Laos is one of the most underrated countries in Southeast and we LOVE it! This is what our trip to Laos cost us with some helpful tips on how you can do the same.
Our trip to Laos was 2 weeks long and we traveled to 3 of the major cities to explore. We’re going to share exactly what we spent on our entire trip.
We’ll cover what our trip to Laos cost us, Laos visa cost, is Laos cheaper than Thailand, general Laos travel costs, and more!
As a quick note, we are not backpackers, we rarely stay in hostels, and are very cautious with street food. We like to save money where we can, be we certainly spend it on what is important to us.
This is not representative of what you will spend in Laos, even for the same period of time or season. This is merely an overview of what we spent and some of our tips and reasons for the amounts. Please use it as a guide to your future trip to Laos!
This post is all about how much our trip to Laos cost!
Trip to Laos Cost
Laos Itinerary: 2 Weeks
Dates: 09/28 – 10/13/22; 15 nights
We spent two weeks traveling to all the major destinations in Laos. This included a few nights in Vientianne that unfortunately got fully rained out for us. We took a shuttle to Vang Vieng and spent 6 nights enjoying all the nature we could. And lastly ended our trip in Luang Prabang, a cute colonial town with gorgeous waterfalls and delicious food!
- Vientianne – 2 nights
- Vang Vieng – 6 nights
- Luang Prabang – 7 nights
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Cost of Travel in Laos
Countries in Southeast Asia commonly have some sort of visa on arrival program (for US citizens). Laos does have a VOA (visa on arrival) but it is not free. You need to pay for the visa at immigration when you arrive. It’s a $40.00 per person fee and they accept US cash only. You also need a passport photo and will need to fill out an application (they have them there). I believe there is a way to get an e-visa but this was an easy process as long as you are prepared.
We like to include our flights in the price breakdown of each country because it helps give an idea of where to travel to or from. I don’t include it in the total cost since you could be traveling from anywhere. Luckily travel around Southeast Asia is quick and inexpensive. We paid less than $200 for two people with two checked bags and two carry ons.
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Average: $51.50 / night
Accommodations are pretty important for us. We like to have a clean, comfortable place to stay since we live on the road full time. This is our home even if it’s only for a night. Laos proved quite difficult for us. There were plenty of options available for incredibly low rates, but you definitely get what you pay for. We left our first hotel after 1 night and I’m not even sure why we stayed for the first night.
Our normal budget is $45 per night and that can usually get us a really nice place in Southeast Asia. The quality was just at a different level in Laos and that’s why we were a bit over budget here. It was also the beginning of high season (October – January) and prices were instantly higher for us starting October 1st. One hotel quoted us $60 per night (already high) through September 30th and then $80 per night starting October 1st!
There was also a holiday going on while we were in Luang Prabang and that caused our rates to be a bit higher. Honestly I have no idea what the holiday was there’s really not much information online, but we had a great time with the parade and carnivals all over town!
Laos is very cash based and we did have to pay for 1 hotel room in cash. The rest I booked online with Booking.com and was able to pay in advance or on property with credit card.
Food & Drink
Average: $41 / day
Average: $20 per person per day
We ate out every single day while in Laos since we had booked all hotels. Airbnbs and therefore personal kitchens were hard to come by but it made little difference to us, food was so cheap!
We ate a bunch of local foods (Bamboo Garden in Luang Prabang with the sweetest family) and lots of western food (Green Restaurant in Vang Vieng for pizza, trust me) all for relatively cheap. We even had a fancy hot pot dinner, dessert, and drinks on the river for less than $30.
Average: $14 / day
Since we did travel between three different cities and took a train back from Laos to Bangkok, we did have a higher transportation bill. However for as much traveling as we did, only $200 is fantastic.
We took the brand new high speed bullet train from Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang and again from Luang Prabang to Vientianne. There is no way to book these tickets online so we had our hotels help us book them for us a few days in advance. Since the train stations are outside of town, you will need to get a taxi or ride share (Loca app) as well. Overall, we only spent $35.00 on taxis and ride shares and we used the service pretty often. Each trip around town cost us around $2.
We also rented a motorbike in both Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang to visit the more remote locations. We had it our entire time in Vang Vieng and paid $9 a day (including 2 helmets). And then rented it for just one day in Luang Prabang to see the Kuang Si Waterfalls.
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This is honestly crazy that we only spent $15 on excursions. This got us access to the Kuang Si waterfalls in Luang Prabang, Blue Lagoon in Vang Vieng, Nam Xay Viewpoint hike, and a Buffalo Farm Tour… for 2 people! Everything else we did was free like enjoying the parade in Luang Prabang or using the pool at our hotels or riding our motorbike around the countryside (not technically free but amazing).
We barely bought anything while in Laos and if we did it was crazy cheap. We did have our hotel do our laundry half way through the trip. We also bough mosquito repellant (a necessity) and a few souvenirs and Christmas gifts at a local market.
Total Spend in Laos
Average: $63.03 / day
Average: $31.50 per person per day
Total with Flights: $1,082
Overall, cost of living in Laos is cheap. Food is delicious and inexpensive if you eat local and especially if you eat street food (just be careful!). Even foreign cuisine is inexpensive compared some other countries.
Accommodations were more expensive than we were anticipating but that had a lot to do with the time of year and the holiday during our visit. Also, we are just a bit picky with our accommodations, what can we say?
We got great value here and we would happily visit Laos again. There is so much more to discover here!