Posted By : Threeland Travel / Laos Travel Guide
Let’s continue with our travel guides to Laos – the majestic country in the Indochina. In the last part, we have shared with you about the overall country information for your preparation, top attractions to visit and our suggested Laos tour package. But Laos is much more beautiful and diverse to only sum up in one blog. So in this part, we will pick up the travel guides with more tips about how to get to/within Laos; how is Laos’ culinary culture; when is the best time to travel to Laos; and what is Laos visa procedure.
Photos: A monks is standing before Tad Yuang Waterfall
a. International Connection:
The fastest way to get into Laos is by plane. As Laos has 3 international airports: Vientiane, Luang Prabang and Pakse, when you're going via international connections you'll most likely find it easier to transfer through Bangkok, where is well linked to all 3 airports. Lao Airlines and a few others, including Thai Airways, Bangkok Airways (to Luang Prabang only), and Vietnam Airlines can be for your best suggested airlines. Aside from Bangkok, you can take a direct flight from Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and many Chinese cities.
You can travel on land via the borders of 4 countries: Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam & China.
* From Thailand, where having the most available checkpoints:
- Via Chiang Mai: An alternate bus route from Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang is available with overnight busses heading to east Thailand's Nan province and then crossing the Laos border near Hong Sa. This link receives well-supported roads.
- Via Chiang Rai, North Thailand: You will need to go to the Chiang Khong border crossing in north Thailand to reach Laos via Chiang Rai. Past the golden triangle you reach Laos over the Mekong.
- Via Udon Thani to Vientiane: You can also take a train or bus to and from Udon Thani to Laos via Udon Thani and to Vientiane: You can easily make your way from here to Nong Khai, Laos' Thai border city. You'll have to cross the Friendship Bridge into Laos's capital Vientiane.
- Travelling to Southern Laos: You will have to enter Laos via Ubon Ratchanthani in Thailand and transfer to the border town of Chong Mek if you want to connect to southern Laos. This border town will take you to the city of Pakse in southern Lao. Daily buses operate to this location.
* From Cambodia: The closest city in Cambodia is Stung Treng, and a 90-minute speedboat or bus ride away from the border. The Dong Crorlor entry point in Cambodia can also be crossed into Laos. There are buses which will link up to the border from Phnom Penh. However, during the rainy season (June to October) this path may be slightly more difficult.
* From Vietnam: Aside from having direct flights, Hanoi, Hue, Hoi An, Saigon and other cities offer good bus connections into Laos. Visa on arrival to Laos is possible at most ports / border points.
* From China: The land crossing between Mengla (Yunnan) and Boten (Laos) is open to foreigners and the regular bus service runs from Mengla to Luang Namtha and Udomxai. Busses from Mengla to Luang Namtha depart from Mengla's North Bus Station.
Photo: Laos Airlines - the national carrier of Laos
b. Domestic Connection:
By bus: From Vientiane to Luang Prabang you can find regular busses and even night busses that run overnight with air conditioning. The ride from Vientiane to Luang Prabang is lovely and takes about 8-9 hours to complete. It takes around 8-9 hours for the night bus from Pakse to Vientiane too. If you're coming from Vang Vieng, you will find regular 'mini buses' heading up north to Luang Prabang or Vientiane. This trip will take about 6 hours to complete.
By boats: One of the most famous ways of exploring Laos is through a 2-day boat on the Mekong River between Luang Prabang and Huay Xai. Laos has more than 4,600 kilometers of navigable rivers, with the Mekong, Nam Khan, Nam Ou, Nam Ngum, Nam Tha, and Se Kong main thoroughfares. The Mekong is by far the most popular route between Huay Xai and Savannakhet and it is passable all year round. Whether you're traveling on a tourist boat or on a local boat, there's still at least one river excursion worth experiencing during your visit to Laos.
Photo: Bus Connection between Vientiane and Pakse
2. WHAT TO EAT:
Lao cuisine is closely related to Thai food, and many of the same traditional dishes they eat. You can opt to take a cooking class in Laos if you want to know more about the local cuisine. Alternatively, we mentioned below some of our favorite Laotian foods as well.
- Sticky rice (Khao Niaw): Rice is prevalent throughout Asia, but especially sticky rice is common in Laos. It's the perfect accompaniment to any dish served at most meals, sometimes in tiny woven baskets.
- Laab (flavored meat salad): Cooked with lime juice, garlic and other herbs, this "salad" meat can be made from almost any meat, including beef, pork, duck and fish. This is one of the most popular dishes in Lao that worth a try anywhere you go.
- Papaya Salad: This dish is made from raw, unripe papaya, fish sauce and a number of additional meat and vegetables. For a cold salad this dish is a little salty and spicy
Photo: Laab - flavored meat salad
3. USEFUL TIPS:
a. Best time to travel:
The best time to visit Laos is from October till April. This is when the weather is constantly warm and dry at the region. It's the high season, too, so you can expect bigger crowds of tourists. Furthermore, the hottest months tend to be in April and May, with temperatures as high as 40 ° C. At this time the humidity can be very unpleasant. Lastly, The rainy season stretches from late May through to October. It is always an enjoyable time to stay. Because the rainfall never lasts long each day, so the waterfalls water are higher, and the wildlife gets more involved, which can be an interesting choice for your adventure tour in Laos.
Photo: Peaceful sunset in 4000 Islands
It's pretty easy to get a visa to Laos. When arriving at the border/immigration office at the airport, you need to fill out a questionnaire, pay the stamp fee, wait and get a tourist visa of 30 days upon arrival. Although some countries in Africa and the Middle East have to apply for visas in advance, most other countries can get visas when they arrive. Especially, ASEAN countries, Japan, Switzerland, Russia and South Korea are allowed get a 30-day free visa upon arrival. The tourist visa costs from $30 to $42, depending on where you come from or with an additional $1-$2 If you don't have a passport-sized photo with you.
Photo: Si Phan Don Cruise
That sums up our complete guide for your next Laos tour package! We hope that the second part of our travel blog, regarding the transportation tips, Laos food suggestions, best travel period and visa procedure, will be helpful for your preparation . If you want a jump-start for the trip and have a vacation with ease to Laos, we can help you to build a thorough travel itinerary, book all the services. Please leave us a message in the Tour Request button below, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!