Visiting

Business hours

Business hours in the public sector are between 8.00am–noon and 2.00pm–4.00pm.

Business hours in the private sector are between 8.00am–noon and 1.00pm–5.00pm.

Banks are open between 8.30am to 3.30pm, Monday to Friday, although some foreign exchange facilities operated by banks are open longer hours, including Saturdays.

The main shopping centre, the morning market, is open between 8.30am–4.00pm.

Public holidays

January 1 – New Year's Day
January 6 – Pathet Laos Day
January 20 – Army Day
Chinese New Year
March 8 – International Women's Day
March 22 – Day of People’s Party
April 13-14-15 – Laos New Year
May 1 – Labour Day
Buddha’s Birthday
June 1 – Children’s Day
December 2 – Laos National 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. During December to January the temperatures at night can drop to 10°C, while February to November temperatures are typically 25°C to 35°C, but may reach a maximum of up to 40°C during April.

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

Currency

Oanda currency converter

The currency unit is the Kip, which is available in a variety of denominations up to and including 100,000. US Dollars and Thai Baht are also widely accepted; many restaurants or hotels, for example, list their prices in US Dollars. Most cities have a wide complement of ATM cash machines that accept international cards. Most ATMs are subject to cash withdrawal limits, usually around 1.5 million Kip. Some banks offer over-the-counter credit card cash services during bank service hours.

Currency exchange is only permitted at official bank outlets, and exchanging currency at unofficial shopfronts is technically illegal. Credit cards are not widely accepted outside of major tourist hotels and high-end restaurants. When accepted, credit cards are often subject to surcharge of around three per cent.

Time zones and time differences

Laos is three to four 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.

Find out more about Australian area codes or international dialling codes

Electricity and water

Power supply is 220 volts, 50Hz. Retail electricity is US$011 kilowatt per hour. Straight parallel two point plugs are common, although some high-end hotels may be built with international adapters.

Tap water is not safe to drink and bottled water is widely available.

Links and resources

Travel and tourism

Tourism Laos

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.