Travel to Laos

Street in Luang Prabang Laos

The urban-rural differences are becoming more and more apparent in Laos. In the capital you can get many luxury goods in addition to everyday necessities, while malnutrition is still an issue in rural areas. Even if many corners of the country are still not easy to travel to, a trip is worthwhile, and for the daring, Laos offers not only tourist attractions but also special culinary delights.

Corona – Current information November 2020

Unnecessary tourist trips to Laos are currently discouraged due to the ongoing entry restrictions.

Epidemiological situation

The incidence of infections in Laos is at a low level. The regional focus so far has been Vientiane and Luang Prabang.

The spread of the respiratory disease COVID-19 has meanwhile led to an extensive closure of Laos. All state border crossings have been closed to passenger traffic since March 23, 2020.

The flight connections between Laos and the states of the region are suspended with the exception of China. This means that Laos is cut off from the important transfer airports. There are still few flight connections between Laos and China.

The issuance of a “Visa upon Arrival” or an e-Visa has generally been suspended for entry into Laos until further notice. Tourist visas are no longer issued at all. Other visas, e.g. for business travelers, must be applied for at the responsible Laotian diplomatic mission in the country of departure.

An exit from Laos is currently only possible with irregular charter flights – currently via Incheon / South Korea with a connection to Europe. The transit stay in South Korea must not exceed a period of 24 hours. Before leaving the country, German citizens must report to the German embassy, as the latter must notify the Laotian foreign ministry of their departure.

Source: Federal Foreign Office

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Lao Ministry of Health offer an overview of the current situation.

Entry

The following information is currently not valid due to the corona pandemic.

A visa is required for German citizens. If you need a work visa for a longer stay, find out more about the exact formalities at your sending organization and at the Lao Embassy in Berlin. German citizens currently pay EUR 40 for a 30-day tourist visa.

Tourist visas are issued for a period of 30 days directly at the official border crossings as ” Visa on Arrival “. A passport that is still valid for six months is required. At the international Wattay Airport in Vientiane it all happens very quickly. Beware of intermediaries who sell visas before the border, these are usually more expensive.

In general, there is also the option of applying for an e-visa.

To prepare for your stay in Laos, there is a variety of literature that deals with a wide variety of topics related to Laos. In the Laos Diary, the author, who lived with her family in Laos for several years, shares wonderfully amusing observations of everyday life in Laos and thus allows an insight into the contradicting reality of the country.

Street in Luang Prabang Laos

Travel and transportation

According to a2zgov, the tourist infrastructure of Laos is developing rapidly, among other things within the framework of international development programs that focus on sustainable tourism and demand and promote a smooth integration of tourism into everyday Laotian rural life. In addition to the official offers of the Laotian Tourism Authority (LNTA), there are more and more interesting travel offers from different providers, including river cruises on the Mekong.

Despite the lack of beaches and access to the sea, Laos has become a popular travel destination in the region in recent years: In 2020, the readers of the British travel magazine Wanderlust awarded Laos 3rd place to their favorite travel destination of the past year. Luang Prabang ranks 11th in the list of popular architecture travel destinations in 2020 by Architectural Digest magazine. The 3rd Visit Laos Year was proclaimed in 2018. In May 2013, Laos was awarded the prize as the world’s best travel destination by the European Council on Tourism and Trade. For three years in a row (2010-2012), the readership of the British travel magazine Wanderlust chose the old royal city of Luang Prabang as the number 1 travel destination

Each of the three regions of North, South and Central Laos offers certain attractions. These can be combined well with festivals. In February, for example, the Wat Phou Festival is celebrated in the southern province of Champasack. The Lao New Year “Pi Mai” in April is celebrated most beautifully in Luang Prabang in the north.

In addition to private cars, various public transport options are available to travel to Laos, such as buses and songthaews – a kind of shared taxi with two (song) banks (thaeow), airplanes, as well as slow river boats and speedboats, which are not advisable because they are are loud and dangerous.

Stay healthy

Due to inadequate medical care, you should familiarize yourself with preventative medical information and tips. Information and links to hospitals for emergencies.

There are no vaccination regulations for direct entry from Germany. The Federal Foreign Office provides information about recommended vaccinations through its medical advice for travelers to Laos: ” Hepatitis A is recommended as travel vaccination, and hepatitis B, typhoid, rabies and Japanese encephalitis are recommended for long-term stays or special exposure “.

The Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine also recommends a polio vaccination or booster.

A leaflet from the Federal Foreign Office provides information on the occurrence of malaria as well as recommendations for prevention and emergency self-treatment.