Feedback on Laos: Waterfalls, caves and smiles!

Administrative

  • Visa (Tourism), 30 days validity, single entry:
    • Piece of advice: Take USD with you to get through customs, unless you want to pay extra by 20%…
    • 30$/pp + 1$/pp for overtime fees if you get there after 4PM… (It’s official, according to the Belgian Enbassy in Laos)
  • Currency: Lao Kip (LAK) ; 1€ ~ 10.000 LAK (February 2018)
  • Local bank fees: 20.000 LAK to 60.000 LAK, depending on the bank and withdrawal amount (2.000.000 LAK tops, 60.000 LAK fee)
  • Language: Lao and dialects, Chinese, a bit of French, a bit of English, …

 


Our itinerary

 


Our stay

03/03/2018 – 28/03/2018 ; 23 days

 


Our best pics

 

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Temple, Oudomxay
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Countryside,  Oudomxay
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Our rented motorbike in Oudomxay
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Namkat waterfall, Oudomxay
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Chom Ong cave, Oudomxay
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Climbing up the hills, Nong Khiaw
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Viewpoint from the top, Nong Khiaw

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Viewpoint at Phu Si hill, Luang Prabang
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Kuang Si falls, Luang Prabang

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Kuang Si main waterfall, Luang Prabang
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Great menu in a restaurant, Vang Vieng :p
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Trekking in Nong Khiaw

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Lu Si cave, Vang Vieng
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Cows chilling along the river, Vang Vieng
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Blue Lagoon, Vang Vieng
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Buddha park, Ventiane

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Waterfalls, Bolavens Plateau, Pakse

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Cascades Tad Somphamit (3)
Samphamit waterfalls, 4000 islands

Cascades Tad Somphamit (7)

Cascades Tad Somphamit (15)

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Global and average daily expenses for two people

  • Admission (visa, temples, waterfalls, caves, toilets) : 121€ (including 28€/pp Visa fee and 25€/pp for all waterfalls and caves)
  • Transport (Bus, minivan, tuk-tuk and motorbike) : 152€ (34€/pp bus, 12€/pp tuk-tuk, 20€/pp minivan and 10€/pp motorbike)
  • Food : 314€ (1,5-5€/pp for a basic dish, count 6,5€/pp a day)
  • Hotel : 183€ (7-8€/a night)
  • Tips (bank fees, exchange fees, guide fees and misc): 36€ (21€ bank fees, 5€ guide fees and 6€ exchange fees)
  • Others (laundry, shopping and motorbike gas) : 46€

 

Global expense: 853€

Average daily expense for two people: 32€ (excluding visa fees)

 


Global feedback

  • + + :
    • Gorgeous landscape, nature, waterfalls and caves
    • Cheap transports
    • Comfortable accommodations, even for 10€/night
    • Laotians smile a lot and are nice!
    • Laotians have a zen attitude and are totally unstressed people
    • Food and milkshakes are delicious (sugarless)
    • Streets and towns are clean, generally speaking (definitely better than India, but not as clean as Thailand is)
  • – – :
    • English is not that widely spread, which makes communicating difficult
    • Corruption and suspicious fees (2$ tampon fees, fake overtime fee, …)
    • Public toilets are not free
    • Cheap basic food, but trying something new (even local) is always twice or three times the price for the basics
    • Sugar everywhere, in every beverage! You definitely have to specify it without sugar unless you want to get diabetes!
    • Crappy roads with potholes (driving motorbike is a nightmare)
    • Tourists everywhere! Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang in particular feel like resorts and overwhelmed with our western culture

 


Feedback and feelings on our trip

We expected a lot from Laos, its nature, wilderness, waterfalls and caves and we were not disappointed at all! We enjoyed Kuang Si falls in Luang Prabang, Somphamit falls in the 4000 islands, Chom Ong cave in Oudomxay, Lu Si cave in Vang Vieng and our treks in Nong Khiaw and Vang Vieng!

Information and advice are quite scarce on the web and we thought we would get away from mass tourism, but were disappointed to see so much western influence in Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang. We planned on chilling and relaxing at the 400 islands, but the place atmosphere did not seduce us. Overwhelmed by mass tourism, isolated from the land, overpriced and locals could have been nicer in our opinion.

English was often an issue in most places and it was frustrating not being able to discuss with locals to learn about their culture and way to live. We cannot help but think we missed out a great deal as a consequence.

Crossing the borders by land from Thailand and to Cambodia left us powerless and tired because of their corrupted customs officers. It is really a shame that they act this way with tourists

How about you? Ever been to Laos or maybe considering to get there? What do you think about it? Share your opinions with us in comments!

 

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