Laos officially the Lao People's Democratic Republic, is a landlocked country in SoutheastAsia, bordered by Burmaand People's Republic of Chinato the northwest, Vietnamto the east, Cambodiato the south and Thailandto the west.  The country has two World Heritage Sites: Luang Prabangand Vat Phou. The government is seeking the same status for the Plain of Jars.  Much of the country lacks adequate infrastructure.

This land-locked mountainous country is gaining a reputation as an tourist destination. Its many rivers flow through the country and natural national parks are ideal for activities such as trekking, kayaking and caving. The capital, Vientiane, and the other major towns have been spared major modern developments with traditional and colonial architecture still dominant.

Vientiane is the capital of Laos. It has an estimated population nearly 700,000 (2007).  The historic Angkor Wat is located in the city of Siem Reap.  Luang Prabang is the ‘Jewel of the Mekong.  It is surroundedby mountains and is  situated at the meeting of the Mekong and Khan rivers, and reflects an atmosphere of remote serenity and informal splendor.

Climate & Weather

Throughout most of the country, the climate is hot and tropical, with the rainy season between May and October when temperatures are at their highest. The dry season runs from November to April, which is the best time to visit as the temperature is at its most comfortable. However, the mountainous areas can be very cold at this time.  Please visit:http://www.wunderground.com for more details on weather.
Customs and Formalities

Travelers to Laos do not have to pay duty on 500 cigarettes or 100 cigars or 500g of tobacco; 2 bottles wine; 1 bottle of other alcohol; and jewelry up to 500g, provided they are from countries not bordering Laos.  Any antique items purchased in other countries must be declared to customs on arrival in Laos.

What to bring

Lightweights and rainwear, with warmer layers from October to March and for upland areas.
Currency, Exchange and ATM

Lao Kip (LAK; symbol ₭) = 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of ₭50,000, 20,000, 10,000, 5,000, 2,000, 1,000, 500, 100, 50, 10, 5 and 1.  Thai Baht and US Dollars are the easiest currencies to exchange. They are also widely accepted in shops, markets and hotels in Vientiane and Luang Prabang.  Major credit cards are accepted in the more upmarket hotels and restaurants only in Vientiane and Luang Prabang.  ATMs are usually not available.

Heath Requirements

You should seek medical advice about vaccinations and endemic diseases at least three weeks prior to departure. There have been Avian Influenza poultry outbreaks in northern Laos provinces. Malaria exists throughout the country except in Vientiane, and typhoid and cholera occur in some areas. A typhoid vaccine is recommended for all travelers except short-term business travelers who will restrict their meals to major restaurants and hotels. Diarrhoea is a problem for many visitors; only drink bottled water and avoid dairy products, uncooked meat and fish, salads and unpeeled fruit. Medical care in Vientiane is extremely basic and outside the capital there are no reliable facilities to deal with medical emergencies. Medical evacuation is difficult to organize and very expensive. Travelers are advised to take out comprehensive medical insurance, and those who have an unstable medical condition should consider not traveling to Laos.

Airport Tax

Usually included in the ticket price.

Internet

Internet cafes are located in the major towns and are becoming increasingly common in places frequented by backpackers. High-speed connection is only available in places such as Vientiane and Luang Prabang.

Language

The official language is Lao; however, many tribal languages are also spoken. French, Vietnamese and some English are spoken.

Local Time and Working Hour

Local Time: GMT + 7.

Banking hours: Monday – Friday  08:30am – 4:00pm

Shopping hours: Vary but generally Monday to Saturday from 9:00am – 5:00pm
Passport and Visa

Australians must have a passport valid for six months and a visa is required.  A 15-day visa on arrival is now available for nationals arriving at Vientiane International Airport, Luang Prabang International Airport. Visas are not extendable.   A one-month visit visa is available from the Laos embassy provided the applicant has a guarantor in Laos.  The cost is US$30 for on arrival visa and US$50 for a visit or business visa.

Food

Dishes are a blend of Thai, Vietnamese and Chinese in flavor and presentation. The cheapest and easiest way to sample Lao food is from the stalls in the markets.  The national specialties are sticky rice, Lao-styled papaya salad and white rice noodle soup served with beef.  The national drink is rice whisky.

Post and Telecommunications

Country code: 856. The General Post Office (GPO) offers public telephones for national and international calls.  Roaming agreements exist with a few international mobile phone companies. Check with your service provider. Coverage is sporadic and mainly situated around Vientiane.  The General Post Office (GPO) is located beside the Morning Market in Vientiane.

Electricity

220 volts AC, 50Hz. Two-pin flat or round plugs are in use.

Shopping

The markets in Vientiane and Luang Prabang are worth visiting. Silk, cotton fabrics, wood carvings, pottery, silver jewelry and handmade shirts are excellent buys. Lao sarongsand hill tribe bags are a popular souvenir.  The shopping hours vary but generally they are Monday to Saturday from 9:00am – 5:00pm

Bargaining & Tipping

Tipping is not customary, however a modest tip in return for good service is appreciated.  Although the majority of shops have fixed prices, bargaining is still advisable for many items.


All of the above information is accurate at the time of publication.

 

FROM SI PHAN DON TO BOLAVEN PLATEAU
a journey to discover the wonder of Mekong river

 

(Pakse, Champasak, Si Phan Don & Bolave, Laos PDR)
Private tour, daily departure
English/French speaking guide
Meals BF basis except one lunch at Bolaven
Trip code: VI-1904

 



Day 1:  Arrival Pakse – Champasak – Khong island (no meals)
Upon arrival we drive and travel on a wonderful local ferry over the Mekong River to Champasak. Here we visit the sacred Khmer temple of Wat Phu. This complex represents the most eastern border of the Khmer Empire in the 4th centenary. Later in the afternoon we take a scenic drive and ferry boat to Don Khong. This island is one of the larger permanently inhabited islands in the ‘Si pan don’ area. Dong Khong is best explored by bicycle. A reasonable dirt road circumvents the island

Day 2: Khon Phapheng en Liphi falls (B)
By boat we’ll explore the 4000 islands area (si pan don). Here, the Mekong river is at its widest. During the rainy season it is up to 12 km across. When the waters recede, many small islands emerge. It is from this phenomenon that the region takes its name. From far distance you can hear the unmistakable roar of the Khone Phapheng and Li Phi falls, which we will visit today. Nearby the falls live some hundred Irrawaddy freshwater dolphins. Ban Hang Khon is one of the rare places on earth to spot these endangered mammals. Also see the old locomotive, railway and colonial bridge built by the French to avoid navigating on the rapids and waterfalls that abound on this section of theMekong. Overnight at Khong Island 

Day 3: Khong Island – Bolaven Plateau (B)
After breakfast we take a ferry boat and vehicle we leave early morning to drive to the Bolaven Plateau. On the way we will visit Phasuam the mixing minorities villages and the coffee plantation before the Bolaven plateau.
We overnight at our resort near the Tad Lo waterfall.

Day 4: Bolaven Plateau – Pakse (B/L)
For those feeling active, it is possible to enjoy the elephant riding and visiting the villages in this area before we return to Pakse  After lunch we drive to Pakse. Continue to your hotel for check-in

Day 5: Pakse – Bangkok or Siem Reap (B)
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for the flight to Bangkok


Valid from 01-Apr-2015 to 30-Sep-2015

All prices are per person

 

Single

Twin

 

Standard (2 star)

$1400

$800

 

 

 

Valid from 01-Oct-2014 to 31-Mar-2015

All prices are per person

 

Single

Twin

 

Standard (2 star)

$1400

$820

 

Supplement for airfare Pakse to Siem Reap at $145 per person (price is subject to change)
Supplement for airfare Pakse to Bangkok at $190 per person (price is subject to change)


Price inclusive
-  All transfer and sightseeing stated in programme by private A/C transportation.
-  English/French speaking local guide from Day 01 - Day 05.
-  Accommodation in DBL/TWN sharing room with ABF.
-  Entrance fees during guided time
-  Boat trip from Khong Island to Ban Khone
-  Elephant riding in Tad Lo
-  Mineral water and wet wipe.
-  All admission fees and Goverment taxes.

Price exclusive
- International airfare from/to with tax.
- On arrival Laos visa fee.
- Personal expense such as: telephone, laundry and bar bill.
- Boat to see dolphin at Ban Hang Khone
- Bank charge.
- Bank transfer.
- Personal travel insurance.
- Tips and gratuity
- All drinks. 

Hotels used
 

City/town Hotel & room type Website
Khong Island Pon Arena hotel (river view room) www.ponarenahotel.com
Bolaven Tad Lo Saixe Resort (standard room) Not available
Pakse Champasak Palace hotel (standard room) www.champasakpalacehotel-pakse.com

 
A:Available - This tour is available for booking.
R:On Request - This tour is on request only
All prices are per person.
If you are interested, please contact your local agent to make the booking or alternatively email us at reservations@toursite.com.au