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05

Feb
2021
Visa, Flight and Money – Must-read guides for Indians citizens before travelling to Laos
Posted By : Threeland Travel / Laos Travel Guide

If you are an Indian citizen and want to travel to Laos, this straightforward guide is for you. Everything from getting a Laos visa, the currency to all flights from India to its major cities will be covered. Having knowledge about a destination you are planning to visit is very important, and we will offer you needed information for your upcoming trouble-free Laos Package Tours.

Visa to Laos

VISA TO LAOS FOR INDIAN

For Indian citizens, yes, it is required to apply for a Laos Visa. You have two options of obtaining the visa which are getting a visa at Laos Embassy in India, and getting a Visa on Arrival (VoA), but most visitors choose the later as it is the simpler and faster way.

Laos Visa on Arrival is easy to obtain at all ports of entry including the most popular international airports in Vientiane, Luang Prabang and Pakse; Border Checkpoints between Laos and China, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia. However, from the 1st January 2020 there was no Visa on Arrival entering Laos at these ports:

-    Pang Hok (Phongsaly Province) bordering China.
-    Nam Soy (Huaphanh Province) bordering Vietnam.
-    Nam Kan (Xieng Khouang Province) bordering Vietnam.
-    Nam Ngeun (Xayaboury Province) bordering Thailand.
-    Nam Heuang (Xayaboury Province) bordering Thailand.
-    Nam Phao (Khammouane Province) bordering Vietnam.
-    Na Phao (Khammouane Province) bordering Vietnam.
-    Savannakhet International Airport.
-    Phou Keua (Attapeu Province) bordering Vietnam.

To travel through these borders, you will need get a visa in advance from Lao embassy beforehand. Go to this address with necessary documents and visa application form:

Embassy of Lao People’s Democratic Republic

S-420,  M Block Rd, Block S, Greater Kailsh Part II
New Delhi-110048
Tel: (+9111) 4132 7352 (office)
Fax: (+9111) 4132 7353 (office)
E-mail: laoembdelhi@gmail.com

For arrival by flight and other entry ports, visitors should opt for Visa on Arrival. It is required for the visa applicants to submit the original passport with at least 6 months of remaining validity and a blank page for a visa sticker, two recent passport-style color photographs, and visa application form, filled out and signed by the applicant (available at visa window at Lao ports of entry or given before landing if you are arriving by plane).

Single entry visa fee for Indian citizen is USD 40 and payable in cash only (US dollars or Thai baht).

FLIGHT TO LAOS FROM INDIA

Though it is becoming more convenient to visit Laos by flight, there haven’t been direct flights from any of the major cities of India to Laos yet. However, you can always take international flights to Laos with stopovers to reach your destination.

The major domestic and international airlines catering this route are Jet Airways, Air India, Thai Airways, Shandong Airlines, SriLankan Airlines, Qatar Airways, China Eastern Airlines and Singapore Airlines. For example, you can fly from New Delhi Airport to Wattay Airport in Vientiane, or from Kolkata Airport to Luang Prabang 

If you are travelling from Southeast Asia region and heading to Laos next, non-stop daily flights to Laos are abundant:

-    Thailand (Bangkok & Chiang Mai) – operated by Laos Airlines, Thai Airways or Air Asia;
-    Vietnam (Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city) – operated by Vietnam Airlines and Laos Airlines; 
-    Cambodia (Siem Reap & Phnom Penh) – operated by Vietnam Airlines and Laos Airlines;
-    Singapore – operated by Scoot Air with daily flight, recently launched in 2019 by Laos Airlines with weekly flights; 
-    Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur) – operated by Air Asia with weekly flights. 

CASH IN LAOS

The next thing you might wonder is how to pay for things in Laos and how much should you bring. The Currency of Laos is Lao Kip (LAK) but US dollars and even Thai baht are widely used. As of today, 1 USD equals around 9,000 LAK and 1 INR equals around 117 LAK.

The best way to pay for things in Laos nowadays is still cash. While credit cards are accepted in major cities such as Luang Prabang and Vientiane, you will have trouble getting around without enough cash in hand, for example eating from street vendors or buying at local groceries. In rural or non-touristic areas, it is from extremely difficult to impossible to pay for goods and services by card.

Tuk tuk in Laos

Hence, it is better to prepare a decent amount of cash to bring with you during your Laos package tour. US dollars are commonly accepted in many places Laos, so you are recommended to carry a good mix of dollars and Kip, preferably lower denomination notes.

Small shops, restaurants and street stalls may have a hard time breaking “big money” so having small notes of 5,000, 10,000 and 20,000 Kip will come in handy when buying from these vendors. Pay for small purchases in Kip and save the dollars for medium to larger transactions, for example your Visa fee can be paid in US dollars! 

You can exchange your money by taking USD or Euros with you to banks and money exchangers at the airport or in the city as needed. When it comes to changing your dollars into kip, the exchange rate will be marginally better when changing USD 50 and USD 100 bills than 10s and 20s.

Please be noted that before you leave Laos, remember to change Lao Kip back to an internationally-accepted currency because Kip cannot be used or exchanged outside Laos.

New Year Festival in Laos

If you run out of cash, you can always use ATMs to get more. In recent years, ATMs have sprung up all over Laos and are now available in all but the most remote villages. However, a lot of them charge quite a bit to withdraw cash with no standard price across the country. The solution is to withdraw a larger sum of money in a neighbouring country and exchange it.

Travelling to Laos is fun and worry-free, so follow our blog for more useful guides and tips of Laos Package tours exclusively for Indian travel enthusiasts!