Daily Travel Costs in Laos on a Shoestring Budget
US$20 | 160,000 Laotian Kip
Laos has always been very good value and that is still the case although prices have increased slightly in recent years and it is perhaps a bit more expensive than Cambodia but still cheaper than Thailand. Travelling around the country is pretty slow and not always entirely comfortable but it is at least cheap. Accommodation and eating out is also great value although a few more expensive places are cropping up so you do have to be a bit selective in that sense now so to avoid the places that are clearly not geared towards budget travellers or locals.
Our Laos backpacking budget of $20/day will require a bit of discipline as there are lots of cool trips that you can do in the country not to mention ways to spend your money in the evening with small but often lively backpacker party scenes in several of the main towns.
See where Laos ranks on our World Budget Travel Table.
More Comfortable Laos Backpacker Budget
US$30 | 240,000 Laotian Kip
The shoestring budget of $20 is very possible but when you are in a cheap country, the tendency is to not really keep tabs on your spending and daily costs can quickly mount up. In recent years the Lao government appears to be making an effort to attract wealthier tourists particularly from China and that has pushed the price of tours and trips up for everyone else so if you are planning to do a lot of that then $30/day would probably be more realistic.
Sample Prices in Laos
Bus from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng (6 hours) – 100,000 Kip ($12)
Meal in a budget restaurant – $2
Large Beer Lao in a bar or restaurant – $1.20
Dorm bed – from $4/night
Budget private Double or Twin room in Vientiane – from $10/night
Tubing in Vang Vieng – 55,000 Kip ($7)
Currency – Laotian Kip (also known as Lao)
£1 = 11716 Kip
€1 = 9204 Kip
US$1 = 8106 Kip
(All exchange rates are correct as of June 2016)
Unlike neighbouring Cambodia, US Dollars aren’t used all that often with local currency preferred in almost all circumstances.
The overall standard of healthcare in Laos is very low and getting ill or injured can turn into a real nightmare and an expensive one so it is essential you have travel insurance. We recommend World Nomads who specialise in backpacking trips.
Share your Travel Costs!
If you’ve been to Laos recently, please let everyone know your typical daily costs by commenting below 😉
This article was published in June 2016.
Get our Backpackers Guide to Southeast Asia 2017-2018 for an overview of budget travel in the region.