Accommodation in Laos can range from hotels to guesthouses to campsites. The best options for international visitors depend largely on the part of the country they are staying in and the purpose of their trip.
In major Laotian towns and cities like the capital, Vientiane, accommodation is generally high quality, with good facilities and services available even from the more affordable options.
Much of the country is rural and away from the main settlements of Laos accommodation is generally a lot more basic and limited. That said, there are many guesthouses across the country and opportunities for eco-tourism with various lodges in the National Protected Areas.
Where to Stay in Laos
Laos is a very rural country with beautiful natural landscapes. Closed off to the outside world until the 1990s, it is now a desirable destination for honeymooners, eco-tourists, and travelers interested in seeing ancient temples and impressive historical sites.
When looking for accommodation in Laos, Vientiane is one of the main destinations for overseas travelers. The capital of Laos is relatively small, with many of its buildings dating back to its colonial past as part of the French Empire.
However, Vientiane is growing rapidly. Various luxurious and high-rise developments have appeared on its skyline in recent years, hotels among them.
Other cities have plenty of hotels, hostels, and other accommodation options for travelers.
Luang Prabang is one of the most popular Laotian cities due to its status as one of Laos’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The tourist-oriented town of Vang Vieng is a destination for backpackers and more active travelers, with opportunities for rock climbing, hiking, and kayaking.
Accommodation is widespread in locations like these due to the number of international visitors.
What Are the Accommodation Options in Laos?
There are a number of options for Laos accommodation. Vientiane, Luang Prabang, and other popular destinations tend to have plenty of availability for visitors.
There are many hotel options in major towns and cities, which range from budget to luxury. Facilities and services tend to be modern and good quality, even in the most affordable places.
In rural areas, facilities tend to be more basic and services are limited, particularly in budget hotels. However, guesthouses are found in all parts of the country and can provide the perfect home away from home for visitors.
Finding a Hotel in Laos
There are various 5-star hotels in Vientiane and especially in Luang Prabang, whose UNESCO-listed center and colonial buildings have made it one of Laos’s most popular destinations.
Hotel chains like Orient Express and Aman have opened in Laos, while other independent hotels offer similar levels of luxury.
Hotels can be the perfect Laos accommodation option for travelers staying in cities, couples on their honeymoon, or visitors looking for a bit of luxury during their stay.
When Should I Book a Hotel for Laos?
It is always a good idea to book a hotel in advance. This is especially true if you are planning to visit Laos in the high season when there is an influx of tourists.
The seasons for the tourist industry in Laos are as follows:
- High season: November—April
- Low season: May—September
The high season also coincides with several festivals, including Christmas, New Year, and Lao New Year (April), when accommodation is in high demand and hotels are often booked out months in advance.
Conversely, booking a hotel in the low season is much cheaper and travelers may be able to bargain for a good price.
Guesthouses in Laos
Guesthouses and B&Bs have become a popular option for accommodation in Laos, with many springing up across the nation in recent years.
Budget guesthouses tend to only be available around tourist hubs such as Luang Prabang and Vang Vieng. However, mid-range bed and breakfasts and guesthouses are widely available even in more rural parts of Laos.
Guesthouses are a more intimate type of accommodation and a great way to experience Laotian culture, giving visitors more opportunities to interact with locals.
It is recommended to book guesthouses well in advance, particularly if visiting Laos during peak season.
Can You Go Camping in Laos?
There are a number of opportunities to go camping in Laos, mainly in the country’s National Protected Areas. Depending on the area, campers might be pitching their tent by a scenic lake or deep in a bamboo forest.
Campsites and camping expeditions are organized and usually involve going as part of a group.
Camping is available in the following locations:
- Phou Khao Khouay National Protected Area, Vientiane prefecture/Vientiane province
- Nam Ha Forest Camp (in Nam Ha National Protected Area), Luang Namtha province
- Xe Pian National Protected Area (short camping trips from Kiet Ngong Village), Champasak province
Rafting and camping trips are also available in Luang Prabang province.
Ecotourism Accommodation in Laos
Laos has various eco-lodges for travelers who want to get closer to nature. These tend to be located away from towns and cities, where visitors can enjoy the scenery and engage in outdoor activities.
Eco-lodges in Laos include:
- Laopako (50km/31 miles from Vientiane)
- Boat Landing Guest House (Luang Namtha province)
- Kingfisher Lodge (Champassak province)
- Kamu Lodge (near Luang Prabang)
Do you Have to State Your Accommodation When Applying for a Laos Visa?
To visit Laos, travelers from most countries will need a visa. Many nationalities are eligible to apply for the Laos eVisa via internet or obtain a visa on arrival (VOA).
Unlike many countries’ electronic visas and travel authorization systems, the online Laos eVisa application form does not require the traveler to list their accommodation.
However, international visitors who choose to queue for a visa on arrival when they land in Laos must provide proof of accommodation for the visa application.
The eVisa is generally recommended over the VOA, given that all nationalities who are eligible for the VOA can also apply for an eVisa. The online application is simpler and avoids the need to stand in line to obtain the visa at the Laotian border.
The ability to apply in advance also allows time to correct any errors and resolve any potential problems with supporting documents, rather than waiting until you arrive in Laos.