The Cost of Traveling to Laos
The average daily cost of traveling to Laos varies. We’ll discuss what’s most expensive, when it’s cheapest to travel, and what activities are the cheapest. Read on to get an idea of what to expect when you’re planning your trip. The prices below are current as of early 2019.
Average daily price of traveling to Laos
The average daily price of traveling to Laos depends on your budget. You can stay in a dorm room for as little as $5 USD a day or in a private room for as much as $30 USD a night. Hotels and guesthouses in Laos can be more expensive, but they have more amenities, including air conditioning, and private bathrooms. Homestays are also an excellent option, as they provide an authentic Laotian experience.
You can use your credit card to make purchases in Laos, but be prepared to pay a surcharge. Credit card advances are available in most cities, and typically cost 3% to 5% of the total transaction. Other options for cash are MoneyGram and Western Union. Currency notes should never be stepped on or thrown in public. Tipping is not required in Laos, but it is a good idea to leave a tip between ten and twenty thousand LAK (roughly equivalent to $5 USD).
Getting around Laos is not an easy task. Buses and slow boats can be expensive, and it’s best to avoid them if possible. However, if you do need to take a tuk-tuk, try to bargain the price down to fifty percent of the original fare. If you get tired of paying more than this, the driver will usually let you go without charging you more than this amount.
Food and beverages in Laos are relatively expensive, and the average price of a meal at a restaurant can run from $4 to $10 USD. However, if you plan to eat in a classy restaurant or have a large group, you can get away with spending a bit more. Just keep in mind that food in Laos will probably be more expensive than the food in Thailand. If you’re traveling on a budget, it is important to check the prices and the food options before heading out.
When planning your budget, you should also consider accommodation costs. The average cost of a hotel in Laos varies greatly, from hostels to luxurious resort chains. A few dollars a night is enough to cover the costs of accommodation and street food. While this amount will be enough for a basic budget, the bus fare can easily blow your entire budget. If you’re traveling on a budget, you can easily spend up to $200USD per day while exploring Laos.
Most expensive part of your trip
While traveling in Laos is more expensive than Thailand and Malaysia, it is still accessible for backpackers on a $50 USD per day budget. You can stay in luxury hotels for under $50 USD a night, but be aware that the hospitality in Laos has not developed to the level of its neighboring countries. In addition to your hotel room, you will also need to pay for a passport photo and visa.
Since Laos is a landlocked country, prices tend to be higher than in other Southeast Asian countries. You can still travel in Laos on a budget and visit all of the country’s major attractions. While prices are higher in the capital city of Vientiane and the UNESCO world heritage city of Luang Prabang, you can manage without pinching your pennies too much.
Transportation: Traveling by car in Laos is relatively cheap. Private air-conditioned tuk-tuks are expensive, but they are still cheaper than taking a bus or shared taxi. Taxis cost anywhere from $2-$4 per trip. Motorbike rentals are cheaper than taxis and cost between $5 and $10 per day. You can also hire a bicycle or motorcycle for three or four hours in Vientiane. A motorcycle will cost you between five and 10 LAK per day, depending on how much you need to ride it.
Food: While street food in Laos is cheap, if you want to eat Western food, you will have to pay more for it. A decent 3-course menu for two people costs around $15. An authentic Italian pizza is less than $10. Beer is also cheap, with a large bottle of Beer Lao costing only a couple of dollars. Water, on the other hand, is only about fifty cents a bottle.
Traveling by air: The most expensive part of traveling to Laos is the cost of the flight. Flights from North America to Laos are relatively expensive, and the price of international flights is around 179 to 211 USD. If you are planning to fly into Laos from a major city, you can look for budget airlines such as Lao Airlines and Thai Smile. You can also get cheaper flights through Bangkok, Chiang Mai, or Hanoi.
Cheapest month to travel to Laos
If you’re planning a trip to Laos, it’s wise to plan your vacation around its two official seasons, the dry season and the wet season. The wet season is between May and October, while the dry season is between November and April. During these two seasons, temperatures will be relatively high. However, these months are also peak tourist seasons and may mean higher rates for hotels and other accommodations.
If you’re planning to travel by car, consider renting a bike, which can save you money while getting around the city. Bicycles are widely available and are also inexpensive in Laos. Most guesthouses have bikes available for guests to borrow. If you don’t own a bike, it will cost you around 20,000 Kip ($2.30 USD) to rent a bike for a day.
You can also save money by house sitting. The best place to find a house-sitter in Laos is Trusted Housesitters. House sitting is a unique opportunity to stay in someone’s home for free. House sitting usually involves taking care of their pet, so you will also be spending some time with someone else. If you have a spare time, house sitting is a great way to save money while traveling in Laos.
If you don’t have a lot of money, traveling to Laos in the off-season can be an excellent way to cut costs. Laos is an underrated country that is still relatively cheap. Despite being a small country, the country has an eclectic population. Three-quarters of the people are ethnic Lao, and the rest are from the Khmou and Hmong tribes.
When it comes to food, Laos is known for its delicious cuisine. The best place to try local Laotian cuisine is at early morning markets. The fresh catch of the Mekong River is available for purchase at these markets. Then, there’s sticky rice, which is a staple of the country. The sticky rice is traditionally served in bamboo baskets and accompanied by a steamed fish on the fork.
Cheapest activities to do in Laos
If you’re traveling on a budget, there are a number of activities in Laos that won’t cost you much. First, you can eat delicious street food, which is cheap and plentiful. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can try the four-course Laotian meal. Also, be aware of the local law against having sexual relationships with Laotians. You can be fined up to $5,000 for violating this law.
The weather in Laos varies from season to season, so you can choose the best time to visit. The lowlands are relatively comfortable during the day but can get chilly in the mountains. You can swim in the rivers, and enjoy some hiking and mountain biking. In the highlands, you can do some hiking and explore the pristine natural beauty. In general, the lowlands are the best time to visit Laos.
The people of Laos are friendly and welcoming despite the war’s extensive bombing. Many of them will invite you to their weddings, meals, or celebrations. You’ll want to buy them a drink or two so they can feel comfortable having you around. In addition to visiting the temples, Laos has a wide range of affordable activities that you can participate in on a budget.
While traveling on a budget in Laos, keep in mind that the country’s attractions are usually close to cities, so you can skip expensive tours and attractions. If you’re traveling on a budget, however, you can save money by forming a travel group and hiring a tuk-tuk driver to get around. The same holds true for local transportation, which is cheap, but can be water-worthy and ancient. Regardless, accidents can happen, so use caution.
Another inexpensive activity to do in Laos is take a bus. Though buses in Laos are often slow, they’re still fun to ride. If you’re traveling by bus, consider booking your ticket ahead of time on a website like Bookaway. You can also hitchhike if you don’t mind a long bus ride. It’s not as easy, but it’s a viable option.