Do’s and Don’ts in Laos
When visiting Laos, you should remember Do's and Don'ts things in this multi-ethnic country. Based on a little pamphlet published almost annually by The Lao National Tourists Authority (LNTA) on the Do's and Don'ts in Laos, we have listed the recommendations below and many of these recommendations are highly applicable to its neighboring countries like Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Burma and China.
1. In the West, you can kiss to the hand or kiss to the cheek while greeting. However, in Laos, it is an act to avoid. Touching or showing affection in public places will confuse Lao people. Even if you want to be friendly, these actions, especially for single women, are considered vulgar. Even in massage parlors, when you do this, the owner has the right to inform the police and you will be punished immediately.
2. 'Sabai Dee' in Lao word means hello, usually said with a smile.
Prayer - a formal greeting for most Lao people
3. The Laotians consider the head to be the most precious part of the body, while the feet are considered impure and dirty. That is why using your feet to do anything (except walking or playing sports) is absolutely considered impolite. Do not point with your feet / toes and do not put your feet on the tables.
4. Touching someone's head is very rude! (Not even children). This is not only a taboo, but it is also considered a serious offense, and can even lead to a fight or an altercation.
5. You should gently crouch down when passing someone who is seated.Never ever step over someone in your path.
6. The monks are revered and respected. However, if you are a woman, do not touch the monks or a monk's robe. Women must avoid giving something directly to a monk; they can send him an object through a man. The only exception is to place food in the monks' bowls during the morning alms.
Women must avoid touching the monks
7. Before taking a photo of someone, ask if it's OK.
8. Although bathing and personal hygiene are appreciated, however, bathing nude is impolite and rude with their culture!
9. Like some other places in Southeast Asia, please remember to remove your shoes before entering a Lao person's home.
10. Hugging and kissing in public is not polite; be discreet please! The locals feel uncomfortable if they see you acting like that.
11. The Laotians speak softly and avoid confrontation. Avoid shouting and raising your voice.
12. The Laotian people appreciate the clean and elegant visitors! Show respect and dress carefully while in temples, and when taking photo. Dress appropriately, no tank tops or shorts in the temples, no low cut neck-lines or clothing too revealing.
Lao people appreciate clean and neatly dressed visitors
13. Please do not distribute gifts (such as candy) to children as this encourages begging, but give to an established organization (school, monastery, temple) or village elder instead.
14. Try eating delicious Laotian dishes whenever you can. It helps local businesses and Lao farmers to develop themselves
15. There are many sacred items and sites in Laos. Please don't touch or enter these places without permission
16. The illegal sale of wild animals and wildlife products endangers many species native to Laos. Help protect Lao wildlife by refusing to buy wildlife products.
17. Please help to keep Laos clean and beautiful by not throwing waste. Picking up rubbish sets a good example for Lao youth.
18. Important remark: In Laos, the use of drugs is illegal because it has a lot of serious consequences for you and even Lao society. Their youth tends to imitate the actions of foreigners, so by taking drugs, you are destroying their culture and society. Besides, who knows, maybe your supplier might also earn money by taking you to the police station.
We hope that these recommendations are helpful for you and your upcoming trip to Laos.
For more information about Laos travel, feel free to contact us and we will be happy to welcome you!
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