Laos’s time is seven hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+7). Laos has the same time zone as Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia. Being so close to the equator there is no daylight-saving changes when going from summer to winter and vice-versa.
Laos is similar to the rest of Southeast Asia and experiences a hot and humid tropical climate with two distinct seasons, wet and dry. The dry season is usually October through March and the wet (rainy) season is from May through to September. The hottest temperatures are in the south of the country and get up to 38c and can get as cold as 10c in the northern regions during winter.
Laos’ currency is called the Kip (LAK) but pronounced Kiip. The bank notes come in 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10000, 20000 and 50000 denominations. Most ATMs and bank machines will dispense up to 700000 Kip with some machines in the larger towns dispensing up to 2 million Kip. In larger towns people will accept Thai Baht and US Dollar; however, it is more culturally acceptable to use the native Laos Kip. Changing money (into the Kip) can only be done once in Laos and after having left Laos you cannot change it (Stray will have a donations box set up).
Most Lao people start the day very early (around 5 in the morning) and correspondingly open their shops between 6 and 7 in the morning then take a break (sometimes for two hours) around 11am. Then close between 4 and 5 in the afternoon. Laos is not very developed so do not expect to find any kind of supermarket outside the large cities. Haggling or bargaining is common but is not as fierce as Thailand and often the best price is displayed, but there are bargains to be had!
You must have valid and current travel insurance to travel with Stray Asia.
Before travelling to Laos you should visit a travel doctor for quality medical advice (we want you to be healthy and enjoy your trip with us). There are many diseases present in tropical climates that are transmitted by mosquitoes. It is possible to get dengue fever and malaria (remote countryside) from mosquitoes so we recommend you carry some strong (>30%) insect repellent.