Saturday, August 22, 2015

Laos - Brief Travel Guide & Summary of My 8D7N Travelogue

As I got responses from my friends saying that planning a trip to Laos is not as easy as comparing to Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam due to limited of information, hence I would like to share not comprehensive one but brief and basic travel guide based my own first hand experience. 

Laos 02-1

Flying In Laos
From Malaysia, AirAsia is the only carriers flying directly from Kuala Lumpur to Vientiane, the capital city of Laos three times a week - Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. From Kuala Lumpur, the flight to Vientiane took 1 hour and 45 minutes. Time difference wise, Laos is 1 hour behind Malaysia.

For Malaysian citizens, visa is not required when entering Laos and allow to stay up to 30 days.

Best Time To Visit Laos
This one tend to be very subjective cause as we know, weather is always unpredictable one. November to February is the peak season with cooler temperature. Accommodations tend to be fully book and charge slightly higher compare to off season. We went in end of July and early of August and caught up in the heavy rain throughout the first few days but then, we were rewarded with clear and beautiful blue sky at the end of our trip. Accommodations were incredibly cheaper too. 

Travel Around Laos
Generally, Laos is divided into three distinctive regions and I listed down those popular cities:
  • Northern Laos -  the most popular one is Luang Prabang
  • Central Laos - Vientiane, Vang Vieng, Phonsavan, Plain of Jars
  • Southern Laos - Pakse and Champasak
map_of_laos
    Throughout my 8 days visit in Laos, I only managed to cover Northern and Central regions and frankly speaking, it was kinda rush trip. Hence, it is advisable to spend at least two weeks if you plan to cover all three regions.  

    For your information, there are no trains in Laos eventually. So in order to travel from one city to another, the most economical and safest way is by taking minivans and VIP buses.  Minivans are quicker but small leg room which make a long journey less comfortable whereas typical VIP buses have extra leg room but slower compare to minivans. VIP buses also include a bottle of water and a stop for lunch or dinner but one thing I noticed about these VIP buses are often break down. Both types are usually air conditioned. 

    Reminder: As most of the journey are extremely one stomach-churning bus ride and if you have susceptible motion sickness, remember to take motion sickness medication before embarking on the long bus ride. Trust me, you don't want keep throwing up throughout the expedition.

    Language
    Official language of Laos is Lao, which I found out it is closely related to Thai language somehow. However no worry about language barrier as nowadays, most younger Lao generally know some basic English as they have the eager to practice and learn English. I still remember vividly when both Jeff and I climbed up Phu Si in Luang Prabang, we were approached by a group of young monks and after they found out I wasn't Thai (not again), we have conversation for almost an hour. Never knew these young monks can speak English so well. Pretty interesting, right?

    Currency Exchange
    Lao currency is known as kip. I'm not pretty sure whether they accept Ringgit Malaysia or not but it's advisable be prepared with US dollar or Thai baht before going to Laos as these two foreign currencies are widely acceptable there. You can change Lao kip in airport upon arrival. Besides airport, both Jeff and I did perform currency exchange in main touristy area of Vientiane and Luang Prabang.

    US$1 (Approx. to RM3.50) = 7,760 kip

    There you go! My brief and basic travel guide about Laos and I hope the above information could literally help you in planning your trip to Laos. 

    And the following is my simple travel guides of the cities I've been in Laos - Vientiane, Vang Vieng, Phonsavan, Plain of Jars and Luang Prabang which I include essential info such as accommodation, how to travel from one city to antoher, the ideal way of getting around, things to do and see and etc. Not forgetting too, as usual I do share the details of my travel expenses of what I spent throughout my 8D7N trip in Laos at the end of this post.

    Vientiane & Surrounding Area (click here)
     Laos 08

    Vang Vieng, A Laid Back Riverside Town (click here)
    Vang Vieng 03

    Phonsavan & Mysterious Plain of Jars (click here)
    Laos - Phonsavan 07

    The Ancient City of Luang Prabang (click here)
    Laos - Luang Prabang 08

    Travel Expenses for 8D7N in Laos
    Laos Travel Expenses
    1. Thanks to Jeff Chuah, a humble and friendly travel blogger for helping me to buy the airticket cause I was in Hong Kong at that particular moment.
    2. Stayed for a night before depart to Vang Vieng. A three stars hotel which includes breakfast as well.
    3. Stayed for a night. A twin bed room attached with private bathroom but without air-conditioned and breakfast.
    4. Stayed for two nights. A twin bed room attached with private bathroom but without air-conditioned and breakfast.
    5. Stayed for a night. An air-conditioned twin bed room attached with private bathroom. 
    6. Stayed for a night. A fan twin room only. Shared bathroom. Not recommended.
    7. Including English speaking tour guide, entrance fees and pick-up and drop-off from where we stayed. Lunch is not included.
    8. Prepaid data sim card but then, it was only worked on the first day. 
    9. Souvenirs such as T-shirt, fridge magnets, photo frame, two pairs of cushion covers and local handmade Tote bag.
    Travel Haul

    And that's concludes my Laos travelogues.

    7 comments:

    1. thanks... will be my reference later

      ReplyDelete
    2. ooh.. excellent! thank you :)
      Been a little greedy, want to do both Myanmar and Laos the next time I travel back to Malaysia... but don't think there is enough time :|

      ReplyDelete
    3. P/S - not as much shopping haul from Laos as compared to other countries in SEA?

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. I was travelling light. Therefore I didn't buy as much comparing to Bangkok and the rest 😁

        Delete
    4. It is very cheap place to travel to..good introduction to Laos.

      ReplyDelete
    5. Thanks for sharing because sometime quite headache if the information are limited, so difficult for planning.

      ReplyDelete
    6. Pedal to enjoy the greatest landmarks of Nepal
      Mountain biking tours in Nepal is the fastest growing alternative adventure activities. Nepal is definitely a great destination to experience the cycling adventure in the rugged trails of mid-hills and Lower Great Himalayan Trail.

      ReplyDelete

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