Has anyone been to Laos? What is it like?

Has anyone been to Laos? My GF and I are trying to plan a month long trip in August. We would like to start in Thailand and then head into Laos. Does anyone know what the visa requirements are for Laos and what Laos is like? Is it worth going to?

We are not really into the luxury 4 star hotel/resort type of traveling, but more into back packing and mixing with the locals. We are both pretty serious amature photographers and want someplace that has dramatic landscapes, local culture, etc. She has been to Cambodia before and would prefer not to go twice so soon. Thanks for the tips!


Laos is amazing. I did the SE.Asia tour last Summer and Laos was by far my favourite place. A few stand out places for me were Vang Vieng, Luang Prabang, Muang Ngoi and Si Phan Don in the far south. The south may seem like a far distance to travel to get to but it is well worth it. There are a few other spots i didn’t see but wish I did such as Phonsavan and Luang Nam Tha.

Laos is by no means a 4 star country, it is very cheap to travel and stay, most places were around 2-5 USD per night. Travel is mostly by bus expet for the 2 day Slow boat ride from Thailand, which is an experience well worth taking even if it isn’t the most comfortable ride. I splurged in the south and stayed in the wonderful Sala Phae bungalows on Don Khon for $15 per night which was well worth the cost.

It’s a very laid back place to travel and very safe if you just keep your wits about you.

Beer Lao is probably the best beer I have ever had as well.

I went in August as well which is the rainy season but it didn’t rain all that much and it didn’t dampen my travels one bit.

feel free to PM if you have any questions

is a great place to get ideas. I read the Lonely planet cover to cover before I went.

trekearth.com is a good place to see pics of the different spots.

I have very fond memories of Laos and will hopfully return someday.

S.E Asia is a great place to not plan too much, just the basics and talk to people, learn about the different areas and go where the wind takes you next.

There is a free 10 day visa at the border and a one month visa in advance for about 30 USD in Bangkok or Chiang Mai.