Laos, in Southeast Asia, is at the geographical crossroads of Asia’s two oldest cultures. A crossroads land and at the same time an isolated land, Laos has always been a contested country. Its location gives to the country a certain greatness at the time of the Lan Xang kingdom (16th century) when it established himself among divided neighbours. Hence also its weakness when the latter, having regained their power, turned its territory into a battleground. Laos is the Indochinese country with the largest number of different ethnic groups.
Monsoons are a characteristic of the tropical climate. There are two seasons: a dry season from October to April, a rainy season from May to September. 15/20°C in December-January, 30°C in March-April. October and November can be rainy (typhoon tails).
Laos is still a very affordable country for foreigners. Here is a few examples :
|Basic products||Price in Euros / Laotian Kip|
|1L of water (botel)||0,34 € / 3 061 LAK|
|1 meal (2 dishes)||6 € / 54 162 LAK|
|1 bus ticket||0,62 € / 5 600 LAK|
Name of the local currency : Laos Kip ( ₭ )
1 EUR = 9 720,26 LAK
The Lao People’s Democratic Republic, small country that contains some of the world’s most diverse and rare wildlife species, is one of the hidden biological treasures of Southeast Asia. Through its protected areas, the country works to ensure that the magic and wonders of its jungles do not disappear.
Home to the largest number of large mammals in Southeast Asia, such as the muntjac, the Indochinese tiger and the Douc Langur – a species of monkey found only in Laos and northern Vietnam – the country also has the largest population of Asian elephants in Indochina. As Laos is made up of 68 different ethnic groups, each with its own way of cooking with its own recipes, Loatian cuisine is therefore a relatively varied and original cuisine. On the one hand, it differs from those of neighbouring countries in that it is not influenced by Chinese cuisine, and by the abundance and variety of aromatic herbs used. Another characteristic is that they only use coconut oil as fat. It takes a long time to prepare. The herbs, without which a Laotian dish loses all its personality, are very diverse: chive, coriander, mint, some creepers, wild shrub leaves, etc… The “Lap” is the most famous dish and is practically the national dish. It is a traditional ceremonial dish, made from raw fish or meat, crushed in mortar and marinated in lemon juice. It is a kind of meat salad flavoured with spices and various other condiments. This dish is available in several varieties. It can be served on any occasion as an aperitif or a main course.
Vaccine and specific advice :
Find out what vaccines are recommended for the country and what are the diseases preventive and/or treatment measures on site.
Vaccine renewal, country-specific vaccinations: 1-3 months before leaving
Visit your doctor or specialist for any health problem, repeat of medical prescriptions, contraception, to have a sufficient initial stock of drugs, adjustment of dosages. Moreover, you will need to send your coordinator a certificate from your doctor certifying that you are well able to participate in an international volunteer project.
Dentist: a dental check-up can be useful before you leave !
PROCEDURE FOR OBTAINING A VISA
UK, USA and Canada :
Visa conditions change regularly. For the most up to date information, contact the nearest Lao Embassy or Consulate.
You can get a visa on arrival for around US$35 or Thai Baht 1,500.00. You will need one passport photo. Alternatively, you can get a visa by contacting the Laos Embassy in your country. Or if you are in the region, you can get a long-stay visa from the Lao Embassy in Bangkok or Hanoi.
When you enter Laos, make sure you get an entry stamp in your passport. Not having a legitimate entry stamp could lead to arrest or a large fine.
Overstaying your visa is a serious offence in Laos and the police are likely to issue heavy fines and detain those who are caught. Tourist visas can be extended 2 times and up to a total of 90 days. Tourists are required to check in with the immigration every 30 days in order to obtain this extension.
Your passport must have at least six months validity remaining from the date of entry and at least two blank visa pages.
Naturally, we invite you to consult the Embassy’s website before any departure in order to be informed of any changes.
Embassy of Laos in the UK :
49 Porchester Terrace
London W2 3TS
Embassy of Laos in the USA and Canada :
Laotian Embassy in Washington, D.C., United States
2222 S Street N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
TELEPHONE (+1) 202 332 6416
FAX (+1) 202 332 4923