Laos is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia. It is surrounded by Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma and China.

Trips to Laos:

Laos Explorer – 11 Days

Thailand, Cambodia and Laos Adventure – 20 Day

It is approximately 236,800 square kilometers (91,400 square miles). That makes it a bit smaller than Colorado. The population in 2019 is estimated to be over 7 million people. The capital and most populated city of Laos is Vientiane. Currently, with a median age of 21.6 years old, Laos has the youngest population of any Asian country. Previous to being the Kingdom of Laos, in 1949, Laos had been a French colony. In 1975 there was a civil war that resulted in a One-party state under the leadership of the communist party.

Entry Requirements

Akin to using one’s passport to enter any foreign country, it must be valid a minimum of six months from the date of entry and have at least two blank visa pages. Tourist visas are required, and can be obtained upon arrival in certain ports, and typically permit a thirty-day stay. Visas can be extended up to an additional sixty days through the Department of Immigration in Vientiane. Should you wish to obtain a visa in advance you can do so via submitting an application to the Embassy of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic.


All travelers should be up to date with their routine vaccinations upon entering Laos. Additionally, the CDC recommends that travelers also obtain vaccinations for Yellow Fever, Typhoid, Japanese Encephalitis, and Cholera. Any travel clinic will be able to provide the needed vaccinations.

Weather and Climate

The climate of Laos is tropical. The winter is made up of monsoons and cooler evening temperatures, which lasts from November to February. The summer monsoons bring high humidity and typically last from May to mid-October. Monsoons can vary in intensity and duration in both the winter and summer months. The hottest time of the year in Laos is from March to May (with highs around 40/42 °C, or 104/108 °F). Packing clothes that dry quickly and waterproof shoes is essential when traveling to Laos. Packing a durable, light rain jacket will also definitely come in handy.


The country code for Laos is +856. While there are many locations that will offer free Wi-Fi (such as hotels, cafes, and some tourist attractions) or Wi-Fi available for purchase, not all areas of Laos have Internet access. The same is true for mobile access across the country; meaning some areas will have wireless service while others may not.


There are certain areas of Laos that do not have access to power. For all other areas electricity is supplied at 230 volts (50 hertz). This means that it is best to purchase an adapter/ converter prior to departing for your trip, as they are necessary. Depending on where you depart for your trip to Laos, you may be able to purchase these items at the airport; alternatively, most electric stores in the US will carry what you need.

Travel Advisories

Whenever traveling abroad, it is best to make two photocopies of your passport, tickets, and visas. In addition to the originals, keep one copy with you in a separate place to the original and leave another copy with a trusted friend or family member at home. Additionally, it is a law in Laos to carry some form of legitimate identification at all times. Informing your bank and/ or credit card company of your travels can help to eliminate any possible holds for fraudulent activity.


The official national currency in Laos is the Lao kip (K). Though there are three types of currency currently used in Laos, which include kip, Thai bhat (B) and US dollars. You can exchange money at the airport or any bank (for a small fee). The US dollar is widely accepted in many areas of Laos, so it is best to hang on to some US dollars in cash. Not many areas allow credit cards, as a form of payment, though some larger, top-range hotels will accept them. There are ATMs in Laos, but it is important to be aware that there is a fee at all ATMs in the country.


The legal political party in Laos is the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party (LPRP). It is one of the world’s five remaining communist states. The head of the government is Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith. The president is Bounnhang Vorachit. In Laos, the government policies are determined by the LPRP.


The major religion in Laos is Theravada Buddhism. Catholics and Protestants make up around 2% of the population. There are other minority religions present in Laos as well, such as Mahayana Buddhism, Bahá’í faith, and Chinese folk religions. However, with nearly 5,000 temples dedicated to Theravada Buddhism all across Laos, it remains to be the most prominent organized religion in the country.

Ethnic Groups

The government divides the people of Laos into three groups according to the altitude at which they live. The highland Lao (Lao Soung, Hmong and Yao), the upland Lao (Lao Theung) and the lowland Lao (Lao Loum). The specific ethnic groups are as follows: Lao 53.2%, Khmou 11%, Hmong 9.2%, Phouthay 3.4%, Tai 3.1%, Makong 2.5%, Katong 2.2%, Lue 2%, Akha 1.8%, other 11.6%.


The official language of Laos is Lao. The most widely used foreign language spoken in Laos is French, and English is becoming increasingly more common.


The United Nations designated Laos as the least developed country in the world. It relies heavily on foreign donors, as it is one of Asia’s poorest nations. The GDP per capita is approximately $3,000. Agriculture dominates the economy in Laos, producing 51% of the GDP.