Geography Laos is a
landlocked country bordered to the north by China, to the east by
Vietnam, to the south by Cambodia, and to the west by Thailand and
Myanmar. Apart from the Mekong River plains, along the border of
Thailand the country is mountainous, particularly in the north, and in
places is densely forested.
Country & population
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 degrees east.
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. Laosís 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
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 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.
Customs & 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 arrival.
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
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
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
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 brought with.
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 shuttle bus.
* 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 ) to Savanakhet.
* 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 young generations.
Office HourStart from 08:00 AM to 16.30 PM. Except Saturday and
|Jan 1 :
||International new years Day
|Mar 8 :
||International Women Day
|May 1 :
|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.
ElectricityMostly, the city uses 230 volts AC, 50Hz.