Getting to Laos
Bordered with 5 countries there are many ways to get into Laos and you can be as adventurous as you dare.
Laos – Luscious landscapes, winding rivers, beautiful people. With an experience to offer everyone, a visit to Laos will leave you with long-lasting and treasured memories. Here is some travel information about getting around Laos.
Getting into Laos is easier than ever, and travellers from many countries can get 30-day tourist visa at nearly all border points.
Travellers holding passports from the following countries are not eligible for Laos Visas on Arrival: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Jordan, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Mozambique, Nauru, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Syria, Swaziland, Tonga, Turkey, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
The Lao government issues 30-day tourist visas on arrival at all international airports and most international border crossings.
You need between US$ 20 and US$ 42 cash, one passport-size photo, the name of a hotel or guesthouse and phone number. Those without a photo will have to pay an additional fee of about US$ 2. The visa fee varies depending on the passport of origin, with Canadians having to fork out the most (US$ 42) and most other nationalities paying between US$ 30 and US$ 35. It is recommended to pay in US$. No other foreign currencies are accepted at Airports. Overland you can use Thai Baht but the Visa fee becomes about 1,500 Thb which is approx. $48.
For those not eligible for a visa on arrival, Lao embassies and consulates abroad offer 30-day tourist visas. The process involves approximately the same cost and documentation as described above and generally takes three working days. In Bangkok you can get your visa on the same day for an additional 200B express fee.
Business visas, valid for 30 days, are relatively easy to obtain as long as you have a sponsoring agency in Laos. A business visa can be extended up to a year.
The 30-day tourist visa is extendable an additional 30 days at a cost of US$ 2 per day, although this can only be done in Vientiane and Luang Prabang. Visa can be extended for 30 days, two times, to the maximum stay duration of 3 months without leaving the country. Visa extensions are available at the Immigration Department in Vientiane, Immigration Office in Luang Prabang, the Police station in Pakse, Police Station opposite the Lao-Mongolian Hospital in Phonsavan. Visa extensions are not possible in Savannakhet, however you can do a visa run by crossing the border to Thailand.
Overstaying a visa is not a major crime, but it is expensive. It costs US$ 10 for each day overstayed, paid at the immigration checkpoint on departure.
Customs inspections at ports of entry are lax as long as you're not bringing in more than a moderate amount of luggage. You're not supposed to enter the country with more than 500 cigarettes or 1 litre of distilled spirits. All the usual prohibitions on drugs, weapons and pornography apply.