Laos

The red fields in the flag represent the bloodshed in the struggle for independence. Blue represents the country’s wealth. The white disk represents the moon over the Mekong River and also the country’s unity under the communist leadership. The flag is unusual in that it is the only national flag of a communist country that does not contain a star.
Today’s Laotian flag was used as the party flag of the Pathet Lao Communist Party during the civil war of 1953. The party seized power in 1975, and the new national flag was introduced in conjunction with the abolition of the monarchy.
The Democratic People’s Republic of Laos was formed in 1975. With this, the flag that was used as the party flag for the Communist Party Pathet Lao during the civil war in 1953 was also introduced as the national flag.

The red field in the flag represents the blood shed in the struggle for independence. The blue represents the country’s wealth. The white circle represents the moon over the Mekong River and also the country’s unity under the communist leadership. The flag is unusual in that it is the only national flag of a communist country that does not contain a star.

Living in Laos can be both a relaxing and, at times, infuriating experience. While the people of Laos generally have quite a laid-back attitude to life, widespread government corruption can make many of the simple things you take for granted in other countries hard to come by. For example, the government has a tight grip on the media within Laos and is responsible for publishing all of the country’s newspapers, as well as controlling all of the TV channels. Despite this, if you are interested in living and working in a country that is rich in natural beauty, Laos couldn’t be better. With stunning wilderness, rugged mountains and the shimmering Mekong River, Laos is rich in natural diversity.

Before you go

Ensure you have comprehensive travel or medical insurance – ideally a plan that will cover hospital visits to Thailand. Also, visitors and ex-pats living in Laos are recommended to make sure all their standard immunizations are up-to-date and get vaccinated against hepatitis A and typhoid. Other vaccinations may be recommended if you’re visiting certain rural areas.

Use of credit and debit cards

As there is no ATM:s in Laos that accept international cards you can not use them. You have to exchange the needed money to Kip.

Going there

Flights

There is flights to Laos from several countries. The flight-time from most western countries is around 20 hours.

Train

There is daily trains between China and Laos as well as between Thailand and Laos.

Bus

Busses go from Vietnam, Thailand, and Myanmar.

Visa

You need a visa to go to Laos. You can apply for a visa either by e-mail (https://laoevisa.gov.la/index) or when you come to the border. Be sure that they remember to stamp your passport, it happens that they do not. If you not could show up with the entrance stamp when you are leaving the country you will be fined. The visa is for 30 days and the cost is around 40 USD. Note, the e-visa takes around 2 – 4 days to get.

Healthcare

The level of healthcare in Laos is generally quite low. Remote and rural areas have extremely limited medical care, and they are unlikely to accept insurance cards, so make sure you have a little money saved in case of an emergency. In the Vientiane area, ex-pats should be able to find a couple of international clinics, such as the French Medical Centre. For serious problems and dentistry, ex-pats are recommended to go to neighboring Thailand, where they will find a much higher level of healthcare and plenty of hospitals that are of an international standard. Travelers to Laos are recommended to go to neighboring Thailand, where they will find a much higher level of healthcare and plenty of hospitals that are of an international standard.

Religion

Buddism 66 %, Christianity 1,5 % as well as various traditional indigenous religions.

Safety and Security

Crime levels in Laos are generally quite low, though the usual crimes that affect ex-pats and tourists, such as bag snatching and theft, do take place, especially in the country’s larger towns and cities. It is also essential to carry your identification, or at least a copy of your passport, at all times, as you can be asked to show your identification at any time and be fined on the spot if you fail to produce it.

Traveling in Laos

Transportation throughout Laos continues to improve, but it is important to note that around 80% of the roads in Laos are still currently dirt tracks, with no proper tarmac or paving in place, though the main routes between the major towns are now properly covered. Along these routes, a variety of transport options are available, including travel by bus, minibus, and tuk-tuk. There is also a bus service that now runs the entire length of the country, providing a hop-on and hop-off service for ex-pats who wish to explore the country as a whole.

Around coastal regions, it is also possible to travel by boat, including slow boats and speedboats, though local services do come with risks attached due to frequent overcrowding; owners try to get as much money from each trip as possible.

If you wish to explore the remoter parts of Laos, cycling or motorcycle are the best ways to do it. They provide expats and travelers alike with the option of going off-road and exploring the wilder aspects of the country.

Places to visit

The country is small and landlocked so it has no coastline, but it is known for its spectacular limestone mountains which offer you amazing opportunities to go trekking and explore eerie karst formations and caves.

Vientiane

Luang Prabang

If you are looking for the serene heart of Laos then you may want to travel to Luang Prabang which is a town that lies on the mighty Mekong and Khan rivers.

The town is also known for its gorgeous little European style cafes which are located along the scenic river banks and this area is so delightful that it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

You will also find gorgeous temples all over the town and if you like trekking then you can go out to the Kuang Si Waterfalls where you will find amazing azure cataracts that have deep pools which are perfect for bathing. And Pak Ou Caves

Bokeo Nature sanctuary

You can take a boat from Huang Xai to Luang Prabang and for many visitors, this is the highlight of a trip to Laos.

The sanctuary is known for its conservation work to protect black-cheeked gibbons which were rediscovered in 1997 after it was thought that they had become extinct.

The park allows you to stay in tree houses which give you a bird’s eye view of the forest canopy and you can also partake in fun jungle activities such as swinging on a zip line As well as the famous gibbons, you will also find elephants, bears, tigers and buffalo in the park and keen bird watchers can check out hundreds of species of colorful avians.

Tham Kong Lo

Tham Kong Lo is the name for the Kong Lo Cave which is part of the wider Phu Hin Bun National Park.

The park and cave sit along the Phu Hin Bun River and the central chamber is said to be one of the most spectacular in all of Southeast Asia.

The cave is some 6.5 kilometers long and is 300 feet high and is known for its stunning jade-hued pools which are said to be the same color as the skin of the Hindu god Indra.

The best way to check out the cave is to take a boat trip along the amazing chamber and enjoy the rock crystals and stalagmites and stalactites here.

Best place to live in Laos as a foreigner

Vientiane

Vientiane is the capital of Laos and is home to some of the most beautiful sights, such as Pha That Luang, Patuxay Monument, and Buddha Park (Wat Xieng Khouane Luang). But is perhaps most well-known as a popular visa-run location for foreigners and ex-pats living in Thailand. This video is about where you can find western groceries in Vientiane, Where to find western grocery

Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang is situated north of the capital and is within a few hours’ reach of the Thai/Lao border. The city itself is a stunning and distinct area in Laos. It is home to many traditional buildings and temples that are often used by locals and foreigners alike.

Thakhek

Thakhek is situated very close to the border of Thailand and used to be the home of trading but now serves as a great place to live for foreigners and locals alike. Thakhek is home to many activities, but some reports suggest that the Internet can be pretty slow in this area (this can be typical for Laos). However, some reports still indicate that the Internet is slower in this area than in other cities in Laos.

Vang Vieng

Vang Vieng is perhaps one of the top tourist towns that you will find living in Laos as a foreigner. The geographical location is close to the capital and is often visited by non-locals who visit the capital. This has made the town more tourist-friendly than others. For example, tourists’ income is the mainstream income for many locals, and you may find many foreign items to purchase in this area.