The Lao People's Democratic Republic is located in South
East Asia at the centre of the Indochinese Peninsula
between latitude 14-23 degrees north and longitude 100-108
Laos has an eastern border of 1,957 km with the Socialist
Republic of Vietnam, a western border of 1,730 km with the
Kingdom of Thailand, a southern border of 492 km with the
Kingdom of Cambodia a northern border of 416 km with the
People's Republic of China and a North Western border of
230 km with the Union of Myanmar. Total area of Laos is
236,800 square kilometers, three quarters of which is
mountainous and forest-covered 40 % while the country is
rich in natural resources, such as mineral deposits,
including 1 billion tons of high quality iron are between
60-70%, lead, gold, tin and 8200-8232 calorie/gram coal.
Although the Lao P.D.R. has no direct access to the sea,
it has the Mekong River, which is the main river of the
country flowing north to south. In addition, there are
many branch rivers, which nourish agriculture. Laos’s
people use it as a power source, which supplies
hydroelectric of over 18,000 MW from 57 dams.
The Population of the Lao P.D.R. is estimated at 4,581,128
(1995) and population density remains one of the lowest in
the region at 19 persons per square kilometer with a
population increase rate of 2.64 %. The Lao population is
ethnically diverse with up to 68 different ethnic groups
identified inhabiting the country, with various languages,
cultures and traditions which are classified into three
groups: The Lao Loam, who occupy the lowlands plains and
the Mekong River valley, and constitute about 56% of the
total population; the Lao Thing, who occupy the mountain
slopes, comprising about 34% of the population, and the
high mountain Lao, constituting about 9% of the total
population, and one per cent foreigners.
Passport & Visa
Visa is required by all nationalities. Visa is usually
delivered by Lao Embassies who require the original
passport and 2 photos for two full working days in order
to stamp the visa. If the visa is arranged by Asean Travel
& Tours upon the client request, the personal data ( full
name, passport number with date of issuance and expiry,
date and place of birth, nationality) must be supplied to
us at least 14 days before arrival to Laos. Visas obtained
upon arrival at Wattay Vientiane airport and Friendship
Bridge is quoted US$ 30 per person. However, the procedure
of getting visa will be change from time to time.
Customes & Formalities
The regulations are now more favourable for travelers
arriving by air in Wattay Vientiane airport. Passengers
should have completed immigration and customs declaration
forms during the flights and must submit these on
The local currency is the KIP. The exchange rate at the
time of updating is approximately 9,800 KIP to one US.
Dollar. Travelers can make an exchange either at licensed
exchange shops in the major cities or at their hotel.
While paying in Laos, traveler cheques and other
currencies than U.S.Dollars are only accepted by major
banks. Thus, It is best to carry US Dollar bills in small
Laos can be visited throughout the year. The dry or cool
season begins end of October and lasts until end of
February. It is necessary to take along a pullover or
jacket during the cool season as nights can be very cool ,
especially in the mountainous areas such as Luang Prabang
, the plain of jars, Saravane and Houeixai. The hot season
lasts from March to June and light cotton and hats are
recommended. The rainy season starts in June and ends in
October. For visitors travelling between end of March and
beginning of April , please note in the mountainous area
where the slash and burn cultivation remained, the weather
may be worse caused by smokes and domestic flights are
subject to delay or cancel.
No vaccinations are presently required. If travelling to
remote or border areas, travelers should check with their
doctor or travel immunization clinic regarding the
advisability of inoculation against Typhoid, hepatitis,
tetanus and Japanese encephalitis.
The direct flights to Vientiane are available from
Bangkok, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, Phnom Penh, Kunming, Chiang
Mai ( via Luang Prabang ).
By air : Presently, Vientiane is the only legal point of
disembarkation in Laos for air passengers. At the present
time, Bangkok is the most common gateway for entry to
Vientiane , although it is possible to come from Hanoi,
Phnom Penh, Ho Chi Minh City, Yangon, Kunming (China) ,
Chiang Mai , Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.
Airport arrival : Arrivals at Wattay airport, Vientiane
are generally rather casual event. Carry on bags are not
surely inspected if that all you have brought. For checked
baggage when claimed at counter ,sometimes passengers are
required to declare if they had antiques and silver item
The other way to get into Laos is by land from from
Vietnam, China, Thailand. Tourists can pass the border at
the following entry points:
* From Nongkhai ( Thailand ) by crossing Mekong River by
* From Chiangkhong ( Thailand ) by crossing Mekong River
by ferry to Houeixey.
* From South China (Yuna ) to Luang Namtha province via
Boten chek point.
* From Mukdahan (Thailand ) and from Quang Tri (Vietnam )
* From Ubol Rachathani (Thailand ) to Pasker.
* From Vinh (Vietnam) via Keo Neua check point to Km 20 ,
Khamkeuth district Borikhamxay province, then on to
Vientiane by bus.
The official language of Lao PDR is Lao. It is spoken in
different parts of the country. The Vientiane dialect is
understood throughout the country. In spite of the
colonial past, French remains the second official language
. English is in common use among business sectors and
Jan 1 : International new years Day
Mar 8 : International Women Day
May 1 : Labour Day
Oct 14 : Boat Racing Festival in Vientiane
Dec 2 : Laos National Day
Tipping is not obligatory in Laos, but is nonetheless
widely practiced in hotels and restaurants in addition to
the service charges shown on bills. (Porters, 5000 - 1,000
Kip per bag.)
Airport tax is US$ 1,0 per passenger on domestic flights
and US$ 10 per passenger on international flights.
GMT + 7 hours.