Laos Travel Overview

Laos Travel Overview

At a glance

Capital: Vientiane (See more on ITYPEMBA.COM)

Official language: Laotan

Currency: Kip

Continent: South East Asia

Market communism

Laos is very popular among backpackers, as there is a lot to do for little money.


According to Countryaah, Laos is a state in Southeast Asia. It borders Vietnam, Cambodia, China, Thailand and Myanmar. No other Southeast Asian country with a communist government is as open to the West as Laos.

Travel to Laos

Laos is an ideal country for backpackers. Backpackers can get around there relatively easily and cheaply. Unlike in Southeast Asia, the country’s cuisine is poor in variety, although the fertile plains of the Mekong are rich in species. However, the Laotian beer ” beerlao ” is not only popular among its drinkers, it has also won international awards.

More than 6 million people live in the country, but it is relatively sparsely populated. The capital of the country is Vientiane. It looks more like a village than a metropolis, but is big enough to give rise to urban flair. The country also has a World Heritage Site. Luang Prabang is the old royal capital, there are countless temples. Another cultural highlight of the country is Luang Prabang. The place is about 25 km north of Luang Prabang. In the Pak Ou caves there, around 4,000 Buddha images have been erected.

Healthy travel in Laos

In Laos, most pathogens are immune to common malaria prophylaxis. Since medical care in the country is relatively poor compared to European standards, it is advisable to take preventive measures such as mosquito nets and long clothing.


Currency (sub-unit)

Kip (100 At)

ISO 4217 code

LAK / 418


Continent: Asia

Region: Southeast

Geo coordinates: N 19 ° 51 ‘22.6 “E 102 ° 29’ 43.8”

Highest mountain: Phou Bia (2,817 m)

Total area: 236,800 km²

Mainland: 230,800 km²

National border: 5,083 km


Dependency: France until 1949

UN member since: 1955

Form of government: People’s Republic


Laos GDP - gross domestic product

Export goods: Tin, teak, coffee

BSP: $ 2,817,000,000

GDP: $ 2,993,000,000

GDP purchasing power parity: $ 13.24 billion

Economic growth: 7.6%

GDP share of agriculture: 46.8%

GDP share of industry: 29.4%

GDP share of services: 23.8%

Inflation rate: 5.4%

Unemployment: 2.6%

State budget revenue: $ 36.7 billion

State budget expenditure: $ 488,000,000

Export: $ 392,000,000

Import: $ 567,000,000

Gold and currency reserves: $ 273,000,000

Electricity consumption: 3,993 million KWh

Oil consumption: 4,100 million m³

Cultivation area: 4.4%

Bovine: 959,000 pieces

Pigs: 1,088,000 pieces

Fishing: 92,000 t

Demographic data

Residents: 6,368,500

Residents in cities: 1,567,700

Average age: 18.9 years

0-14 years: 41.4%

15-64 years: 55.4%

> 65 years: 3.2%

Population growth: 2.39%

Birth rate: 35.49 / 1,000 residents

Death rate: 11.55 / 1,000 residents

Ratio men / women: 0.98

Fertility: 4.68 children / woman

Infant mortality: 83.31 ‰

Life expectancy men: 53.45 years

Life expectancy women: 57.61 years

Country codes

ISO 3166 Alpha 2: LA

ISO 3166 Alpha 3: LAO

ISO 3166 numeric: 418

Top Level Domain: la

IOC country code: LAO


Source: Abbreviationfinder


Telephone connections: 102,000

Cell Phones: 105,000

Radios: 849,000

TV: 74,000

Computer: 37,000

Internet users: 72,000


Paved roads: 5,137 km

Cars: 53,000

Merchant fleet (ships over 1,000 GRT): 1

Pipelines: 540


Number of doctors: 3,880

Daily food intake: 2,340 kcal / resident

HIV- infected people: 2,400


Illiteracy: 32%


Foundation: 650

Last sovereign since: 1949


Main religious group: Buddhists


Armed forces (troop strength): 29,000

Main battle tank: 30th

Warplanes: 30th

Defense Spending: $ 11,380,000


Arriving by plane

The national airline Lao Airlines (QV) (Internet:

There are international connections to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (both Vietnam), Bangkok and Chiang Mai (Thailand), Phnom Penh (Cambodia) and Kunming (PR China). Thai Airways (TG) and Bangkok Airways (PG) fly from Bangkok. Vietnam Airlines (VN) flies from Hanoi to Vientiane.

Departure fee

US $ 10, mostly included in the ticket price. Transit passengers and children under 2 years of age are exempt.

Arrival by car

Car: There are road connections to Thailand (border crossings: Chiang Khong / Bokeo (Huai Xai), Nong Khai / Vientane via Friendship Bridge, Nakhorn Phanom / Thakhek, Mukdahan / Savannakhet and Ubon Ratchathani (Chong Mek) / Pakse and Jouay Kone / Xaingnabouri). There are also border crossings to Cambodia (Trapeang Kreal border station) and Vietnam (Vinh / Lak Xao and Lao Bao / Savannakhet) and China (Muangla / Boten (Luang Namtha)). Traveling by land to Myanmar is not recommended for safety reasons.

There are bus connections between Thailand and Laos. Buses run between Udon Thani and Nong Khai in Thailand and Vientiane in Laos and between Ubon Ratchathani in Thailand and Pakse in Laos. There are further bus connections between Mukdahan in Thailand and the province of Savannakhet in Laos via the four Thai-Laos friendship bridges.

Arriving by train

There are no trains, but the Thai rail network runs from Bangkok via Nakhon Ratchasima to Nong Khai on the Lao-Thai border. There is a ferry connection and a bridge to the Laotian side of the Mekong, 19 km east of Vientiane. A train connection from Nong Khai via the Friendship Bridge is under construction.



In the late evening there will be more personal controls. Travelers who cannot identify themselves with proper documents must expect to be taken into police custody overnight.



In the late evening there will be more personal controls. Travelers who cannot identify themselves with proper documents must expect to be taken into police custody overnight.

Traveling by plane

There are flights with Lao Airlines (QV) from Vientiane to Houayxai, Luang Namtha, Xieng Khouang, Luang Prabang and Oudomxai in the north and Paksé and Savannakhet in the south. Not all aircraft used in domestic air traffic meet international safety standards, but the situation has improved in recent years. Private charter flights are available from Lao Westcoast Helicopter (Internet:

Airport charges are included in the ticket price.

Note on air travel

With the introduction of two ATR 72 machines and an Airbus 320, the safety standard on the routes covered by these machines (especially Vientiane – Luang Prabang and Vientiane – Phonsavan) has been significantly improved. The connections to the remote northern provinces remain problematic due to the often bad weather, the lack of technical equipment at the airports there and the aircraft used on the routes concerned (Chinese Y12 aircraft). These routes should be avoided, especially in the rainy season.

On the way by car / bus

Many roads have been paved in recent years. The main routes between Vientiane, Vang Vieng, Luang Prabang and including the expressway from the Thai border at Savannakhet to the Vietnamese border are paved. However, only a few roads are passable in all weather conditions. Outside the province of Vientiane, the road conditions are generally poor and there are no accessible roads into the regions south of Vientiane. In the north of the country there are road links between Vientiane and Luang Prabang and between Vientiane, Nam Dong and Tran Ninh.

Connections exist between all major cities, but they are not very reliable.

Due to the still poor road conditions and the high accident rate, it is not recommended to take oneTake rental cars. However, you can book a rental car with a driver through the hotels or tourist information centers.

International driver’s license is recommended.

Safety note:
most of the roads are in poor condition. In addition, road traffic harbors special risks due to the behavior of road users (including bus drivers). In the evenings and on public holidays, drunk drivers contribute to the high traffic risk. The accident rate (including death) is high, and users of motorized two-wheelers are strongly advised to wear a protective helmet. If a foreigner is involved in an accident, he is usually asked to pay for the (entire) damage and, if necessary, compensation for pain and suffering regardless of the question of guilt.

Traveling in the city

In Vientiane there are bicycle rickshaws and taxis with and without a meter, but they only travel on fixed routes. You can also rent a taxi for a day. In all larger cities there are converted motorbikes, the so-called tuk-tuks or jumbos. Ideal for short trips within a city, haggling is expected over prices. Motorcycles and bicycles can be rented on a daily basis in Vientiane and Luang Prabang.

On the go by train

There are no rail connections.

On the way by ship

The Mekong and the other rivers are important transportation routes.

One has the choice between irregular (and very slow) ferries and noisy and rather dangerous speedboats (speed boats), which are often involved in accidents. Both travel from Vientiane to Luang Prabang and Luang Prabang to Huay Xai. The ferries often leave early in the morning and a trip can take several days, while the speedboats are more regular and take around 8 hours each way. The schedule and prices change depending on demand. Most ferry connections only exist during the rainy season.

Private jet boats can be purchased from Lao River Exploration Services ( can be rented. Further information is available from the Lao National Tourism Authority (see addresses).

Note on the cruise

The speed boats are often involved in accidents, sometimes with fatal results. Since normal boats (so-called “slow boats”) also operate on almost all routes, you should not use the speedboats.