LAOS TRAVEL & TOURS - LAOS TRAVEL INFORMATION
Greetings and thank you for joining us for the
trip of a lifetime. First and foremost, despite the challenges you may have
heard or read about the region, we are here to ensure your trip goes not only
smoothly, but is one of the most remarkable you've ever had. For us, your trip
preparation begins well before you depart with careful planning and
arrangements. On your part, please relax, we'll let you know what and when we
need anything from you and what you should be doing (if anything aside from
browsing through a few books about where you will be traveling). Again, let us
sweat the details, that's what you've entrusted us to do!
About 60 to 90 days before your depart, you will
receive printed materials from us in your pre-tour packet. Please inspect and
read thrse documents carefully, some, such as your visa on arrival authorization
form, may be required for entry into the country you are traveling to. Most of
these documents are posted here if you wish to get an early start. Of course,
please don't hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have. We would
also be happy to place you in contact with our past travelers for their advice.
Important: Your passport must be valid for six months beyond the ending date of
your trip; please check your passport is indeed valid for this amount of time.
Myanmar, Vietnam, Bhutan, and China require visa or visa authorization before
arrival, which Luxury Travel will assist with securing*. Unless transiting
through the airport, these countries also require a re-entry visa if passing
through more than once. For all other countries, your visa will be processed
after arrival, including Laos and Cambodia. Thailand, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan,
and Singapore do not require a visa. For visa information by country, please
see our Visa
information page. For specific visa procedures and forms, also see by
*Although Luxury Travel may assist with obtaining
visas or visa on arrival authorization, each traveler bears the ultimate
responsibility to ensure they have the required documentation for entry.
Immunizations and Vaccinations
Health vaccinations are not required. However, health requirements may change
and we recommend you check with a medical professional and the Centers for Disease Control Web site for current
information on your destinations. Malaria does not occur in most places where
you will likely be traveling. For an incidence map, please search on the CDC's Malaria Map Application. Although
Malaria data is limted for Myanmar, it does not occur in cities (Yangon and
Mandalay) and does not occur in Bagan nor Shan State over 1,000 meters (which
includes Inle Lake, Kalaw, and Maymyo).
Emergency Contacts & Insurance
ll travelers (except to China) are covered for emergency medical and air
evacuation insurance through the Global Traveler Program by International SOS
(Membership No: 12148-B). International SOS operates its own medical
clinics and offices in-country with locations in Bangkok, Phnom Penh, Yangon,
Beijing, Shanghai, Hue, Hanoi, and Saigon and provides our travelers with air
evacuation services to Singapore or Bangkok if deemed necessary. Please note:
Global Traveler Program does not cover air evacuation to any location but
Singapore or Bangkok nor subsequent medical expenses after evacuation, please
supplement this insurance with your own coverage. Luxury Travel is not
affiliated with SOS International and does not warrant any claim or
responsibility for their services: Travelers are ultimately responsible for contacting
with SOS and arranging for services required.
Despite the region's history, Indochina and Myanmar are now amongst the safest
places in the world to travel where physical crime against travelers is unheard
of and even theft is rare. When traveling with us, please entrust your your
possessions and valuables to your vehicle, always carefully watched by your
driver. When not with us, please leave your valuables and travel documentation
in your hotel safe.
Check-in luggage on most international carriers is now restricted to one bag
weighing no more than 50 lbs. (23 kg). Regional and domestic carriers limit
bags to 40-44 lbs (18-20 kg) and may charge steep overweight fees. There is no
limit to hand luggage or carry-on luggage weight as it is not typically checked
except for size.
Plan on bringing U.S. Currency for most expenses, which remains widely accepted
throughout the region and indeed, is the only acceptable currency for some
transactions such as visa fees or airline departure taxes. Although you may use
credit cards (except AMEX) for fine dining and larger purchases in Indochina,
only cash is accepted in Myanmar. Please refer to your country departure notes
(below) for suggested amounts and denominations to bring. ATMs are common in
larger cities but may be inconvenient and unreliable. Travelers checks carry a
hefty 4% surcharge to cash.
Internet & Telecommunications
Wifi or wired Internet is now ubiquitous in regional hotels, airports and even
cafes. Myanmar and northern Laos can have reduced speeds, but connection is
still easy to obtain. Note that your mobile phone will work fine with a roaming
plan in Indochina (coverage in Vietnam is excellent), even in remote areas,
except in Northern Laos where coverage can be sptty. In Myanmar, no foreign
carriers have coverage. For Myanmar, mobile phones with international calling
capability may be rented at the Yangon airport with pre-paid SIM cards from
Most hotels in
Indochina and Myanmar now use clever dual French and American style outlets,
accepting both type of plugs (right). Your iPad, Kindle, laptop, mobile phone,
and camera adapter will likely accept the 220-volt current automatically, but
check the fine print on the adapter.
Note that with the exception of Thailand, Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore, all
tipping in Indochina and Myanmar tipping is preferred in US dollars. Tipping is
not expected in restaurants, where like in Europe a service charge is typically
included in the bill. For informal, street cafes a small tip is appreciated. An
appropriate tip for hotel porters and other service providers is $1-2. Cleaning
staff get about $2 a day, left at the end of your stay on the nightstand, where
it's easily visible. Masseuse, $5 to $10. For guides, the range for tipping,
dependent on your satisfaction of course, is from $20-100 per day for a couple
(double this amount for families or small parties). For larger groups, an
appropriate range is $100 and up for your entire party/per day. Drivers are
tipped about half the guide rate.
What to expect
This is not a grand tour of Europe, but hopefully why you have come - for an
authentic, deep cultural experience in countries closed off to the world for
decades. You will be very safe, always looked after, can expect wonderful
service, and a comfortable and a typically pleasant if not exceptional trip.
However, Indochina remains a primitive, undeveloped country with the
inconveniences are random issues that arise with travel in such places.