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Laos

Laos is by far one of the least known countries of Indochina. It does not have the cultural assets of neighbouring Vietnam and no fascinating structures like the temple complex of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. But the natural settings are stunning and its little villages authentic. Besides Laotians, there are 68 diverse and colourful mountain peoples and ethnic groups. Luang Prabang prides itself on being on the UNESCO World Heritage List and Vientiane, as a capital, is amongst the most laid back capitals in the world. It hardly compares to any other. Both Luang Prabang and Vientiane are located on the banks of the majestic Mekong River and so their romantic setting booms. What could be more delightful than watch the sun set over a rolling river with a drink at hand?

Etiquette:
  • Dress code:Laotians love to dress up for formal occasions. Being dressed properly shows respect for the host and the event. A tourist with unwashed hair, perspiring and dressed in shabby clothes cannot count on any respect. Short pants are no problem in-house, but in public wearing shorts is frowned upon. Keep this in mind when visiting temples, even on a hot day.
  • patting someone’s head is unacceptable in Laos, even if done to kids. The crown chakra resides in the head and is as such the place of the soul and the ’highest’ link to the Universe.
  • Sitting: Make sure your feet never point in the direction of someone. The feet are the opposite of the head and are mostly unclean and in contact with dirt.
  • Keeping temper:losing your patience, getting angry or having a row in public means "losing face". Confrontations are preferably avoided in order not to embarrass others. Criticism is often experienced as a personal offense.

Hotels & Meals

In Laos sticky rice (khao niao) is very popular. Laotians have traditionally eat with their (right) hand (s). If there is cutlery on the table, it is usually limited to a spoon and a fork. Slide the food with your fork onto your spoon and put the spoon in your mouth (never the fork). Chop sticks are used for eating feu or any other noodle soup. There is no fixed order in serving dishes.

Laap: finely chopped mince meat or fish spiced up with herbs such as coriander and mint.
Tarn rnaak hoeng: Unripe papaya salad with peanuts, garlic, tomatoes and red pepers mixed in.
Khao nio ping: grilled sticky rice.
Ping pa
grilled fish stuffed with lemon grass, garlic, onion and salt.
Cheo pa duk: is a dip sauce made from fish fillet, finely ground eggplant and a mixture of garlic, peppers, shallots and shrimp pasta.
Khao Phoen: is a coconut-fried rice vermicelli (served cold) with a variety of raw vegetables bathing in coconut milk and flavored with buffalo meat, red peppers and unripe papaya.
Feu: : is a noodle soup available throughout Laos and is often eaten as breakfast or lunch.

Drinks: coffee and tea (often Nescafé) is available almost everywhere, as well as soft drinks and fresh fruit juices. The syrup-like Laotian coffee is self-made and tastes nice. Try the famous Laotian ice coffee! Delicious 

(source : Koning Aap)

Insurances

Have a safe and carefree trip: travel fully insured with our Protections travel insurance! Our Protections insurance policies offer various formulas in order to offer you the widest possible cover (with even a fly-on-time, natural catastrophes and epidemics) for both single journeys or for the entire year.  We guarantee you the best protection at the best price. 

Tailored travel

The tours in our brochures are just a few examples of travel itineraries possible. Our trips can be tailored to suit your specific needs. If you want to book a specific destination or combine it with a mini-tour then we will gladly make you a tailor-made offer. For a personalised day-by-day program please contact our destination experts.

Would you like to travel in a group; with your entire family, friends or colleagues (min. 10 people required)? Put our know-how to the test and send us your details and wishes.  We will gladly turn the blueprints of your trip into a detailed quote and a lasting memory for you to cherish. Contact our Connections Group Service by e-mail at groups@connections.be or by telephone on +32 (0)2 550 01 65. We would love to hear from you. 

Travel Documents

  • All Belgian nationals travelling on a Belgian passport (children and babies included) must be in possession of an international e-passport (electronic), containing min. 2 blank pages, valid for at least 6 month at the date of your arrival.  Laos requires a visa, which you can obtain at the border (30 USD - update 22OCT2018) or at arrival at Pakse, Vientiane and Luang Prabang. Make sure you carry one passport photo in colour.
  • Travelers with a non-Belgian nationality and/or travelers travelling on a foreign passport are invited to spontaneously report this matter to the Connections travel consultant and shall contact their respective embassy (s) or Consulate (ate) to obtain the latest updates concerning all current travel requirements and documents.

Health

No mandatory vaccinations required. To verify the latest updates on health requirements, please surf to http://www.itg.be

 

Time Zones

+5 h (summer); +6 h (winter)

Currency

Currency 

Lao Kip (LAK) 100.000 LAK = 10.15 EUR & 1 EUR = 9850 LAK (22/10/2018)

Payment method

There are no coins in circulation. Credit cards are mainly accepted in top hotels and restaurants in Vientiane and Luang Prabang. In these cities you can also pin. The north and the Laos' countryside have hardly any if any ATMS. It is good to carry cash euros, and even better US dollars or Thai baht. Dollar bills must be new and non-creased. The latest series (old dollar bills, or folded / crooked bills cannot be exchanged). You get better exchange rates for 50 and 100 dollar bills. Smaller dollar bills are useful for souvenirs.

Tipping

In modest restaurants a tip is not common. You do give a tip to the bell man and room personnel at hotels. Local guides and drivers appreciate a tip too.

Climate

The Laos rainy season lasts from May to October with occasional heavy showers. The countryside is very green then and the rice paddies look fabulous. The dry season falls between November and the end of April. March and April are the warmest months of the year with temperatures well above 30 ° C. At high altitudes, however, it may still freeze at night.

Average Temperature (°C):

Destination J F M A M J J A S O N D
Phnom Penh
28 29 30 31 31 30 30 30 29 29 28 27
Vientiane
23 26 28 31 31 30 29 29 29 28 26 23
Ho Chi Minh
27 28 29 30 30 29 28 29 28 28 27 17

 

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