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Laos

Capital
Vientiane
Time Zone
GMT + 7
Telephone Services
Country Code: 856
Outgoing Code: Telephone link exists with Bangkok.
Emergency Telephone Numbers
Not present.
Tourist Information
National Tourism Authority of Laos People’s Democratic Republic, BP 3556, Avenue Lang Xang, Vientiane, Laos Tel: (21) 212 248 Fax: (21) 212 769.
Passport Information
Valid passport required by all. Return ticket required. Requirements may change at short notice. Contact the embassy before departure.
Visa Information
Visa Required by all. Transit passengers are exempt.
Health Information
Polio, Typhoid: Vaccination recommended.
Malaria: Exists all year throughout the country in the Falciparum variety which has been reported as being highly resistant to chloroquine.
Yellow Fever: A vaccination certificate is required for travellers arriving from infected areas.
Other Health Risks: Rabies. Medical services are limited, comprehensive insurance is recommended. Seek medical advice before travel.
Food & Drink
Water is untreated and not safe to drink. Avoid dairy products as they are not pasteurised. Fruit and vegetables should be peeled before consumption.
Currency
Laotian New Kip (Kp) = 100 cents
Exchange: Banks and hotels in Vientiane and Luang Prabang. NOTE: Import and export of local currency is prohibited. Both credit cards and travellers cheques are not accepted
ATM availability: Unavailable.
Cost of Living
Laos is one of the poorest countries in the world. The foreign traveller would expect to pay very little for local items. As hotels are only located in the capital prices may fluctuate.
Languages
Laotian, French, Vietnamese and some English may be spoken.
Weather
Cooler weather in the highlands. Most of the country is hot and tropical, May – Oct has the highest temperatures and is the raining season. Nov – Apr = the dry season.
Electricity
220 Volts AC 50 Hz.
Post
Restricted to Vientiane.
Transport
FLIGHTS: Domestic air services run from Vientiane to Luang Prabang, Pakse and Savannakhet. ROAD: Few roads are suitable for all-weather driving. Do not travel off the main roads. BUS: Services link only a few major towns. CAR HIRE: Arrangements can be made through hotels. DOCUMENTATION: IDP is recommended although not legally required. RIVER: Safety of river craft in the rainy season (when the river is in full spate) is in doubt.
Special Information
Laos has only been accessible to foreign visitors since 1988. Tourists should avoid travelling outside the capital independently as bandits are likely to attack. Religious beliefs must be respected. Avoid all topics relating to politics. Laos nationals should not be touched on the head. Dress neatly and remove shoes when entering religious buildings. Buddha objects are religious images so do not pose in front of them and do not drink or sit on them. Common sense precautions should be followed with regard to personal safety.