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Local Information

Local-Info

The language is Lao as it is spoken in Vientiane, English is used in tourist centers. Chinese, Vietnamese and Thai are understood. There are over 220 languages spoken by 47 ethnic groups.

Laos' main geographic features are mountains, the Xieng Khouang and Bolaven Plateaux and the Mekong River Valley. The country's 237,000 sq km, is about 70% mountainous, the highest peak, Phou Bia, reaches just over 2,800 m.

Laos has a mild tropical climate, but it can get quite cool. Temperatures range from about 10 - 40 degrees Celsius and can be below zero in the mountains, the Xieng Khouang and Bolaven Plateaux. There are two seasons, wet from May to October and dry from November to April. The wet is usually a few hours of rainfall a day, but can sometimes be torrential. It gets hot around the beginning of the wet season and cool at the end.

Laos has basic health care and visitors should check with their doctor before travelling and have health insurance. Dengue is a current and rising problem. Malaria seems to have abated. Mosquitos are everywhere, use DEET repellant.

Tap water is OK for showering etc, bottled drinking water is cheap and available everywhere. The local Beer Lao, is also cheap and available everywhere.

The currency of Laos is the kip. Traveler's cheques can be cashed at banks. Credit cards are accepted in some hotels and some shopping establishments. ATMs are readily available in most larger towns and cities, they dispense Kip notes. Beware of changing too much money, $1,000 will get a big stack of Kip notes and whilst they can be changed in Laos, they cannot be changed outside of Laos.  Thai baht and US dollars are also accepted.

Phones and Faxes are widespread and mobile technology predominates, SIM cards are readily available from one of several Telcos. Internet access is available in tourism centers and via 3G mobile.

Laos uses 220 volt AC electricity. Some outages, usually brief, can occur.

There are post offices from which to send letters and parcels. There is no residential postal delivery service. Vientiane's main post office has a post restante service.

Offices are open Monday through Friday from 08:30-12:00 and from 13:00 to about 16:30. It is not uncommon for staff to have a nap after lunch. Private businesses are open later and restaurants and entertainment venues close about 23:00. Most businesses are closed on Sunday. There is an official curfew, but whilst people may be stopped after hours, there are usually no consequences.


Information

Travel Information
Visas, borders, roads, planes...
Local Information
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Historical Information
Siam, independence...

An Adventure

Ethnic

Ethnic groups in Lao are diverse and interesting. Villages outside of the main centres differ widely from one another, in culture, craft, language and custom. There are many minority culture spread across Laos...

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Climbing

Climbing is a fairly new activity in Laos. So far, the only officially opened areas for climbing are in Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang. With the spectacular limestone landscape in Vang Vieng, north...

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Cave

Caves in Laos are some of the most extensive limestone cave systems in Asia. Vang Vieng, is famous for karst mountains and caves. Konglor Cave in central Laos' Khammouane Province is one of...

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Trekking

Trekking is a great way to explore the mountains and forests of Laos. You can journey to waterfalls and caves, visit remote ethnic villages, investigate remnants of ancient cultures and temples and...

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Rivers

Rivers in Laos offer many exciting opportunities for adventure. Flowing through jungle, gorges and caves, they can be wildly exciting and soothingly quiet in equal measure. There is ample scope for both...

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Tam Mahk Houng

Tam Mahk Houng - Lao Papaya Spicy Salad 2 cups shredded papayas1 garlic clove4 chilies1 tablespoon shrimp paste1/4 tablespoon crab, paste1 tablespoon fish sauce1 scant teaspoon msg (optional)1 tablespoon fermented fish...

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Lao Clams

Lao Stir Fried clams 1 1/2 lbs clams, with shells2 garlic cloves2 hot chilies1 tablespoon fish sauce1 tablespoon sugar1 tablespoon oyster sauce1 tablespoon oil10 basil leaves1/4 cup water Soak clams for two...

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Chicken Lahp

Chicken lahp with vegetables and variations - lahp gai pak gap Ingredients for a Lao raw or cooked meat lahp are extremely variable reflecting a cuisine which is prepared with whatever...

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Chili Dips

Chili Dips - Jeow, there is jeow, and there is jeow. Sauces and dips are called jeow as long as these contain chillies. The classic jeow is either fairly dry or...

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Buffalo Skin Snacks

If, like me, you've wondered what the strips of dried animal hide, being sold at markets and by the side of the road, are for... They are dried Buffalo Hide...

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Inthira Thakhek Hotel

Inthira Thakhek Hotel is a lovely renovated colonial building hotel located in the very centre of Thakhek and just a minute's walk to the Mekong River. Inthira Thakhek Hotel caters...

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  1. Historic
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19th Century Photos

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19th Century Photos

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19th Century Photos

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National Protected Areas

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Adventure

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Attractions

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  • National Protected Areas
  • Adventure
  • Attractions
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Chili Dips

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Gaeng Bawt

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Tam Mahk Houng

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  • Chili Dips
  • Gaeng Bawt
  • Tam Mahk Houng

Popular Attractions

Si Phan Dong

Si Phan Don (Lao: ສີພັນດອນ; meaning The 4000 islands) is a riverine archipelago located in the Mekong River, Champasak Province in southern Laos. Si Phan Don is characterised by numerous islands...

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Wat Phou

Vat Phou or Wat Phu (Lao: ວັດພູ [wāt pʰúː] temple-mountain) is a ruined Khmer temple complex in southern Laos. It is located at the base of mount Phu Kao, some...

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Pak Ou Caves

Pak Ou Caves. Near Pak Ou (mouth of the Ou river) the Tham Ting (lower cave) and the Tham Theung (upper cave) are caves overlooking the Mekong River, 25 km...

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Patuxai

Patuxai (Lao: ປະຕູໄຊ, literally meaning Victory Gate or Gate of Triumph, formerly the Anousavary or Anosavari Monument, known by the French as Monument Aux Morts) is a war monument in...

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Royal Palace Luang Prabang

The Royal Palace (official name "Haw Kham") in Luang Prabang, Laos, was built in 1904 during the French colonial era for King Sisavang Vong and his family. The site for...

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 Elephant Conservation Center logo

 Elephant Conservation Center

The Elephant Conservation Center hosts Laos' first hospital dedicated to elephants that are victims of logging accidents or affected by diseases. The center is staffed with an international team of elephant vets and offers free veterinary care services, an emergency unit, a breeding center, a mahout vocational center and the most extensive elephant information center in country. 
Click here to visit the Elephant Conservation Centre

foundation

This organisation was set up by a former fire-fighter and nurse who worked for the Red Cross on emergency assistance. He gathered around him a team of 34 dedicated people from Lao and trained them in first aid. It is registered under the Lao Foundation to assist the poor and was established in 2006.

Exo Foundation

Choice Hotels Laos

Selected Hotels, Resorts, Ecolodges and Cruises, each destination is a tourist attraction in its own right. The Individualist’s Guide to Discover Laos along National Route 13 from China to Cambodia coordinated...

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Hands

We liked the Elephant Trekking in Champasak and the shopping in the Pakse markets. J&S Gentner.
F. White.