Laos Opens to Tourists Once More
Finally. At long last. As of 9th May, Laos opens to international visitors once more.
It’s been a long two years – 777 days to be exact – since Laos closed the borders to international visitors. But, in this recent move, Laos moves to the top of the list of countries with restriction-free access in SE Asia. For fully vaccinated arrivals, there is no quarantine, no testing, no additional requirements whatsoever. Just free, unfettered access to the beauty that Laos has to offer.
So What Next?
Its early days with the reopening, so unless your trip is urgent it may be best to wait a couple of weeks and let things settle. Online visa applications should be up and running in the next few days for those that need them, otherwise visa-on-arrival, as in the pre-covid days, is available.
A lot has changed since Laos was last open to international visitors. The new highway between Vientiane and Vang Vieng has cut travel time down from 4-5 hours to just 1.5 hours making the journey northwards quicker, and much more comfortable. Further facilitating travel northwards, Laos’ first train line has opened running from Vientiane to Vang Vieng and then onwards to Luang Prabang, Oudomxay and Luang Namtha in the far north of Laos. A trip that might have taken 20 hours by bus before, can now be done in less than 4, and with much less bumps, blind corners and potholes.
The Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism has launched a programme called LaoSafe, designed to instill some good practices in relation to Covid-19 prevention. You can choose from a selection of airlines, hotels, restaurants, tour guides and drivers who have been trained and accredited (see list here). Alternatively, ask your travel agent about this and request LaoSafe approved suppliers in any tour package.
As Laos begins this new journey, I am sure you must have plenty of questions as you prepare for a return to Laos. Please feel free to drop me a line, add a question in the comments below or reach out through our social media channels and I’d be happy to try and help out.