My useful Laos

On 25 May 2014 by From elephants to kangaroos

To see all my articles about Laos, click here. And to see all the pictures, click here.
I traveled to Laos with a friend most of the time so I did not necessarily seek the cheapest places because we could divide the price by 2.

Money
Exchange rate when I was there: 1 = 11000 LAK / $ 1 = 8000 KIP
You will find ATM in all cities and you can also easily change easily.
You pay everything here in local currency (Lao Kip) unlike for example in Cambodia where you pay mostly in dollars.
Careful, you have to change all your Lao kip before leaving the country! It is very complicated, including in the first town near the border in Thailand, to change the money and if you can do it, rates are really not great!

Now my tips by city

4000 islands
Accomodation: I stopped in Don Det island (the smallest) where you can easily find a bungalow to stay for cheap (4$ a night). I can’t tell you the name of mine but I stayed in sunset side (the best I think) and I had a direct way to swim in the Mekong. No bathroom but since you have the river for you…
Restaurants : again, loads of restaurants and bars on the island. I spent my time between Adam’s café (where you can watch a movie), the reggae bar and had some sandwichs sold by a really nice guy in front of Adam’s more or less.
To do : let’s face it, I didn’t do anything on the island…just chillin with my friends, swim, jump from the reggae bar and other. But you can go for a kayaking day and see waterfalls and dolphins, walk around the island or rent a bike and cycle.

Vientiane
Accomodation : Mixay paradise, well situated in the city and clean. 120000 LAK for a double room with bathroom.
Restaurants : bakery le Banneton if you love good bread and stuff! And Le Vendome for a good French meal!
Visits : I walked around the city to see some monuments but nothing incredible here…

Vang Vieng
Accomodation : I started with Alezza GH, 60000 LAK the double room with bathroom and balcony from where you can see the mountains. You also have a lot of bungalows to rent if you cross one of the bridges, look really nice! We then went to Silver Nagar hotel, much more expensive but it was a birthday gift. 60$ double room with balcony, the hotel has a swimming pool, the price includdes the breakfast. A good hotel if you want to enjoy!
Restaurants : the Elephant hotel has a nice terrace on the river and good food. Go absolutely at the israelian place to eat on the main street, not only for the super good and cheap food (40000 LAK for 2 people with 3 diferent meals!) but also because the owner is super nice, friendly and fun! And you have the Café de Paris which serves good food, but a little bit more expensive…
Visits : loads of activities to do in this city! Kayak (we paid 70000 LAK for 1/2 day per person), tubing (and no obligation to stop in all the bars on the way!), visit some caves, blue lagoon – entrance 10000 LAK (a must!) and if you feel like to, a hot air balloon flight…it’s one of the cheapest to do, 80$ for 45min of flight and the view definitely is worth it!!!

Luang Prabang
To reach LP from VV, ask the minivan which takes the new road that takes 4 hours instead of 7 by driving in a brand new road with a great view all along the way. Cost: 110000 LAK / person.
Accomodation : I tried 4 guesthouses!
GH Muang Lao Riverside – 20$ the double room with bathroom, nice but a bit far from the center, expensive compared to what you can pay.
GH Chap Dat La – 110000 LAK the double room with bathroom, really nice, ask the rooms upstairs to have a balcony.
GH Oudomson – 120000 LAK the double room with bathroom, really nice too.
GH Chan Tah Phone – 50000 LAK the double room with shared bathroom (but which is actually just for you, as every other rooms have their own bathroom!) or 80000 LAK with private bathroom.
Restaurants : I tried a lot so here are my favorites. Coconut Garden for the nice garden and the lanterns and the good local food at reasonnable price. Café Ban Vat Sene definitely wins the best brunch in Laos, in a really nice place and with good prices knowing that you’re not gonna eat before the diner. Tangor restaurant wins the best diner with good wine and cheese, the owner is French, the food is excellent and once again it’s a nice place, more expensive. Utopia wins the price of the best bar of Asia (yeah yeah!), it’s just wonderful, cosy, on the river, super nice to rest, read, eat, discuss, meet people, have some drinks. Great music, a must do! And don’t forget the night market where you can eat a full plate of your choice of food for 10000 LAK.
Visits : don’t miss the Kuang Si waterfalles (but how to miss it…) – entrance 20000 LAK + 50000 LAK tuk tuk round way. The most famous swimming pool is la Pistoche (entrance 20000 LAK) but I advice you to go the one of Kiridara hotel (entrance 40000 LAK) that offers a great view and that is much more nice. Mont Phousi (entrance 20000 LAK) to admire the 360° view on the town and mountains. Then have a nice evening at the bowling (tuk tuk 5000 LAK round way and one game is 20000 LAK/person).

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