Laos - Practical Information

If you’re searching for a unique destination to visit, experience Laos in all its enchanting beauty. Unrefined in almost every ways, Laos is one of Southeast Asia’s slightest developed nations giving the adventurous tourist a land of many amazing places. It is still a relatively unfound country that has come off the breathtaking industrial improvement of its nearby countries.

Also known as the Land of a Million Elephants Laos is a socially wealthy, land clasped country with a populace of about 6 million. The Laotians are largely Buddhist and are very friendly and courteous people. The official language is Lao, but English is widely spoken. The capital city, Vientiane, edge the Mekong River, which shapes the boundary between Laos and Thailand.

When you are in Vientiane, you should visit to the temples of Wat Phra Keo, Wat Si Saket and the amazing sight on top of the ‘Arc de Triomphe’ giving  a fantastic sight of the confine natural area of Vientiane. The nation’s nearly valuable temple is without doubt the That Luang Stupa that should not be forgotten. Meanwhile during the afternoon, if you have time, stop by the National Cultural Ethnic Park, the Friendship Bridge, or the bizarre Buddha Park. In the morning, don’t forget to pay a visit at the market where you can buy anything from local handicrafts to MP3 players and traditional medicine.

Laos’s second destination is Luang Prabang, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is worthy to be seen. Among other things, you can take pleasure in walking to the top of the Wat Phousy oversee looking the Mekong River, for spectacular sights of close land. Next, you can uncover the marvelous and admirable Wat Xieng Thong Temple. In previous times the ancient temple of Luang Prabang executes a bigger character during cremation rituals for the Laotian kings.

CLIMATE

Laos loves a tropical climate with two obvious seasons, the rainy season from the start of May to the end of September and dry season from October through April. The annual average temperature is about 28 C (82F), and to a maximum of 38 C (100F) in April and May. In Vientiane lowest temperatures of 19 C (66F) can be felt in January. In mountainous areas, temperatures drop to 14-15 C (58F) during the winter months, and cold nights easily reach the freezing point.  The average drizzle is highest in southern Laos, where the Annamite Mountains get over 3000 mm (118 inches) annually. In Vientiane rainfall is about 1500-2000 mm (59 to 79 inches), and in the Northern provinces only 1000-1500 (39 to 59 inches) mm.

Communication

Telephone:

Telephone abbreviates IDD available. Country code: 856. The General Post Office (GPO) offers public telephones for national and international calls. There are also many card phone booths that visitors can access. Roaming adjustments exist with a few international mobile phone companies. Please check with your service provider. Coverage is occasionally and mainly, though not exclusively, situated around Vientiane.
Most of Laos’s excellent hotels now have IDD phones in rooms and it is possible to send faxes from hotels and post offices. Be conscious that most hotels charge amounts for these services, please check with your hotel before traveling. It may not always be possible to make international calls in some areas.

Internet:

margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; border: 0pt none;Internet cafes are situated in cities and towns. Leading hotels have business centers with PCs connected to the Internet. Most of them have wireless broadband access in rooms or public areas. Cyber cafes are popular and are easily found in main towns and cities. Prices are, usually below US$1 per hour. In many Internet cafes, you can buy pre-paid phone cards to dial from a computer to a landline or mobile phone worldwide.
Health

Health care:

Health insurance, contains emergency evacuation, is certainly essential. Doctors and hospitals prefer cash payments for any medical procedures. The cost of medical removal is high. The hospital in Phnom Penh is dependable. It is advice that any tourist brings many supplies of any important personal medication, since that medication may not be available in Cambodia.

Food and drink:

All water should be look at as being conceivably contaminated. Water used for drinking, brushing teeth or making ice should have first been boiled or otherwise sterilized. Milk is not pasteurized and should be boiled. Avoid dairy products that are likely to have been made from un-boiled milk. Only eat well-cooked meat and fish, instead served hot. Vegetables should be cooked and fruit peeled.

Safety

Cambodia is a comparably safe country to visit. As a global rule, we advise tourist never leave your belongings unsupervised and always maintain eye contact or a hard grip on cameras and shoulder bags. Valuables should be put in the safety box in your room, if available, or at the reception. Avoid motorcycles late at night. With concern to landmines, there are still many thousands of land-mines and untouched ordnance in more remote areas of Cambodia. The chances of going these areas unknown to visitors are very small. In rural areas, always ask local advice and don’t go from that.

Money

Currency:

Lao Kip (LAK) = 100 cents. Paper notes are in denominations of LAK5000, 2000, 1000, 500 and 100.

Currency Exchange:

Thai Baht, Euros, and US Dollars are the common currencies to exchange. They are also extensively accepted in shops, markets, and hotels in Vientiane and Luang Prabang.

Credit / Debit Cards and ATMs:

Major credit cards are widely accepted in the more major hotels and restaurants only. There are several ATMs in Vientiane where you can withdraw the kip. Look for ATMs accepting VISA cards. Look for ATMs accepting MasterCard

Traveller’s Cheques:

To avoid more exchange rate charges, visitors are suggested to take traveler’s cheques in US Dollars or Thai Baht.

Banking Hours:

Mon-Fri 0800-1200 and 1330-1730. Some banks are open until lunch.

Currency Restrictions:

The import and export of local currency is prevented. There are no bounds on the import or export of foreign currency, but amounts higher than US$2000 must be stated.

Religion

Buddhism first arrived in Laos amid the eighth century A.D. The unified Kingdom of Lane Xang, in the 14th century officially Buddhism as the countries religion and encouraged the people to leave animism or other religions such as the cult of spirits. The conditions were aimed to develop the Laotian culture around one common faith, Theravada Buddhism.

Currently, this form of Buddhism is now the common religion for 90% of the Lao people. Buddhism is an innate feature of everyday life and put a strong influence on the society. Lao woman can be seen every morning giving alms to monks, earning good deeds to lessen the number of their rebirth. Lao men are expected to become a monk for at least a short time in their lives. Customarily, they spent three months during the rainy season in a Buddhist temple. But presently most men decrease their stay to one or two weeks.

Culture

The Laotians are famous to be friendly and smiling peoples who love freedom with no quarrels or misery. They put great respect for the country and most live with honor and respect for other people. A common example example of this well-known friendliness is the way in which people welcome visitors with a free meal.

Friendship, love, and peace are in the hearts of Lao people. They hate fights or oppressors and their saying is “United we survive and separated, we die”. They enjoy literature and arts, and the country’s old heritage emerges from the national poetry that sees the Laotian way of life.
Theravada Buddhism has given greatly to the Lao culture. It is mirrored throughout the country in its temples, the language, the arts, literature, performing arts and more. Laotian music is influenced by its national instrument, the khaen, a type of bamboo pipe.
Costumes depend on gender and age. Lao women are dressed properly and seen as the mothers of the nation. Lao women wear silk skirts, blouses, and scarves to attend important ceremonies. During special events, Lao women wear scarves and coiled hair styles. Lao men wear salong, big large pants, or peasant pants, to attend important ceremonies.

Lao People gives rich ethnic differences, consist of such groups Hmong, Khmu, Yao, Akha, Lu, etc. Almost all of them have kept their own customs, dialects and cultural dress, there are 47 different groups.

Emergency Numbers of Laos

This numbers is very helpful for the tourists and residents. The emergency numbers of different agencies and government organizations are listed below.

Ambulance of Vientiane municipality

  • 195

Laos Traffic Police emergency number

  • 21-2703

Fire

  • 90 (21-2707)

Laos Police number

  • 191

Security Police of Vientiane Municipality

  • 21-2706

Lao Immigration (Friendship Bridge)

  • 81-2040

Friendship Hospital of Vientiane

  • 71-0006

Settathirath Hospital of Vientiane

  • 35-1156, 35-1135,35-0804

Mahosot Hospital International Clinic in Vientiane

  • 21-4022, 21-4025,

It is important to know that most of emergency numbers are in Vientiane which is the capital of Laos. One cannot find any access to these emergency numbers from the provincial areas in Laos and even from small cities.