How much does it cost to travel Laos on a budget?
Well, of course, it all depends on the way of traveling, but if you plan to travel in Laos on a budget, I hope this can be used as orientation.
I spent 27 days traveling in Laos from north to south, in December 2014 – January 2015, and I spent:
- Visa: 28,6 euros
- Basic expenses: 354,14 euros (13,12 euros/ day)
- Visits and extra expenses: 48,04 euros
That makes an average of 16 euros per day… not even USD$20 per day, everything included!
Visa and associated fees: 28,6 euros
- 1 month tourist visa on arrival, obtained in the Thai-Lao border Chiang Khong-Huay Xai (with a Spanish passport – price depends on the nationality): 35 dollars, paid in dollars
- plus 2 dollars to get the exit stamp in the Laos-Cambodia border.
Basic expenses include: accommodation, food, transport (except international flights), phone, bank commissions and other basic stuff as toiletries.
Total for basic expenses: 354,14 euros, that is 13,12 euros/ day
Change rate: 1 euro = 10000 kip approx
Way of traveling and examples of prices:
- Accommodation: I always slept in guesthouses and had a private room. A couple of times I shared room with someone I had met during the trip, decreasing the cost. I also spent two nights in a night bus.
- average: 44100 kip/ day
- double room with private bathroom (except Luang Prabang, Vientiane): 40000 – 50000 kips
- single room with shared bathroom (Luang Prabang, Vientiane): 55000 – 65000 kips
- Transport: I always took local buses or boats to move from one city to another. In most cities, the bus station is outside the city, between 3 to 10km, so it is necessary to take a shared taxi to get to the center.
- average: 39300 kips/ day
- shared taxi from bus station to city center (fixed price per person): 10000 – 20000 kips
- bicycle renting for one day: 10000 – 15000 kips
- bus: 15000 – 25000 kips/ hour approx
- motor boat in the north (Nam Ou river): 25000 kips/ hour approx
- Food: I usually ate in local restaurants or guesthouses, and bought food in the market/ supermarket/ small shops.
- average: 39900 kips/ day
- main dish in a local restaurant: 10000 to 20000 kips (cheapest dish: noodle vegetable soup, usually 10000 kips, sometimes 15000)
- complete dinner in a guesthouse: 25000 to 30000 kips
- fruit shake: 10000 kips
- bottle of water: 3000 to 10000 kips
- Phone (Lao Telecom): 10000 kips for the SIM card and calls + 50000 kips for 1Gb of data valid 30 days.
- Bank commissions: Lao banks charge 20000 kips to foreign cards for getting money in an ATM.
- Laundry: I always wash myself by hand, but I saw that laundry service costs 10000kips/ kg.
Visits and extra expenses
Total for visits and extra expenses: 48,04 euros
Visits include the tickets to the caves in Muang Ngoi (10000 kips), temples in Luang Prabang (10000 to 20000 kips), Vat Phou in Champasak (50000 kips), Li Phi waterfalls in Don Khon (35000 kips).
Extra expenses include everything else which is not really necessary (as presents, postcards and stamps, New Year eve, and others)
- stamp for postcard to Europe 11000 kips, America 12000 kips, for a letter 1000 kips more
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