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.

 

LAOS EXCLUSIVE CLASSIC TOUR 

 

TOUR CODE: VI-1903

 


 
VIENTIANE - LUANG PRABANG
Private tour, daily departure
English/French speaking guide

 

 

DAY 01: VIENTIANE -ARRIVAL (-/-/-)
Meet on arrival and welcome to Vientiane, the city of the moon – an ancient city, situated on the bend on the left bank of the Mekong as the largest city and the capital of Laos. Transfer to hotel for check-in.
In the afternoon, we take a sightseeing tour of Vientiane, to visit religious museums of Wat Sisaket, the oldest temple to have been survived from the Siamese war of 1828 and its cloister contains more than 8000 Buddha statues; Wat Ho Prakeo, the former home-temple of the Emerald Buddha statue or Pra Keo, but today it contains a collection of Buddha statues, antiques and all artifacts found in around Vientiane; That Luang Stupa, the single most important monument in Laos, which was built to cover the original small stupa containing a piece of the chest bone of Buddha; Patouxay, built quite recently in commemoration of those who died during the wars in the past and it is today as the land-mark of Vientiane.

 

DAY 02: VIENTIANE - LUANG PRABANG (B, L)
Breakfast at hotel, if time permits, we will visit the Morning Market, the biggest shopping center in Vientiane. we depart to Wattay airport for departure to Luang Prabang, the ancient first capital of Lane Xang kingdom, the center of religious life in Laos and today the World Heritage City. Arrive in Luang Prabang and transfer to our hotel for check-in.
In the afternoon, we take a sightseeing tour of the sacred city of temples, of which nearly fifty temples still remain in the town and surrounding areas. Visit Wat Visoun, the 16th century temple served as a small museum for religious artifacts; Wat Aham, the early 19th century temple, whose two guardian figures at the foot of the steps which represent two characters from the Ramayana – Hanuman, the Monkey God and a fierce Yaksa; Wat Xiengthong, the 16th century temple which, more than any temples in Luang Prabang, epitomizes all the elegance and grace of Luang Prabang architecture; Phousi Hill, the 328 steps leads to the summit of Phousi hill that dominates the sky-line of Luang Prabang overlooking the finest panoramic view in the whole Luang Prabang.

 

DAY 03: LUANG PRABANG - PAK OU CAVE (B/L/-)
Following breakfast, we depart hotel to the boat landing, and take an excursion by boat, upstream on the Mekong to visit Pak Ou cave in the side of a lime stone cliff and opposite of the mouth of the Mekong and Ou rivers. The sanctuaries at Pak Ou consist of two large caves, both repositories for thousands of Buddha images, which range from mere centimeter to two meters in height.
En route, Lao typical villages are barely visible behind a screen of foliage. Slender canoes bobbing by the shore, bamboo poles and floats mark the location of nets and fish traps. Our first stop will be at Ban Muangkeo, a well-known village for Lao traditional rice whisky, namely Laoh-Khao to be distilled. We are welcome to taste it and also take away. Lunch is served at a riverside restaurant. 
We arrive back at Luang Prabang in late afternoon, and continue to drive outskirt of town to visit Ban Xangkhong, a well-known village for its wood paper making and also Lao silk weavings with natural dyes.

 

DAY 04: LUANG PRABANG - KUANGSI WATERFALL (B/L/-)
An morning breakfast, before we take a drive (30 km South) to visit Kuangsi Waterfall, which, though not very high, is spectacular and really beautiful with its green surroundings as the preserved National park. We stop en-route, stop to visit a fresh produced market namely Talad Phosy, and also visit Ban Na Oune, a small village of a hill-tribe group “Hmong”, probably the best-known minority group in Laos. Just before arriving at Kuangsi waterfall, there is another village of Khmu minority group, namely Ban Tha Pane that we will visit. Our picnic lunch is served at the shady park nearby Kuangsi waterfall. There is plenty of time for relaxing and a swim in cool water, before we head back to Luang Prabang in the late afternoon. The rest of the day is spent by visiting various craft-shops, including silver smiths’ and also Hmong market in town, where some skilled embroidery-works of Hmong ladies can be seen.

 

DAY 05: LUANG PRABANG -DEPARTURE (B/-/-)
After breakfast, we depart hotel to visit the National Museum, the former Royal Palace which houses the collection of valuables including the famous Prabang Buddha statue, gifts received from foreign dignitaries, if time permits, the rest of the day is spent free for own experience in this charming town, till transfer to Luang Prabang airport for departure to next destination.

 


Valid from 01-Apr-2015 to 30-Sep-2015

All prices are per person

 

1 pax

2 pax

   

Standard (2 star)

$955

$580

   

Superior (3 star)

$1195

$690

   
First (4 star)  $1495 $850    

 

 

Valid from 01-Oct-2014 to 31-Mar-2015

All prices are per person

 

1 pax

2 pax

   

Standard (2 star)

$955

$600

   

Superior (3 star)

$1195

$710

   
First (4 star)  $1495 $870

 

Price includes

  • Accommodation in sharing a double room.
  • Pick-ups and transfers by private air-conditioned vehicle as specified in the itinerary above
  • Domestic flight tickets: Vientiane - Luang Prabang including domestic airport taxes.
  • Boat cruises as specified in the programme.
  • Travel in an appropriate private air-conditioned vehicle with an experienced safe driver.
  • The services of experienced English/French - speaking guides as indicated in the itinerary
  • Where necessary, entry fees for all visits as mentioned in the programme.
  • Meals as per itinerary.
  • VAT and other taxes
Price excludes
  • International flight tickets and airport tax to Vientaine and from Luang Prabang.
  • Visas
  • Drinks, gratuities and personal expenses.
  • Camera fees (if any)
  • Diving fees
  • Insurance.
Hotels used for Standard class
City Hotel & room type Website
Vientaine B&P hotel, standard room with windows www.bp-hotel.com
Luang Prabang Ancient Luang Prabang hotel www.ancientluangprabang.com

Hotels used for Superior class
City Hotel & room type Website
Vientaine Novotel www.novotel.com
Luang Prabang Villa Maydou hotel http://www.villamaydou.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