Laos Country Guide

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Cost

Some Laotians consider tourists as "cash cows" and whilst not as bad as in Vietnam, they will take whatever tourists are willing to pay. However, honest and decent Laotians far out number the dodgy characters, especially outside the main tourist areas. As can be expected it's worse in the tourist centres of Luang Prabang and Vang Vieng than in the smaller towns and villages.
 
 
 
 
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Laos is more expensive than Thailand or Cambodia, as most goods including petrol and food are imported from Thailand and Vietnam. Some people, especially tuk-tuk drivers, consider USD1 as being equivalent to 10,000 kip, where as the official exchange rate is better. Hotels are of lower quality and you pay more in Laos compared to Thailand or Cambodia. Furthermore, dishes served at the restaurants are smaller and the tuk-tuks more of a rip-off. Unlike in Thailand, access to the temples in Luang Prabang is not free with an entrance fee typically being 10,000 kip. 

Night market in Luang Prabang by Allie Caulfield

A budget of USD40 a day is a good rule of thumb, though it's possible to get by on less. Excluding transportation, living on USD15 a day should not be too difficult. 
  • A basic room with shared bathroom can be as little as USD6 in Vang Vieng, rising to USD10-15 in Vientiane and Luang Prabang. Outside of the tourist centres, rooms can be as low as USD2.50 per night and even at Si Phan Don for USD5 per night.
  • Meals are usually under USD5 for even the most elaborate Lao, Thai or Vietnamese dishes although Western food is more expensive - a large bowl of noodle soup is around USD1. 
  • A local bus from Vientiane to Vang Vieng costs USD5 and slow boat from Luang Prabang to Huay Xai costs USD25. 

Vientiane-Pakse bus by Ilya Plekhanov

 
Laos
Country Guide

Laos Hotels
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Champasak
Huay Xai
Louang Namtha
Luang Prabang
Muang Sing
Pakse
Phonsavan
Savannakhet
Thakhek
Vang Vieng
Vientiane

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