up to 15 days and can be extended while in-country. To obtain a visa directly through the Lao Embassy or a travel agency, you will need two completed visa application forms along with two passport-size photos. Visa processing takes approximately 7–10 working days. You may also obtain a visa upon on arrival at Vientiane’s Wattay International Airport.

The local currency is the Kip. Credit cards are not generally accepted although major hotels and restaurants accept Visa and American Express. Traveler’s checks and currencies other than US dollars are accepted only at major banks. We recommend you bring small denominations and clean notes with you. Use the currency converter to help you quickly calculate your exchange amount.

The cool dry season is from November to February. A sweater or jacket is recommended during the cool season as nights may be cold, especially in the mountainous areas including Luang Prabang and the Plain of Jars. The hot season is from February to April followed by the rainy season from May to October. The best time to visit is between November and March when it rains the least and it is not overbearingly hot.

Monthly Maximum Temperatures (F)
Weather in Laos

No vaccinations are officially required to visit Laos. However, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that visitors have up–to–date inoculations for polio, meningitis, hepatitis A&B, tuberculosis, TABT (typhoid, paratyphoid A&B and tetanus), cholera, malaria, and Japanese encephalitis. In addition, we suggest you contact your personal physician or clinic specializing in international travel. Of course, travelers should bring any prescription medications (in the original containers) currently required. Travelers should pack a small medical kit which includes sunscreen, insect repellent, diarrhea medication, ibuprofen or aspirin and antibacterial ointments. For those who wear eyeglasses, it is recommended that an extra pair be taken, as the quality of local replacement services varies. It is strongly suggested that you have a dental check-up before departure. Medical care facilities are available but are limited and can be expensive for emergency care. For more updated information, visit the CDC web site.

The staple diet for local people is rice and fish. Vientiane has a selection of international cuisine to choose from including French, Indian and Italian. All fruits and vegetables should be cooked or peeled. Drinking tap water or ice is NOT recommended. Bottled water is available (remember to check the seal).

Laos has numerous festivals that are generally linked to agricultural seasons or the Buddhist holidays. The biggest festival is the Lao Lunar New Year which begins in mid-April. Other celebrated holidays include International Labor Day (May 1), Boun Bang Fai (celebrating the birth, enlightenment, and death of the Buddha) in May or June, That Luang Festival (November during a full moon), and Lao National Day (December 2).

GMT +7 hours or +12 hours for EST (subtract 1 hour for daylight savings)

220V, 50Hz

Visit the US State Department site for the most current travel advisory.

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