Our Indochina travel guide incorporates all the charm, creativity and chaos of four of South East Asia’s most beguiling countries: Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. Discover what we rate and what we don’t as well as the food, shopping, people and the history associated with one of the world’s favourite regions.
Laos travel advice
“Though Lao people have a reputation for tolerance toward their foreign visitors, local people can be easily offended or embarrassed by visitors’ behavior. Basically, the way to behave correctly whilst in Laos is a matter of common sense and good manners – no different from how you would behave as guests in your own country, but a few specifics are worth pointing out. It is not necessary to learn a lot of vocabulary to be polite but a few words and a smile are always appreciated. Don’t speak or shout loudly, it is considered very bad manners. Do praise and thank people. Don’t get too drunk in public and do act discretely - overt shows of affection in public are also a no-no.”
Our Laos Vacations
Amy Poulton from our supplier, Wayfairer Travel shares her Laos travel advice for foodies:
"Lao cuisine must be one of the most underrated in the whole of Southeast Asia. The people of Laos rely heavily on agriculture, so ingredients are always fragrant, fresh, farm-grown and packed full of flavour. Staple dishes feature meat such as buffalo, seasonal vegetables and indigenous herbs. Mealtimes are for sharing, with woven baskets of sticky rice served next to plates piled high with fiery papaya salad, hearty meat stews, smoky eggplant dip, spicy salsas, river weeds and stir-fried noodle dishes. You’ll most likely be sitting on cushions on the floor around a communal table. Roll your rice into a ball and eat with your hands, as the locals do.
The best way to sample traditional Lao food is with a cooking class, where you’ll pick your ingredients or buy them at a local market, before learning authentic techniques from Lao cooks. When eating out at restaurants, choose sharing platters of dips, fondue or other Lao favourites – and don’t miss out on larb, the national Lao dish, comprised of minced meat or fish with garlic and ginger. For desert, choose exotic fresh fruit, delicate French-style pastries, mango sticky rice with butterfly pea, or moreish coconut pancakes – then wash it all down with a classic Beerlao."
Packing adviceLesley Schofield from our supplier, All Points East shares her advice on packing for Laos:
“In the north of Laos I think it surprises people that from November through to January can be chilly, so it’s best to pack fleece weight clothing if you’re heading north and for any trip it’s best to pack layers. Also, if you’re anywhere in Southeast Asia during the rainy season then take a small umbrella – coats are useless because it may be raining, but it’ll be hot. It’s better to pack long sleeves and long trousers too because Laos is a conservative country and it’s respectful to cover up where possible.”
Our top Laos Vacation
Explore the beautiful Golden Triangle area
Available all year. This suggested itinerary can be modified entirely to your personal wishes including departure date, duration, accommodation used and how long you spend in each destination.
Health & safety in Laos
Laos tips from our travelers
We have selected some of the most useful Laos travel advice that our guests have provided over the years to help you make the very most of your vacation - and the space inside your suitcase.
“A trip to Laos is a good mix of cultural and tourist places, adventure and something a bit special and unique from experiences with the locals.” - Amy Worthington
“Don’t worry too much about dirt, squat toilets and the like, just be prepared!” - Sarah Beddow
“Relax and go with the flow. Chill out for a while and watch the world go by you can be amazed at some of the sights right in front of you.” - David Conway
“I found the quality of the accommodation to be high, I had expected more basic sleeping arrangements.” - Peter Heath
"Have a sense of adventure and realise that Asia is different in so many ways to our western way of life.” - Bridie Brittain
“Be prepared for long bus journeys; we travelled 12 hours on a bus to Vientiane and 6 hours the next day to Vang Vieng. It was a bit much.” - Lucy Charlotte Brand