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What to Prepare?

Traveling to Laos does need some preparation and this Lao packing list and information below will give you an outline about what you need to pack. Of course this information depends very much on your personal style of travel in Laos. If you are coming by yourself, in a group, on CULTURAL SIGHTSEEING TOUR or on a BAREFOOT JUNGLE ADVENTURE… this list must be adjusted.

But in general it is important to prepare well and get your gear together for an exclusive and adventurous stay in Laos before you leave. And of course, while planning and packing for Laos, you will already enjoy part of the fun you will have.

We at information tour services receive many emails with the question about
“What do I need to bring to Laos”, and “Do you have a Laos packing list”?
And yes, here we have prepared some ideas and answers for you.

  • Passport with minimum 6 month validity left, VERY IMPORTANT!!
  • a good back pack (good quality)
  • a good Travel insurance (check it covers Laos)
  • a second or more photo ID other than your passport
  • drivers license if you wish to go on the road or rent a bike or a car
  • Important scans and documents on hardcopy and on a link on your cloud e.g. dropbox or google drive
  • blood donor/type card in case of…
  • prescriptions for any medication you require. Be assured that most Lao chemists will sell medicine without a script, but if you are searched by immigration it’s good to be able to show you need the medicine you carry.
  • credit cards, not all carrying on the same bag please, and not all of them in your day to day wallet
  • light sleeping bag or blanket for cleanliness if you contreversial topics hang out at backpacker places, others than that – only for trips around October till February
  • sun protection, a hat, mosquito spray and sunscreen (enough of it)  
  • small towel and swim suit, maybe a light outdoor towel – the waterfalls are inviting!
  • good walking shoes and trekking sandals for activities and Fliipflops
  • first aid kit for outdoor activities if you plan such
  • earplugs for the nights you wish for them
  • padlock to prevent steeling and unwanted searching of your bags
  • an easy to wash set of long and short cloths for outdoor use
  • rain protection as our tours are held rain or shine   (especially in June-October)
  • basic toiletries and toilet paper
  • biological shampoo/soap to use on Lao treks
  • string and hooks to hang your cloths
  • games & a good book for on the bus or a lonely night
  • small knife + binoculars flash light and extra batteries
  • candles and lighter make sense, not in hand luggage please
  • Hygiene kit with soap, tissues, toothbrush, tampons…
  • MP3 player with some of your beloved music – unless you use your smartphone
  • useful gifts for your host family, if you join one of our community tours or project community tours in Laos
    (pens, child books and more can be found here as well )

If you plan to travel long distances by motorbike or with our MOTOLAO motorcycle adventure tours in Laos, be sure you get your specific travel packing list before you go. Last but not least, be sure to pack your stuff in solid plastic bags to stop them from getting wet, especially when travelling in the green season or on boats. This will help to prevent some problems along the way.


Remember that proper packing of your stuff in the back pack is also an important thing. Make sure each item is in its own place that you remember, and easy for you to reach. Heavy things close to your back, the lighter things on the top and front. During the green season (june till october) put the items into plastic bags before loading them into another larger plastic bag in your rucksack.


First and most importantly you should bring an open mind and a sense of humour while visiting Laos. Don’t just travel to Laos and come with preconceived ideas about what Laos is like, as media, news, blogs and and friends’ experiences have a habit of distorting reality even before you get here.

If you are traveling with one of our special adventure programs in Laos we do recommend you to bring as little as possible. Most things can probably bought in Bangkok or any other bigger Asian town before you head to Laos.

Laos travel packing essentials start also with a small day pack that you can use on the days out from your guesthouse and hotel. Also, when traveling in Laos, remember darker colored clothes do not need to be washed as often and as long/intensively as others. Also while giving it to a laundry it’s most likely not coming back in different colors. Good shoes are a real travel essential for Laos, as many areas are still very wild and rough, and they should be well worn in, of course shoes or light hiking boots are best bought before arriving.

Make sure you bring some earplugs for when you’re stuck in a noisy bus or sleeping room. Take a mirror for shaving, as often local guesthouses or home stays in Laos won’t have any. Bring also some hooks and a string for hanging up washing or your wet gear. While traveling in Laos, remember to pack some games for long bus rides or the evenings with villagers and friends you meet along. Tampons are not commonly available, and can be bought only in a few expat grocery stores in Vang Vieng, Pakse, Vientiane and Luang Prabang.

Visas and Immigration
All visitors entering Laos must possess valid passports valid for at least six months from the date of entry. On entering Laos visitors must ensure they receive an entry stamp in their passport, as fines for not having one are expensive.


Visa on Arrival
Many visitors may simply choose to get a “Visa-On-Arrival.” Validity starts from day of entry into Laos. Tourist/Business: 30 days (can be extended twice in Vientiane for 30 days). Be sure to bring a couple of passport photos with you.
International Airports
Wattay International Airport in Vientiane Capital.
Luang Prabang International Airport in Luang Prabang Province.
Pakse Internatioanl Airport in Champasack Province.
Savannakhet International Airport in Savannakhet Province.
China-Laos Border
Bohan – Boten , Yunnan to Luang Namtha Province.
Thailand-Laos Border
Chiangkhong – Houixay, Chiang Rai to Bokeo Province.
Nakaxeng – Kaenthao, Loei to Sayabouly Province.
Houai Kon – Nam Ngeun, Nan to Sayabouly Province
Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge I, Nongkhay-Vientiane Capital.
Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge II, Moukdahan-Savannakhet Province.
Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge III, Nakorn Phanom-Khammouane Province.
Chongmek – Vangtao, Ubol Ratchathani to Champasack Province.
Vietnam-Laos Border
Nameo – Banleui, Thanh Hoa to Huaphanh Province.
Namkan – Namkan, Nge An to Xieng Khouang Province.
Keoneua – Nampao (Lak Sao), Ha tinh to Bolikhamxay Province.
Laobao – Dansavanh, Quang tri to Savannakhet Province.
Cambodia-Laos Border
Dong Calor – Veun Kham, Cambodia to Champasack Province.
Travellers holding passports from the following countries, however, are not at this time eligible for Laos Visas-on-Arrival : Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Jordan, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya), Mozambique, Nauru, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Syria (Syrian Arab Republic), Swaziland, Tonga, Turkey, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
According to notice No. 1232 issued on 1 October 2009, by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lao PDR, nationals on the list above must obtain their visas at Lao Embassies or Lao Consulates abroad before essays with dialogue entering Laos. However, there is an exception for those nationals who are an official visits and holding a guarantee from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lao PDR.
Visa in Advance of Travel
Any travellers may also obtain visas from Lao Embassies and Consulates abroad in advance of arrival. This can be done in several ways ? through a tour company recognized by the Lao PDR, for example ? or directly through Lao Embassies or Consulates.
Visa Extensions
For those wishing to stay longer, it is possible to extend the visa at the Immigration Office in Vientiane and through travel agencies.
The extension will cost US $2 per day provided you apply before the expiry date. However, if you leave it until your visa expires you will be fined US $10 for each day you overstayed.
If you are in Vientiane, Laos Visa extension can be done at the Immigration Office behind the Joint Development Bank (JDB) on Lane Xang Avenue, opposite the Morning Market. The office is open Monday-Friday, from 8:00am-4:00pm (closed 12:00 to 13:00 at lunchtime). The office is closed for applications on Friday afternoon.
Requirements for Extension
Your passport
One passport type photo
Service fee of US$3
Application fee of 3,000 kip per person
Visa extension fee : $2 per day if you have valid visa, $10 per day if your visa is already expired (overstayed days)
Get a travel agent or specialist provider to do your Laos visa extension for you.
Most travel agents can arrange a Laos visa extension for you with a small overhead fee. This varies between providers, so shop around for the best deal.
The process is straight forward, just fill out the application form then submit together with your passport and pay the fees. In normal circumstances your visa is usually ready the same day.
If you only plan to stay for a few more days this option could work out best.
If you are in Vientiane it is very easy to simply get a new Visa-on-Arrival: you can take a public bus (around 10,000 kip) to the Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge, complete the immigration exit procedures on the Lao side; the take the shuttle bus (5,000 kip) to the Thai immigration point and enter Thailand. When you’re ready to come back into Laos, you simply need to cross the road to Thai immigration to exit the country. Once again, get the shuttle bus and then arrive at the Lao side, where you can apply for a Laos Visa on Arrival.
Your passport must have at least 6 months of remaining validity and a blank page for a visa stamp and don’t forget to take enough cash (US dollars) for the visa fee and two passport sized photos.

If you need more information about your personal trip and a list of suggestions for the style of travel you will take part in Laos, please let us know and send us a message.

We also publish more information on specific topics on Laos on our travel story blog, news, and updates are published on our Explore Laos website. 

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