09 Mar Laos Travel Costs for Six Weeks
So far, Laos has been our cheapest country to travel in, costing nearly £5 less per day than its closest rival Indonesia. We spent 44 days travelling in Laos altogether; about four weeks during November in the north of the country and another two weeks during February in the south. Overall, we had quite a chilled out and relaxed time in Laid-Back Laos, visiting plenty of waterfalls and temples and although the country is land-locked, we still managed to find time to see some islands! Here’s what we spent during our six-week stay in Laos.
Activity Costs in Laos
Activites were fairly cheap in Laos and included lots of waterfall, museum and temple entrance fees. We saw a lot of waterfalls in Laos and they were some of the most impressive we’ve seen on our trip, especially in the Bolaven Plateau where we discovered seven in two days while motoring around. More expensive activities in the north of the country included our tubing in Laos experience in Vang Vieng and an interesting tour of the caves in Vieng Xai, where thousands of people lived for years during the secret war in Laos.
Entry to Nam Dee Waterfall, Luang Namtha
£0.30 (one person)
Entry to That Luang Namtha Stupa
£0.30 (one person)
Entry to Phousy Hill, Luang Prabang
Entry to Luang Prabang National Museum
£2.40 (one person)
Entry to Vat Xieng Thong, Luang Prabang
Massages in luang Prabang
Kuang Si Waterfall Entrance fee
Tubing in Vang Vieng (Including Tuk Tuk)
Massages in Vang Vieng
Plain of Jars Site One Entrance Fee
That Foun Stupa Entrance Fee
Vieng Xai Caves Tour
Don Khon Waterfalls Entry Fee
Tad Itou Waterfall Entry (Including parking)
Tad Yeuang Waterfall Entry (Including parking)
Tad Champi Waterfall Entry (Including parking)
Tad Fane Waterfall Entry (Including parking)
Pha Souam Waterfall (Including parking)
Cost of Laos Hotels
We found our cheapest accommodation so far while travelling in Laos, at £7.58 per day this was quite a bargain with the cheapest room costing just £5.54 per night. All of our rooms included hot water, if the weather was hot enough then we had air con in the room (except on Don Det where the prices were a little higher). About half of our rooms had a TV and fridge and we were able to find clean rooms upon arrival pretty much wherever we went. We stayed in guesthouses and budget hotels; the majority of owners could speak English and were able to help with any problems we may have had. In Xam Neua and Don Khong it was a little bit more difficult to communicate since there are fewer tourists in these areas.
Laos Food Costs
Our food costs in Laos were quite average for our trip so far. However, we both found the food in Laos pretty unappealing and experienced food-related illnesses more than once while we were there. Local food is pretty typical of Asia and consists of rice, soups and noodles with vegetables and meat; the main difference from other countries seems to be food hygiene standards (hence the stomach problems) and the fact that locals eat any kind of animals, dogs, cats, bats and rats included. In Vientiane and Luang Prabang it was easier to find some decent food as there were a lot of more western-style cafes; we also ate a lot of Indian food. Xam Neua and Pakse were probably the worst places for fussy eaters or vegetarians.
Cost of Transportation in Laos
Transport in Laos leaves a lot to be desired; the roads are bumpy, windy and narrow for a start. There aren’t any trains so you’ll end up on local buses which are cramped and in disrepair and the drivers seem to be the only people in the whole country who are in a rush – and still they end up hours late! We had some of the worst journeys of our trip to date in Laos, including a 13-hour ride from Xam Neua to Luang Prabang on an old and packed local bus. When we travelled somewhere by local bus we usually had to pay a standard 10,000LAK (Laos Kip) (£0.80) each to get a tuk-tuk from the bus station to the town, whereas if we travelled by tourist minibus we would be picked up from and dropped off at our guesthouses.
Huay Xai to Luang Namtha: £9.50
Luang Namtha to Luang Prabang: £18.60
Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng: £16.60
Minibus Vang Vieng to Vientiane: £9.50
Vientiane to Phonsavanh: £25.30
Phonsavanh to Mueng Kham: £3.90
Minibus Mueng Kham to Phonsavanh: £3.90
Minibus Phonsavanh to Xam Neua: £12.60
Xam Neua to Luang Prabang: £20.50
Minibus and boat Cambodia (Kratie) to Don Det: £19.30
Boat and minibus Don Det to Pakse: £7.50
Bus and Boat Pakse to Don Khong: £9.00
Boat and minibus Don Khong to Pakse: £10.50
One taxi for the day: £13.80
11 Tuk-tuks in total: £25.50
12 hour rental in Phonsavanh for £5.50, Fuel for £1.60
48 hour rental in Pakse for £7.50, Fuel for £4.10
Six bikes in total: £6.20
Our miscellaneous costs were pretty high for Laos due to visas and bribes. Since we entered Laos in the north and went on to travel through Vietnam and Cambodia before crossing overland back into southern Laos, we doubled our visa costs. In addition to this, while crossing the border from Thailand to Laos was completely stress-free and above board, the border crossings between Cambodia and Laos and Laos to Thailand involved paying extra ‘bribes’ to the corrupt Cambodian and Laos officials in order to be stamped in and out. We don’t mind giving a bit more money to the locals but this is clearly corruption, none of those ‘overtime fees’ (as they are often called) go anywhere but the officials’ back pockets.
We also had our usual laundry and toiletry costs and had to pick up a few bits of clothing in Laos; while visiting the COPE Centre in Vientiane and MAG and UXO Survivors in Phonsavanh we made some small donations too. One annoying thing about Laos is that you have to pay to use the ATMs and unlike in Thailand, where you can draw money directly from the bank to avoid fees, there’s no way of doing this in Laos. So, whenever we used an ATM in Laos we were charged about £3. I would recommend taking US Dollars or Thai Baht with you and changing it once you enter Laos to avoid paying constant ATM fees.
Laos Visas (twice)
Laundry (Five times)
Postage costs (Packaging, stamps, cards)
Clothing (Flip flops, hoodie, bracelets)
Total Laos Travel Costs for Six Weeks
So there you have it, Laos is our cheapest country yet to travel in. Although we were sick at times and had some horrid journeys we still enjoyed our time in Laos; the friendly and laid-back people are so welcoming and the countryside is beautiful, just be careful with the food! Here are our total Laos Travel costs for 44 days: