To western travelers, Laos is not an expensive country to visit, although it is more expensive when compared to some other popular destinations in Southeast Asia.
This is because Laos is landlocked and has little domestic food or good production, so the majority of products need to be imported from other countries, which also raises the prices for services and transportation to a higher-than-average level for the region.
Therefore, before organizing their Laos online visa, visitors wishing to visit the country while spending as little as possible should first consider planning a budget for Laos.
Is Laos Expensive to Travel?
The most expensive parts of Laos to visit is the capital of Vientiane and the city of
Luang Prabang: outside of these areas costs are considerably cheaper.
However, visiting Laos is not more expensive than a trip to Vietnam: travelers could expect to spend as much as US$275 for a week’s stay in Vietnam, while the equivalent in Laos can be enjoyed for under US$200.
The most expensive time to visit Laos is during the tourist high season from November to March, especially during Lao New Year, when hotel and restaurant prices rise considerably.
How Much Money Do I Need Per Day in Laos?
How much budget tourists need to travel to Laos really depends on the level of comfort and which activities they plan to experience while in the country.
It is perfectly possible to get around the country on a backpacking budget for Laos (around US$10 – $35 per day), which will cover basic hostel accommodation, cheap street food, public transportation, and a couple of paid activities each day.
Travelers who wish to experience a greater level of comfort in the country should plan for a mid-range spending budget for Laos of approximately 588,000 Laotian Kip (US$65) per day, which will cover a private hotel room or hostel dorm, more upmarket restaurant meals, taxis, and more paid activities per day.
How Much Does a Meal Cost In Laos?
The price of food and drink in Laos can vary, although the average price of a cheap meal is roughly ₭25, 000 (less than 3 US dollars), while the daily cost of eating out on a lower budget should not exceed ₭97,000 (around US$10).
Travelers can expect to pay between ₭25,000 to ₭60,000 (US$3-7) for a meal in a mid-range restaurant while dining in a high-end eatery could cost between ₭60,000 to ₭100,000 (US$7-12).
Laos Accommodation Costs
The type of accommodation in Laos travelers choose to stay in will depend on how much of their budget they are willing to spend for extra creature comforts.
Those on a budget for backpacking around Laos will able to stay in a cheap hostel dormitory in the main cities for less than ₭100,000 per person (around US$12), and other parts of the country for roughly ₭80,000 (under US$10).
Travelers who want to enjoy a little more luxury could expect to pay between ₭150 000 to ₭500 000 (US$18- 60) for a private hotel room in most of the country.
However, prices in Vientiane and Luang Prabang tend to be a little higher, around ₭200 000 to ₭550 000 (US$23- 64) depending on the quality of the establishment.
How to Stick to a Budget in Laos
Sticking to the budget of a Laos trip is relatively easy if the traveler follows these simple tips:
- Swap currency at a money exchange – Although travelers are able to exchange money in Laos at a number of places in the country, including at local banks and border crossing points, the better rates are usually found at money exchange offices.
- Eat local food – A simple way to save on your food budget for Laos is to avoid western food, which tends to be much more expensive, while in the country and eat local.
- Carry a water bottle with filter – As it is not advisable to drink the tap water in Laos, it’s a good idea to bring your own water receptacle with a purifying filter to both save on money and the need to constantly buy throwaway plastic bottles.
- Organize your own transportation and activities – If staying at a hostel in Laos, some of these establishments may offer outings to popular attractions with an organized group. However, it is often much cheaper to hire a tuk-tuk or taxi yourself to get to tourist sites, and this option also allows you to operate on your own schedule.
Those wishing to save even more for their Loas budget should consider comparing flight prices on flight and hotel comparison pages, before making any reservations.