Laos was our favourite country while we were travelling through South East Asia but we only spent 13 days there. That’s a shame and something we would change when we go back to Asia. We took the “bus from hell” from Hanoi overnight to Vientiane. We enjoyed the food there, especially the fish on the main streets in Vientiane.
Moving onwards, we visited Vang Vieng, floated down the river and loved the scenery. Our last stop was easily the best one; Luang Prabang where we took hikes out and about as well as enjoyed the night markets and general atmosphere of the town. We then moved on to Thailand with a much more vicious bus trip that I would recommend against and instead suggest a slow boat down the river.
How We Traveled
We travelled overland – as we always do when possible – in regular busses and stayed in private double rooms. As is typical in Asia, the rooms were good value. In Luang Prabang, we actually had some trouble finding a place as it was packed but in the end, this didn’t mean we had to compromise on cost.
We generally ate very well and drank a bit more in Vang Vieng than we normally do. Tubing down the river and lounging in the hammocks was just too much fun to pass up. We enjoyed cafe culture wherever we found it and at nights, often ate at street stalls since, really, they were the most tasty and most fun options available.
As for activities, they usually involved hikes or tubing. All of them were reasonable in price in our estimation. No extreme sports or other expensive outings here. You really don’t need it to have fun in Laos.
What We Paid
We paid $33.92 USD per person per day. Generally, we think that was a pretty fair price to pay and although there were ways to save more, we really got great entertainment and value out of the money.
As mentioned, our hotels were good value. In some cases, particularly in Vientiane, we could have stayed cheaper. All rooms included bathrooms and breakfasts which were usually eggs or bread with tea. Hostels in Laos were generally good value.
New and clean but low value. Poor breakfast. No towels in discount room. Friendly staff. Not recommended.
Very cheap but very, very loud at nights due to party. Wifi and breakfast are good. Very rustic but fun. Recommend only if budget is tight or you don't plan on sleeping.
We ate well in Laos and drank our big Lao beers as we floated down the rivers. The food is very cheap in Laos, usually chicken skewers and rice with some veggies. The only reason our costs were as high as they were was due to a tendency to hang out in a fancy cafe, enjoy the wifi and A/C, and write a post or two while sipping on coffee. This was pure luxury that we could have done without but really enjoyed.
Street stalls were our favourite in Laos for eating, particularly in Luang Prabang where the night market simply cannot be beaten for quality and value. We were regulars at the night market and loved every minute of it.
As always, we didn’t really spend much on shopping. We did take hikes around Luang Prabang and Vang Vieng as well as renting bikes for the day on occasion. But other than that, we didn’t take any really huge day trips or spend a lot on tours.
How To Save More
To save more, we would have cut out the coffee and luxury snacks that we enjoyed. That would have cut down on our food costs. We could have easily cut out 20% there which either shows you how much we love coffee, how expensive coffee can be or how cheap the food in Laos is. I would say it’s a bit of all three.. The accommodations could have been reduced in Vientiane by staying at a more budget option for sure. We would not recommend our hostel in Vientiane. Perhaps a 15% reduction there. Otherwise, I don’t think you could reduce the costs much without going slower and renting rooms on a longer basis which we would suggest when going to Luange Prabang because you’ll love the town too much to leave.
Posts from Our travels in Laos
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