You should bring a money-belt to safely carry your travel documents and cash. Bring photo-copies of your passport and visa, plus some extra passport-sized photos if you’re applying for on-arrival visa. When flying out or within the region, you will probably be given baggage claim tags (they will be stuck in to the back of your ticket or on the cover of your passport). Keep these, as you will need to show them when check out the airport.
CLOTHING & LAUNDRY
Since Laos has two seasons distinctively, sunglasses, a hat, t-shirts, shorts, long trousers, some light-weight, long-sleeved tops, a light jacket and rain-resistant will get you through most trips. But if you plan to visit more to the mountain in the winter (Jan), then you’ll need a warm coat. If trekking is on your agenda, you will need sturdy footwear, plus lots of socks. As Luang Prabang and Phnom Penh offer upscale bars and restaurants, so be sure to pack some clothes and dress shoes for a nice evening out. Local laundry services are available, inexpensive and advisable in many towns, usually near the hotels and within a day service.
To some extends, Laos is still a sleeping country then you would be wise to pack travel camaraderie’s like sunscreen, films, contact lens solution, tampons and mosquito repellent, as well as prescribed medication. Many kinds of medicines are available in Phnom Penh and LuangPrabang without prescriptions, but they might not be as of that good quality like home. If you travel with a companion or with family, should it be a nice idea to cross-pack, i.e., pack half of your belongings in to other’s suitcase and vice versa. Just in case any baggage delayed might happen.
BOOKS & COPIES
Reading materials may be hard to find, especially in less-touristy areas, so bring some good books. Many locals book stores and street vendors also offer cheap copies but check it out to make sure the printing is eligible or not. While cheap, counterfeit CDs are tempting, remember that you may face trouble when you bring these illegal copies home.
Laos paved the smooth way for its travel industry by providing easy and fast visa upon arrival. Visitors who enter Laos at the Wattay Airport in Vientiane or via the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge at Nong Khai may obtain 30-day tourist visa on arrival, the cost of which is varying from US$ 30 to US$ 40 applied to different nationalities. Remember to bring American cash for your visa payment and a passport-sized photo.
The Laos Aviation is pretty strict on lugguage weight, a popular 20kg (44 pounds) regulation is applied for all flights out and within Laos. Surcharge for over weight is approx 30 cents/kg. Carry-on bags should weight less than fifteen pounds and have a size limit of 9 X 14 X 22 inches.
When you fly out of Laos or within country’s routes, locking the duffel bags or suitcases is legal and advisable.
Except for some remote southern-tip parts sharing border with Vietnam, other destinations in Laos are worry-free for malaria though the following immunizations are still recommended for travelers. Consult your doctor or local health department to discuss which shots you need:
– Diphtheria and tetanus: Combined vaccinations for these two diseases are usually given in childhood and should be boosted every ten years.
– Hepatitis A: Vaccination provides immunity for up to ten years and involves an initial injection followed by another six months to one year later.
-Typhoid: Vaccination takes the form of an injection or capsules.
– Rabies: People making longer trips to remote areas should consider rabies vaccination, which involves three injections over a period of three to four weeks.
– Japanese B Encephalitis: People on trips of a month or more to areas suffering from recent outbreaks should consider getting this vaccine, which involves three shots over one month.
The Laotian currency, the Kip is worth about 8.050 to the US Dollar. While US Dollars are widely accepted, cashing traveller’s cheques is difficult outside Vientiane and Luang Prabang. ATMs are just arriving recently and not yet widespread. If you have a debit card, you can withdraw cash at this bank for a 3.5 percent commission. Better still, traveler should bring enough cash to cover your stay.
Laos has 220V, 50Hz electricity. As both two-prong and flat pins are in use, you would be wise to bring an adaptor.
MOBILE & TELEPHONE
Laos uses a GSM mobile phone network and it is of easy to get the prepaid sim-kit for your cell phone. You can place international phone calls and send faxes at post offices or at most hotels, although hotels often charge extra fees. Local public phones require phone card, which is available in many stationary shops. Calling internationally from local post offices is inexpensive, approx 25 cents/min.
To call: 00 – your country code – area code – your number.
Internet access in Laos is either broad band or wireless though the service many a time is not permanent and good quality. High-end hotels offer good wireless service while local internet shops are cheap and slow.
SHOPPING & SHIPPING
If you go shopping in Laos, bargaining is necessary and actually full of funs. It is also recommended to check prices of the same items in the neighborhood shop before coming to a deal. If you choose to ship items home, we highly recommend that you buy shipping insurance and check the policy details. As shops are not responsible for damages incurred en route, it is better to be safe than sorry. The night bazzard in Luang Prabang should never be missed.
High-end restaurants will often add a service charge of five to ten percent to the bill. While tips are not expected in more casual restaurants and bars, they appreciated with thanks since waiter staffs earn low wages. Indochina Voyages Travel suggests tipping drivers about US$5 – US$ 7 per day, tour guides about US$10 -US$15 per day.