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Laos travel guides

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About Laos PDR
The People’s Democratic Republic of Laos is located in the center of Indochina, sharing borders with China to the north (416 km), Thailand to the west (1730 km), and Cambodia to the south (492 km) and Vietnam to the east (1957 km).

With an area of 236.800 square kilometers, around 70% its terrain is mountainous and reaching a maximum elevation of 2.820 m in Xieng Khouang province. The three highest mountains are all located in Xieng Khouang province, Phou Bia 2.820 m, Phou Xao 2.600 m, Phou Xamxum 2.620 m, (Phou is the word for mountain). The major part is forested.

The Mekong River flows through 1.865 km of Laos’s territory and forms a natural border with Thailand (1.500 km) in some areas. In the south the Mekong River reaches a breadth of 14 km, creating an area with thousand of islands.

In 1999 the estimated population of Laos was 4.8 million, comprising 68 ethnic groups, each with there own customs, dialect and customs. These are divided into three main groups, Lao Loum (lowland’s) who live along the river valleys, the Lao Theung (upland’s) who live on the mountain plateaus and smaller hills and the Lao Soung (hill tribes) who live in the highest mountains.

Eighty-five percent of the national populations are farmers. A large proportion is a child. Because Laos is one of the few under populated nations of Asia, the government is encouraging repopu-lating.

The dry and cool season begins end of October and lasts end of February. It starts with cool and pleasant weather until end of February and even with cold temperatures at night in the mountainous areas. It is necessary to take along a pullover or jacket during the cool season, at nights can be very cold, especially in the mountainous areas such as Luang Prabang, Xieng Khouang, Saravane and Houei Xay.

The hot season lasts from March to June and light cotton and hats are recommended. March to June is very good season for trekking in mountainous areas or for visiting minority villages and for soft ad-venture tour in Laos.

The rainy season starts in June ends in October with more rain in July and August (mostly at night or for a short time in the daytime). During the rainy season an umbrella is more convenient than a rain-coat.

Light - weights washable cottons- or cotton blend-clothes are the best. A sweater or a coat may be needed for the winter and in upland areas, comfortable walking shoes, hat and sunglasses are essen-tial.

Most Lao people are Buddhists, but all religions are accepted. Temples are called Wat and are the centers of village communities throughout the country, serving as meeting places, schools, play-ground for children and occasional fairgrounds as well as places of worship and monasteries. There are three main styles of Lao Wat, according to geographic region and some ancient and famous temples have survived in places.

The official language of Laos is Lao. It is spoken in different parts of the country. The Vientiane dialect is understood throughout the country. In spit of the colonial past, French remains the second official language. English is common use among business sectors and young generations. Also German and Russia language are spoken.

Visitors traveling to Laos for the purpose of tourism need a visa. If you need a visa , we can assist to arrange for you.. Formalities are completed within three working days, after we have received following information by fax, mail or e-mail.
1. Full name 2. Date of birth 3. Occupation 4. Nationality 5. Passport number 6. Date of arrival
7. Port of entry 8. Place where the visa will be issued

A tourist visa can be issued in one of the Laos embassies abroad or upon by arrival Vientiane Wattai airport, Luang Prabang airport and at Friendship bridge. It is valid for 15 days and can be extended for another 15 days. Visa obtained upon arrival is quoted 30 US $. However the procedure of getting of visa will be changed from time to time. So, for actual information please do not hesitate to contact us.

How to get to Laos
Arrival by Air(visa on arrival is available here)
The ports of arrival by air are Wattai airport in Vientiane, the capital of Laos and Luang Prabang. You can travel by Lao Aviation, Thai Airways International, Bangkok Airways, Vietnam Airlines, Mandarin Airlines and Southern China Airlines. Regular flights are available to Bangkok, Phnom Penh, Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Chiang Mai, Taipei and Kunming (see Wattai International daily flight schedule for flight information). Tourist from Malaysia and Asean Countries do not required visa.

Arrival by Road(visa on arrival is available here)

It can be done via following authorized land checkpoints, which are open daily from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.:
* From Nongkhai, Thailand by Friendship bridge crossing Mekong River by shuttle bus.
* From Chiang Khong, Thailand by crossing Mekong River by ferry to Houei Xay.
* From Mukdahan, Thailand to Savannakhet.
* From Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand at checkpoint Chong Mek to Pakse.
* From Mohan, South China (Yunnan) via checkpoint Boten to Luang Namtha.
* From Quang Tri, Vietnam (Lao Bao) via checkpoint Dan Savanh to Savannakhet.
* From Vinh, Vietnam via checkpoint Keo Neua to Lak Xao, Khamkheuth district.

No vaccinations are presently required. But malaria prophylaxis is recommended.
The government mostly operates medical and dental facilities. Private clinics and pharmacies are available in the major cities. The International Clinic is operated under the supervision of the Ministry of Health, to accommodate foreigners and diplomats. Medicine from France, U.S.A., Russia, Thailand and China are widely available in most pharmacies.

Electricity is available in most cities for 24 hours, but in the remote areas from 6 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. only. It is recommended to carry a flashlight. Voltage: 220 V, 50 Hz.

- Major Credit cards like Mastercard and Visa are only accepted in big cities like Vientiane and Luang Prabang.
- Travellers Check will be chargeable at 1% comission by banks and authorized agents.
-Warm Clothing like Jacket will be needed during the month of November - January
- Rain coat will be handy during Summer from month of June till October
- Please bring along your mosquito repellant, torch, sun cream during summer season.


Information and pictures courtesy of Tourism Laos.

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