Posts Tagged ‘Laos visa’

Laos Visa Requirements to Visit Kong Lo Cave

Monday, June 13th, 2011

f you’re looking to get off the beaten path in Laos, Matador Travel has an excellent recommendation: a visit to Kong Lo Cave in Phu Hin Bun National Park.

About 7 hours away from Vientiane if you’re lucky, Kong Lo Cave was carved from the surrounding rock by an underground river. For a fee, you can tour the cave by boat, descending into the bowels of the earth and coming out the other side about 7 kilometers later. This video shows the end of one such boat ride.

Matador describes the ride into the cave as “like entering a mouth — stalactites like teeth, and the feeling that you’re going inside, riding inside, the body of the earth, organs frozen rock-hard. My torch casts a feeble glow into the black; mist rises from the water like ghosts.”

On the other side, if you’re so inclined, you can get off the boat and stay in the remote village of Ban Natane. There are no hotels or guesthouses here- instead, you’ll stay with local families in their homes. It’s a great way to experience traditional Lao culture.

Before you get to the cave, though, you’ll have to get into Laos. That means getting a Laos visa. If you plan to stay in the country for less than 30 days, you can get a visa on arrival at certain airports and land crossings. If you’ll be entering the country by plane, it’s best to check ahead of time with your airline to see if you can get a visa when you land. You can also apply before you leave the US.

Here’s what you need to get a Laos visa if you’re visiting as a tourist:

  • 2 application forms for a Laos tourist visa
  • 3 passport-sized photos
  • A copy of your itinerary

RushMyTravelVisa makes it easy to apply for a visa to Laos and to any other countries on your itinerary. We’ll research your travel plans, tell you exactly what you need, and help you with the required paperwork. Then, we’ll deliver your Laos visa application to the appropriate embassy or consulate for the fastest possible processing.

Apply for your Laos visa today!

Southeast Asia Considers Introducing One Travel Visa to Rule Them All

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

Right now, planning a tour of Southeast Asia requires more research and paperwork than a tour of Europe. Each country has its own travel visa requirements for tourists, ranging from relatively permissive (Thailand) to restrictive bureaucratic spiderwebs like those in Vietnam.

In as little as 5 years, though, that may change. As part of its strategic plan to encourage tourism in member countries, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) is trying to introduce one travel visa to rule them all: a Schengen-like visa that would allow tourists to travel effortlessly between countries such as Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines and Brunei.

Stuart McDonald of TravelFish.org told the Inquirer Global Nation that visa regulations in these countries are a source of confusion for many would-be travelers: “One of the most common questions that we see on travelfish.org is people asking visa questions: What kind of visa can I get? How long is it valid for? What does it cost? The rules change all the time and it introduces a level of uncertainty and confusion that the industry can do without.”

A common visa for all of Southeast Asia would undoubtedly be a good thing for tourism, but don’t expect it to happen immediately. In its strategic plan, even Asean itself noted that there are many obstacles to overcome first: “The establishment of such a visa will not likely occur in the next five years due to barriers of technology, political issues, concerns of sovereignty and security and the different visa systems in the member states.” (more…)

Laos Visa Requirements to Visit the Plain of Jars

Sunday, March 6th, 2011

Deep in the heart of Laos, there is a large open plateau dotted with stone jars that date back to the Iron Age. Some of these jars are immense — the largest is almost 10 feet high!

Nobody is quite sure where these unusual relics came from. According to this post on Environmental Graffiti, local tradition is that the jars were either used to by giants to brew rice wine or were placed on the plain to store water for thirsty travelers.

However, the scientific consensus is that they were used in ancient burial rites. Cremated remains have been found inside some of the jars, though interestingly, unburned bodies have been found buried outside of the jars as well. It seems likely that this is because different burial practices existed for different social classes, with elites being cremated and ordinary people being buried.

According to Wikipedia, some archaeologists have suggested that the largest jars were used originally as “distilling vessels,” where bodies were placed and allowed to decompose for a while before being cremated.

Only three sites on the Plain of Jars are open for tourists. Elsewhere, landmines hamper archaeological exploration and make tours too dangerous, not to mention the terrible toll they take on local people. If you visit, just make sure to stay on the beaten path.

The Plain of Jars is accessible from the nearby village of Phonsavan, which is well worth visiting in its own right. (more…)

5 Reasons to Get a Laos Visa

Sunday, February 20th, 2011

After decades of war, Laos is slowly but surely picking up and moving on, and the country is now being discovered by increasing numbers of Western tourists. Here are 5 great reasons to get a Laos visa and go see this beautiful country while it’s still relatively undiscovered:

1. Luang Prabang: Walking into this gorgeous little town is like stepping into the past. Picture-perfect, flower-strewn landscapes combine with charming buildings and serene temples to create an enchanting travel experience.

2. The Plain of Jars: Thousands of ancient stone jars carved from local boulders dot this mysterious landscape. Who made them, and why? Just as with Stonehenge, the answers are lost in time, though the number of human remains and grave goods found in nearby excavations implies that they must have been connected to ancient burial rites.

3. Tubing in Vang Vieng: Floating down the scenic Nam Song River, beer in hand, is one of the most popular tourist attractions in all of Laos. The town of Vang Vieng is quite popular with backpackers, but the surrounding countryside retains the ambiance that the town itself has lost.

4. Four Thousand Islands- During the dry season, the mighty Mekong River recedes just enough to create thousands of tiny islands. This is a great place to watch for the rare Irrawaddy dolphin or just relax on a hammock.

5. Wat Phu- This ancient ruined temple on the base of a cliff was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001.

To visit Laos, US citizens are required to have a valid passport and a Laos visa. See Laos Visa Requirements for Tourists for more information on how to get the visa.

If you plan to get your Laos visa before you leave the States, RushMyTravelVisa can help. First, your visa specialist will research your itinerary to ensure that you have all the necessary documents before you leave. Then, we’ll walk you through the paperwork and expedite your application for the fastest possible processing.

Apply for your Laos visa today!

Laos Visa Requirements for a Honeymoon in Luang Prabang

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

Matador Travel recently named Luang Prabang in Laos as one of the top 25 honeymoon destinations in the world, calling it “the most romantic town in Southeast Asia.”

Laos may seem like an unlikely destination for a honeymoon, but visiting Luang Prabang is like stepping back in time. According to TravelDudes, there are no modern buildings-every structure in the city exhibits the charm of days gone by. Possible romantic excursions for you and your sweetheart include visiting the many temples scattered throughout the city, especially Wat Xieng Thong, the Golden City Temple. There are markets for souvenir shopping, excellent food, and natural attractions like the Kuang Si Falls and the Pak Ou Caves.

When it comes to accommodations, Luang Prabang has lots of small hotels, many located along the shore of the Mekong River.

One note of caution: Luang Prabang may be the “most romantic” city in Southeast Asia, but under no circumstances should you visit the town to look for romance. At least not with the locals. If you are a foreigner, making the beast with two backs with a Lao citizen you are not officially married to is illegal and can result in numerous unpleasant consequences.

For more information about visiting Laos without running afoul of the local authorities, see Laos Visa Requirements for Tourists.

To visit Laos, you’ll need to obtain a Laos visa. For tourists staying less than 30 days, visas can be purchased on arrival at certain border crossings and airports. Here’s a list, via the US Department of State: Wattay Airport, Vientiane; Pakse, Savannakhet, and Luang Prabang Airports; Friendship Bridge, Vientiane and Savannakhet; Nam Heuang Friendship Bridge, Sayabouly Province; and border crossings at Boten-Mohan, Dansavan-Lao Bao, Houaysay-Chiang Khong, Thakhek-Nakhon Phanom, Nong Haet-Nam Kan, Nam Phao-Kao Cheo, Veun Kham-Dong Calor and Vangtao-Chong Mek.

To get your Laos visa on arrival, you’ll need your passport, itinerary and 2 passport photos, plus $35 in cash (US dollars only, please).

If you would prefer to follow the Boy Scout method and “be prepared” by getting your visa in advance, you can apply before your trip as well. Applying in advance means your visa will be good for 60 days, so you can stay longer. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 application forms for a Laos tourist visa
  • 3 passport-sized photos
  • A copy of your itinerary

RushMyTravelVisa can help you get a Laos visa as well as any other visas you may need for your trip. We’ll research your itinerary and assist you with all of the necessary paperwork, then expedite your visas for lightning-quick processing.

Apply for your Laos visa today!

Laos Visa Requirements For Tourists

Sunday, February 21st, 2010

Laos is a small, landlocked Asian country, surrounded by China, Burma, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand.  Although Laos is still not on the itinerary of most Americans, tourism is the country’s fastest-growing industry. According to Wikipedia, in 1990  4,400 tourists visited Laos. In 2005, that number had risen to 1.1 million.  Tourism provides Laos with much-needed cash, and is expected to bring in $250–300 million by 2020.

However, before you go adventuring in Laos, there are a few things you need to be aware of:

Stay on the beaten path

Unfortunately, there is still a good deal of unexploded ordinance (UXO) left over from the Indochina War, as well as buried land mines.  The US Department of State notes that unexploded ordinance kills more than 300 people in Laos each year. Stick to well-worn, frequently used paths and roads. Now is not the time to be a trailblazer!

Also, Laos’ government is very authoritarian in nature. So, some places, particularly remote rural areas that aren’t close to a big tourist destination, may be off limits to foreigners. Make sure to get your itinerary cleared by local authorities if you plan to travel through rural areas, especially if you are traveling without a guide.

Just Say No to Love

The government of Laos is also very strict about relationships between foreigners and Lao citizens. Basically, unless you have officially married a Lao citizen and your marriage is on file with the Lao government, there is to be no hanky-panky.  Laotian police can and will search your hotel room, and you may be interrogated, detained, arrested or fined up to $5,000 if you are caught in flagrante delicto. Actually, they don’t even have to catch you in the act-all they have to do is hear about it.

In fact, the government sometimes fines foreigners after formal engagement ceremonies on the assumption that the happy couple just couldn’t wait for the wedding. So, don’t get caught with your pants down!

Get a Lao Visa

Americans traveling to Laos need a Lao visa to enter the country.  If you are staying less than 30 days, you can obtain a visa on arrival at certain airports and land crossings. If you’re flying, check with your airline to see if you can get a visa on arrival. Or,  you can apply for one before you leave the US.

Here’s what you need to get a Lao tourist visa:

  • 2 application forms for a Laos tourist visa
  • 3 passport-sized photos
  • A copy of your itinerary

RushMyTravelVisa can help you apply for a Laos visa and for visas to surrounding countries if required.  We can research your itinerary, then help you with the necessary paperwork and deliver your documents directly to the appropriate embassy or consulate for the fastest possible service.

Apply for your Laos visa today!