1.Health and Security: Your doctor will advise you on which inoculations are compulsory and which are recommended for your itinerary. If you are travelling to the Far East the recommended vaccinations are Typhoid, Tetanus, Polio, Meningitis, Hepatitis A and Yellow Fever (only if you have visited an affected area within the 5 days prior to your arrival), but these are subject to change so please check the current advice with your doctor. Please arrange inoculation at least 10 days before your intended departure date. Also ask your doctor to prescribe a course of anti-malarial tablets which should be taken daily starting 7 days before your departure, throughout your stay, and for 4 weeks upon your return to the home. As a precaution against malaria, do try to keep arms and legs covered in the evenings, exposed skin should be liberally coated with mosquito repellent after sunset. Take advantage of a dental check-up (since treatment may be difficult while you are away) and consult your optician if you anticipate any difficulty with spectacles or contact lenses.
Please be careful not to touch any animals whether wild, stray or apparently ‘tame’. If you are bitten you must get immediate medical attention. Go to the nearest doctor or hospital. You may need a rabies vaccination and the course of injections must be started immediately. Ask for ‘human diploid cell vaccine’, if possible. In case of difficulty, contact the nearest Consular official.
We suggest that where possible the following should be avoided - tap water, drinks with ice cubes and food and drink from street vendors. Drink only bottled, mineral water and ensure that the seal is intact before opening it. Also avoid spicy food and raw vegetables/salad for the first few days to allow your body time to adjust to the change in diet. If you become unwell, drink plenty of fluids (to prevent dehydration) and warm tea. Sunburn is a common affliction, so don’t sit out for too long in the sun. If walking in the heat of the day, wear a hat and protect your skin. Throat infections are common, so take a good mouthwash like Oraldene together with a supply of Enterosan or Immodium to relieve diarrhoea.
Cities in Laos are probably a good deal safer at night than London, US, Franace but it is still a bad idea to carry all your money and valuables around, wherever possible use the hotel safe deposit. Pickpockets tend to operate in public places such as bus stations and anywhere else where there are crowds, so keep a sharp eye out - and never leave a bag and valuables unattended.
2.Insurance: A good travel insurance that covers lost luggage, money and valuables, personal liability, medical and cancellation expenses is essential. It is a condition of travelling with Exotic Laos Travel that you have adequate Travel Insurance. Many clients prefer to make their own insurance arrangements to suite their particular requirements. Please note that we will need to know the following information before commencement of your holiday:
Name of your insurers
Insurers emergency contact number
3.Money: We recommend taking US dollars cash. In Vientiane and Luang Prabang major credit cards, such as Visa and Master Card are accepted by most hotels, shops and restaurants. In southern Laos (Pakse), you will need US dollars cash, as credit cards are virtually useless.
You will be able to get cash advances on credit cards for kip at banks (opening hours are generally Monday to Saturday from 08.30hours – 15.30 hours, closed on public holidays).
Local Currency – Kip
4.What to take: Travel as light as possible. Most items including clothes, toiletries and accessories are cheaper abroad than at home. Try and pack everything in one large soft bag. Small items such as a camera, music player, maps, books etc. can go in a light shoulder bag or day sack which can be used later, on day trips, sightseeing etc. In general, loose cotton clothes are best for hot, tropical climates though you will need to take warm clothing, as the evenings can sometimes be cooler. Casual dress is acceptable everywhere, but note that low-cut dresses, shorts etc. will offend in the holy places - as will leather (bags, belts, shoes etc.). For visits to temples it is better if shoes can be slipped on and off easily. For trekking, hill-walks and visits to wildlife sanctuaries we suggest that you take heavy cotton chinos, strong shoes etc. Laundry facilities are cheap and readily available throughout. Your tour guide will be able to assist you with this.
Depending on your destination and style of travel you may consider taking the following:
torch music player mosquito repellent spare contact lenses
alarm clock camera and film sunglasses binoculars
extra batteries mirror sun cream day pack
inflatable pillow sewing kit lip salve sun scarf/hat
snorkel/mask personal medical kit spare spectacles water bottle
5.Electricity: Electrical current varies in Laos is 220 volts, most sockets are the two-prong flat or round type so take a selection of adapters with you. Remember a small torch too, in the event of power cuts.
6.Telephones: telephone is available in most part of country
7.Shopping: In general our advice is “Buyer Beware”. Should you not wish to enter a shop, please do not bow to pressure and be firm in stating that you do not wish to shop. Shops are generally open daily from 09.00 hours - 19.00 hours or 20.00 hours, but subject to variation from place to place. Please be aware that any expensive item imported into the UK will incur VAT and possible import duties unless the shop provides you with an exemption certificate which applies to items exported/imported between Commonwealth countries. The import of ivory into the UK is prohibited. There are also restrictions on the export of art objects and antiques from some countries.
8.Tipping: This is left to your discretion and should, of course, be based on the satisfaction of the services you receive. The following are some guidelines for tipping drivers and guides:
Tour guide US$5 to US$10 per day per 2 people
Tour driver US$3 to US$6 per day per 2 people
Luggage US$1 per two pieces carried
It is common to leave a small tip for the room staff at the end of your stay at a hotel. 20 – 40k per day, depending on the quality of service should be ample. Small change is difficult to come by so we suggest that you obtain some from your hotel at the start of each day. This will be useful for tipping people such as ‘shoe minders’ at temples etc.
* Always ask permission before entering a temple.
* Remove your shoes before entering a religious temple.
* When walking around shrines or temples, walk only in a clockwise direction, keeping the building to your right.
* Ask permission of people before taking their picture. Paying to photograph people should be avoided.
* Modesty in clothing is important. A long (below the knees) skirt is ideal for ladies or trousers are perfectly acceptable.
* We discourage giving money to beggars, particularly children, as an unfortunate impact of begging is that it may create dependency. If you wish to contribute, it is more beneficial to give to your preferred charity. If visiting a rural village in Asia you may wish to make to make a contribution to the local school. Exceptions are also made for the physically handicapped and spiritual devotees.