SMALL GROUP DEPARTURES
- Highlights of Indochina, 13 days
- Laos & Cambodia Experience, 14 days
- Laos Experience - Classic, 8 days
STAYS OF DISTINCTION
Wat Phou Temples
THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
WHAT TO EXPECT IN LAOS
Expect a new travel experience. Expect streets to be quite busy with bicycles and motorcycles, but a pace that you associate more readily with a country town. Expect peacefulness and a more relaxed and simple way of life. Expect a less developed country with a sense of timelessness, and things to happen in their own time. Experiences that will create fond memories that will stay with you forever.
Experiences such as rising at dawn in Luang Prabang to watch hundreds of saffron robed monks move silently through the streets to collect alms (daily offerings of food). Participating in a traditional Basi blessing ceremony, where a village elder calls on guardian spirits to protect and watch over you. For those that like to see handicrafts – witnessing delicate traditional fabrics being hand woven on looms that have remain unchanged for decades. Enjoying delicious Laotian and international cuisine or sipping freshly ground Laotian coffee from a street side vendor. When it's time to take a break, watching the sun set over the Mekong while sipping a cold drink from a table on its banks. Expect the unexpected, but expect to fall in love with Laos!
PASSPORTS & VISAS
Buddha Park, Vientiane
Tourist Visas are available upon arrival at both international airports for US$20 cash, and US$25 cash for a business visa. Travellers will need two passport-size photos, a passport which is valid for at least 6 months and has at least one completely blank visa page remaining. If you don't have a passport photo at visa on arrival in Phnom Penh airport (and possibly other entry points), they will scan in the one on your passport for an extra $2. Often on weekends and Public Holidays and extra USD$ 1 overtime fee will be charged. Alternatively tourists can apply for a 30 day 'visitor visa' in advance through Laos Embassies and Consulates abroad
WHEN TO TRAVEL:
The monsoonal influence results in three main seasons, however, there can be temperature variation depending on which part of the country you are visiting:
Wet season: - July to October
Rains can begin as early as May. Extensive road travel may be difficult during the height of the rainy season, especially in the remoter areas. Temperatures average around 25 degrees in the highlands/valleys and 29 degrees in the lowlands so quite pleasant. This can be a good time to visit Laos as it is the low season, so reduced rates can often be obtained and there are fewer tourists.
Dry Season: - November to February
This is the high season and is generally the favoured time for travelers when there is little rain and temperatures are not so high. In Luang Prabang and the Northern region you can expect to need a warm jacket to keep warm during the chilly evenings and mornings. Daytime temperatures are generally mild but it can start to heat up in mid February.
Hot Season: - March - June
April tends to be the hottest month with temperatures reaching the mid 30 degree plus mark. During March and April the northern areas can at times be shrouded in smoke, as local farmers practice 'slash and burn' form of agriculture.
All visitors should have inoculations for the following diseases: Cholera, Typhoid, Hepatitis A/B and Malaria. It is advised to drink boiled or bottled water.
Tourists are permitted to import the following items duty free: 500 cigarettes; 2 bottles of alcoholic beverages; a reasonable quantity of perfume. Personal effects of a reasonable quantity. All cash must be declared.
The official currency is the Lao Kip although US$ are accepted.
POPULATION & LANGUAGE
Laos has over 6 million residents; Lao Loum (lowland) 68%, Lao Theung (upland) 22%, Lao Soung (highland) including the Hmong and the Yao 9%, ethnic Vietnamese/Chinese 1%. The official language is Lao.
Telephones can be found in all major hotels. Long distance telephone calls are very expensive. It is advisable to make collect calls or have people call you in Laos.
Limited acceptance. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travellers are advised to take travellers checks in US$.