I know it’s bugging you. You’ve decided to make Southeast Asia the next region of the world for your grand adventures but can’t decide which destinations are best for your budget.
You figure Singapore might be a tad expensive, and though you’ve heard Thailand is a budget traveler’s paradise, you’d rather wait until you have more money for the number of tourist activities, jungle adventures, island hopping, and partying you plan on doing in that place.
So, what about Laos? The country of some 7.4 million people is teeming with culture, beautiful architecture, gorgeous nature escapes, and fun outdoor activities. But, is Laos cheap to travel? Well, let’s find out!
Laos is Inexpensive
The verdict: Yes. Laos is pretty cheap to travel. But first, to get a better understanding of prices and the topics we’ll cover, here’s a breakdown of how the Lao Kip (LAK) stacks up against popular currencies around the world.
$1 US = 17,258 LAK
Euro = 17,180 LAK
CAD = 12,603 LAK
Renminbi = 2,364 LAK
Rupee = 208 LAK
Prices in Different Categories
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s examine typical prices (in dollars) across a wide array of categories in Laos.
Accommodation: Hotel prices in Laos are generally cheap. In Vientiane, the capital and largest city, even the most popular hotel brands, like the Crown Plaza Vientiane, an IHG Hotel, and Landmark Mekong Riverside Hotel, are priced between $80-$110 a night.
Average prices for decent hotels in the city are between $30 and $60 a night, and there are plenty of hostels and budget-friendly guest hotels around town. In other cities, expect prices to be even cheaper!
Transportation: Laos doesn’t have an extensive train network, nor do its cities have expansive metro systems. You’ll most likely find your way around town, and between towns, in Laos via tuk-tuk, bicycle, motorbike, long-distance bus, taxi, or minivans.
Motorbike rentals can cost anywhere between $5 and $50 depending on the city where you’re renting. Some rental shops will even allow you to negotiate.
Taxis’ starting prices vary by city but expect them to start around $1.50 and up.
Tuk-tuks also vary in price depending on distance and, well, whether or not your driver is out to overcharge you. Nevertheless, rates can start out at as little as $1 for a few kilometers and can also be bargained.
Food: You’ll find food to be dirt cheap in Laos. Every major city you’ll most likely visit, like Vientiane, Vang Vieng, and Pakse has a street food night market where you can fill your belly with sticky rice, meat kebabs, grilled seafood, and more.
A stuffed meat stick can cost less than $1, while fulfilling dishes will run less than $5.
Eating out at restaurants is pretty inexpensive as well. A main course meal will also cost less than $5, and beer or coffee around $1.
So, now that you’ve found out that Laos is cheap to travel to, when will you plan to visit? Will you consider staying longer because prices are inexpensive? Would you spend more on activities and accommodation or would you still budget travel? Sure, there are tons of things to consider, but the fact remains—Laos is one destination that you surely can’t skip. Safe and happy travels!