Visiting

Business hours

The public sector is open 8am – 12pm and 1pm – 5pm, Monday to Friday. In the private sector, hours vary depending on business type. In major professional firms, the working day is Monday to Friday 8am – 12pm and 1pm – 5pm, although some banks and other service industries will open their offices from 9am – 5pm or less. Smaller businesses, especially retail and restaurants, tend to open later and close later, generally 10am until 9pm. Working hours in major firms tends to be 8 hours per day plus overtime, whereas smaller businesses the work day tends to be 10 – 12 hours.

The morning market is based at the bottom of the most central shopping centre Talat Sao, on Lane Xang. It opens every day from 8:30am – 4pm. There are also many other local markets around Vientiane, and new shopping centres are opening on a regular basis.

Public holidays

1 January - New Year's Day
8 March - International Women's Day
25 March - Good Friday
13-15 April - Lao New Year (‘Pi Mai’)
2 May - Labour Day
1 June - Lao Children’s Day
19 July - Buddhist Lent
17 October - Boat Racing Festival
14 November - Grand Stupa Festival
2 December - Lao National Day
26 December - Boxing Day
27 December - Christmas Day

Climate

Laos has a tropical monsoon climate with a wet and dry season. The wet season is between May/June to October/November and during this time, tropical storms, typhoons, flooding and landslides are more likely to occur and humidity is very high. During December, January and February the temperatures can drop to 20°C to 25°C during the day and as low as 10°C at night, while March to November temperatures are typically 30°C to 35°C, but may reach a maximum of up to 40°C during April and May.

For weather details in Laos, please visit the World Meteorological Organization.

Currency

Oanda currency converter

The official currency the Lao Kip (written as LAK or KIP), although US Dollars and Thai Baht are widely accepted.

Banks

Currency exchange is only permitted at official bank outlets. Exchanging foreign currency at an unofficial shopfront is illegal and may lead to detention or imprisonment.

There are several ATM facilities that accept international debit cards in Laos and some will accept international credit cards in and around Vientiane. Banks with ATMs and those offering these services include ANZ Bank, BFL, BCEL, JDB and Lao-Viet Banks. Several banks offer over-the-counter credit card cash advance services during bank hours.

Credit cards are not readily accepted outside of major tourist hotels and high-end restaurants. Money transfers are available through a number of banks.

Time zones and time differences

Laos is three hours behind Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST).

To find out the current time in Vientiane, view the World Clock.

Dialling codes

Laos' country code is +856.

For calls to Laos from Australia dial: 00 + 856 + area code + telephone number.

For calls from Laos to Australia dial: 00 + 61 + area code + telephone number.

For further information (e.g. area codes) please visit the White Pages - international dialling codes

Electricity and water

Laos’ power supply is 220 volts, 50Hz. The price of electricity is 11 US cents per kWh.

The straight parallel two point plugs are the most common, however many hotels, restaurants and houses built to a high standard have international adaptability.

Links and resources

Travel and tourism

Visit Laos
Tourism Laos
Luang Prabang
Southern Laos
Insider Journeys

Please note: This list of websites and resources is not definitive. Inclusion in this list does not imply endorsement by Austrade. The information provided is a guide only. The content is for information and carries no warranty; as such, the addressee must exercise their own discretion in its use. Australia’s anti-bribery laws apply overseas and Austrade will not provide business related services to any party who breaches the law and will report credible evidence of any breach. For further information, please see foreign bribery information and awareness pack.