Part of the Mekong Delta, Laos is renowned for its mountainous terrain, and its mixture of French colonial architecture and strong Buddhist traditions and monasteries. A little more off-the-beaten track, Laos nonetheless has much to offer: underground river caves, white-water rapids and jungle ziplines for thrill-seekers, miles of pristine forests home to rare creatures for nature lovers to trek through, fabulous cuisine for foodies, and the world-heritage town of Luang Prabang, the famous Plain of Jars and ancient ruins of the Wat Phou complex are enough to whet the appetite of any culture vulture or history buff!
Key Facts Before You Go
- Capital: Vientiane
- Currency: Lao kip
- Time Difference: Laos follows Indochina Standard Time throughout the year, which is 6 hours AHEAD of BST and 7 hours AHEAD of GMT
- Flight Time: There are no direct flight routes into Laos. The quickest one-stop route to Luang Prabang is via Bangkok with 16 hours and 45 minutes' flying time. Flights to Vientiane are from 14 hours and 15 minutes (via Bangkok).
- Official Language: Lao
- Entry Requirements: Visas are required for entry and can be obtained on arrival for a fee (you will need to provide a passport photo), or in advance of travel either from the Lao Embassy in London, or if already in the region, you can get a long-stay visa from the Lao Embassy in Bangkok or Hanoi, or apply for an e-visa online. You can only apply for an e-visa if flying into Vientiane or Luang Prabang airports, or via Friendship Bridge 1 from Nong Khai. Always ensure that get an entry stamp in your passport upon arrival. For the most up to date visa requirements, contact the nearest Lao Embassy or Consulate. Your passport must also have a minimum of six months' validity from date of entry - and many airlines will only allow you to board a plane to Laos if you have at least two blank pages in your passport.
- Vaccinations and Health: You should always ensure that you travel with adequate travel health insurance. For up-to-date information, please check this website (as recommended by the Foreign Office): https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/country/124/laos#Vaccine_recommendations. If vaccinations are required, it is generally advisable to arrange an appointment with a health professional four to six weeks before departure.
General information on travel vaccinations can be found on the NHS website: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/travel-vaccinations/
To find out more, and for the most up-to-date advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/laos
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