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Updated by Joanna James on Aug 27, 2020
Headline for Important facts to know about Laos – An Underrated Gem
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Joanna James Joanna James
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Important facts to know about Laos – An Underrated Gem

Laos may seem like one of the more obscure locations to travel to in South East Asia. However, despite its small size, there's plenty to see and do here. That being said, there are a few things you should know before you book your trip to Laos.

1

The Pace of Laos

One thing that'll become immediately apparent once you arrive in Laos is that everything here moves at a slower pace. While there's plenty to love about Laos, you're going to have to deal with a bit of slack when it comes to services. As such, don't be in a hurry all the time during your vacation – take your time when exploring and adjust your own pace for the best experience. This carries over to transport as well. Trains and buses are very often late and past their schedules. You can bypass this by hiring yourself a taxi or tuk-tuk but be wary of getting scammed by the drivers. The best practice would be to agree on a set fee you're comfortable with before getting into the vehicle.

2

Expect Long Journeys

Due to how small Laos is compared to its neighbouring countries, you might expect to zip through to destinations all over the region – this is simply not the case. Travelling through Laos can be quite a time-consuming affair and you should be prepared for long journeys. For instance, if you're planning to tour the countryside, be prepared for journeys that could go on for 8 hours or more. The best option in these cases is to hire sleeper-buses. These come equipped with beds for you to rest in as you make your way to the next attraction.

3

Trying Laotian Alcohol

During your travels in Laos, you're likely to come across all manner of Laotian alcohol varieties. These seem exotic – and more often are – on top of being dirt cheap as well. Now, trying out these local drinks may seem like a great experience, but be warned that these alcohol varieties are incredibly strong. What's more, drinks like Laotian whiskey is unregulated and might even contain unsavoury additives like snake and scorpion extracts. As such, try these at your own risk.

4

Beer for a Buck

If you're really thirsting for some alcohol, don't fret too much – Laotian beer is perfectly safe! In fact, beer is one of the country's biggest exports. Thousands of freshly brewed beer varieties are shipped out of the country throughout the year. The beer is also extremely cheap here with a cold beverage only setting you back about 1 US Dollar most of the time!

5

Accommodation Costs

Accommodation costs can be a bit tricky here in Laos, but if you know what you're looking for, things shouldn't be too problematic. There's a relatively good selection of hotels and resorts to choose from, for quite the range of budgets at that. You can book a high-end hotel Luang Prabang has to offer – say, for example, the AVANI+ Luang Prabang – or settle for more modest hotel rooms and boutique options.