Cost To Travel Laos And My Laos Travel Budget: $30.00 Per Day

cost to travel in laos and my laos travel budget

Find out exactly how much it will cost to travel Laos on a budget and the average Laos trip cost. Let’s talk about the price of accommodation, transportation, food, and more before I let you know my EXACT Laos trip cost and the recommend Laos travel budget!


Keeping a budget for each of my travels allows me to keep on track of my spending. Bonus, it also allows me to write information-filled posts such as this so I can share the cost to travel Laos and my recommended Laos travel budget. Also, traveling can be expensive, so it’s good to keep track of costs and make a budget.

When I was researching online, Laos was in the middle expense-wise when compared to other Southeast Asian countries. Most websites seemed to recommend between $30-$50 per person per day. Though, sometimes this number was quite different with some people recommending twice the amount as others! Though this is a huge range! So how cheap is Laos really?

Surprisingly even in Asia traveling can be expensive. It’s easy to find yourself craving a taste of home and sitting down in a British-style pub. The UNESCO world heritage city of Luang Prabang was definitely the thing that put me over budget. Once you get a small taste of luxury it can be hard to go back to sitting on the curb with a meal or sharing a room with 12 other strangers. Though, if I were to stay longer in Laos and perhaps traveled more south to Pakse and Don Det this amount likely would have balanced out.


How I Book Cheap Transport In Laos: 12.Go Asia


My partner, James joined me for our Laos trip. This allows us to split certain costs such as private rooms, taxis, hiring a motorbike, etc. Where this is true I will state that the cost is ‘shared’ or ‘split’. Now time to get on to find the cost to travel in Laos


Laos Travel Budget and How Much Does It Cost To Travel Laos?

sunset in huay xai laos
sunset in huay xai

Accommodation Costs In Laos

Personally, I find accommodation costs are on the high side in Laos in comparison to other countries in Southeast Asia. It’s definitely easy to find yourself splurging on something a little more pricey. Also, I find hostels here are not as good quietly as neighboring Vietnam or Thailand. Though if you are not up to sharing a dorm room you can find affordable private rooms in locally run guesthouses which are cheaper than hotels.

Personally, I like using Booking.com to book accommodation everywhere I travel. This is due to the fact that they offer free cancellation allowing me to change my plan relatively last minute. You will also find in Southeast Asia many of the places you will still need to pay at the property as they prefer cash.


Cost of Hostels In Laos

One of the cheapest ways to travel generally is by staying in hostel dorm rooms. Though I must be honest I personally find the majority in Laos a bit old school. Think rackety metal bunk beds and fan-cooled rooms. 

Because of the above, I honestly have not stayed in too many hostels during my backpacking Laos adventures. The only time I did was on Vientianne in one of those lovely metal bunk beds. Though that was too much regret as it just so happened to coincide with one of the few times I have gotten food poisoning. 

pan place vang vieng
pan place hostel in vang vieng

Cost of Guesthouses In Laos

Welcome to my favorite form of accommodation in Laos, the Guesthouse. These are another excellent and affordable option. They sit somewhere between a hostel and a hotel in terms of luxury. You will get your own private room, though this is to more local standards than Western standards.

For example, the bed may be hard, your shower might be located straight over the toilet, and don’t expect an onsite restaurant. Typically they are in a large house and run by the family who owns it.  You will get a private bathroom and a clean bedroom. Though the furniture might be a bit dated.

I find guesthouses the perfect option if traveling as part of a couple or just two friends. Generally, prices are around the same as booking 2 dorm beds, so is the perfect option. Though don’t expect the same social atmosphere as a hostel.

guesthouse in kong lor laos
guesthouse in kong lor laos

Cost of Hotels In Laos

Now, in all honesty, I have never stayed in a hotel in Laos. Personally, they are out of my budget. Though if you enjoy a bit of luxury, though cannot often afford it in Western countries. Then this could just be the perfect choice for you. 

You can find plenty of affordable hotels here starting from $40.00 per night. Brand name hotels will be a bit pricier, though it is much cheaper than you can find elsewhere in the world. The service is often second to none and you will be living in uttermost luxury.


Food Prices In Laos

The food scene in Laos truly surprised me. Like you don’t see any Laos restaurants in Western countries like you do with Thai or Vietnam so I was quite unsure what to expect. Though due to being colonized by the French there is a delicious mix of French influence in the Asian meals. 

Meals in Laos, as well as being tasty, and also pretty affordable. I never spent too much more than $6.00 on a meal out with a drink. Though you’ll find street food even cheaper than this again.

Luang Prabang definitely had my favorite food scene in the country. Here you could easily find any meal and any cuisine you could ever want. 

If I am being honest, when I travel Laos, and Southeast Asia generally, I never buy my own food to cook. This is because eating out is so affordable. You will also find the same thing happening with local people who will often head to one of the many street food vendors for a meal. 

local foods at a restaurant in vang vieng
local foods at a restaurant in vang vieng

Streetfood in Laos

As I said above I was honestly unsure what to expect when it came to street food in Laos. Though I ended up learning it had quite a French influence. 

My personal favorite was honestly the baguette sandwiches. You could get freshly baked bread filled with your favorite toppings for just a couple of dollars. This to me became the perfect meal after a busy morning of exploring. 

I recommend heading to the Luang Prabang Night Market to find some of the delicious street food meals. Some other favorites include barbeque meats, larb, sai kok, and of course the famous Laos sticky rice. You can find these dishes, and more, starting from just a couple of dollars. You will see further down that I didn’t really spend too much money on street food. Well apart from a crazy amount of baguette sandwiches which is my weakness. 

bbq meats luang prabang night market
bbq meats and kebabs, you can add these to the noodle and rice dishes

Restaurants in Laos

You can honestly find such an incredible amount of cuisine at restaurants in Laos. Whether you want Indian, Italian or Mexican food I promise you will be able to find all these and more in the main tourist hubs without having to look far. My personal favorite was Gary’s Irish Bar in Vang Vieng, they even had chip buttys! A favorite childhood food for kiwis. 

Be aware if you travel rurally you may find it difficult to find a large variety of vegetarian foods if you are like me with dietary requirements. On my trip with Stray, we traveled right down to Southern Laos. There were days where all I ate was stir fry vegetables and rice as that was the only vegetarian option. 

delicious hot pot in luang prabang
delicious hot pot in luang prabang

Transportation Costs In Laos

If you are just staying on the main Laos itinerary of Luang Prabang- Vang Vieng- Vientiane then honestly you won’t have a problem with getting around. These are well-traveled routes that provide a large variety of transport options to travel between towns. Though if you are wanting to travel further afield you may have a little bit more difficulty. 

Luckily there are so many options you can choose from. Whether you want to shuttle bus, bus, boat, or fly there will always be some option to take you from point A to point B.

Mentally prepare yourself for a couple of mountainous journeys such as from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng. Definitely check out 12.Go Asia to book your transport for easy and comfortable options with reviews so you can know what to expect.


Buses In Laos

Taking the bus is one of the cheapest ways to travel in Laos, so it will definitely help your Laos travel budget. Though it certainly is far from the most comfortable way to travel and can take quite a bit longer than planned due to constant stopping and starting dropping off and picking up people.

Honestly, I would recommend checking out reviews before booking, especially on those long journeys. Though for short journeys they are a relatively fine option.

taking a bus in laos
taking a bus in laos

Mini Vans In Laos

The tourist alternative to taking buses for short journeys is the infamous shuttle bus. These are basically 8 or so seater vans which will pick you up from your accommodation and drop you off at the bus terminal in the town you are wishing to reach.

These are okay for shorter journeys. Though I would think twice before booking one for more than a 6-hour trip. This is simply because the drivers will often pack you in like sardines. Just because it is an 8 seater van does not mean there is room for 8 people and 8 full-size backpacks and suitcases.

I have taken my fair share of minivans in Laos since I find them the fastest option which is why they appeal to me. I mean I don’t want to spend 2 extra hours on a bus just to save a couple of dollars. Be aware if you are not used to the driving style in Southeast Asia you may get a bit scared in a minivan, and that is all I will say. 

Nevertheless, the shuttle bus is an easy and relatively affordable option when it comes to getting around Laos. Making it a staple in any traveler’s Laos travel budget.

taking a mini van in laos
taking a mini van in laos

Boats in Laos

As the Mekong River flows down the entirety of Laos before entering Cambodia, taking a boat is a popular way to travel the country. The famous slow boat to Luang Prabang has become one of the most famous things to do in the country. This takes you from Huay Xai, the first town from the Thai Laos Border, to the UNESCO city of Luang Prabang. 

slow boat outside pak ou cave
slow boat outside pak ou cave

Flying in Laos

I actually may not be overly qualified to talk about this simply because I have actually never taken a domestic flight in Laos. The country has pretty good ground transport which is a lot more affordable. As a result, this doesn’t make flying an appealing option.

Also, there is a lack of airports in smaller towns. For example, you will find one in Luang Prabang and another in Vientiane. Though there is nothing in Vang Vieng that is at least a 4-hour drive from each of the above towns. 

cost to travel in laos plane
flying in laos

How Cheap Is Laos and My Daily Cost To Travel Laos

The following is my daily cost to travel in Laos. This includes everything from accommodation, food, transport, and attractions. Essentially it is absolutely everything from the 8 days I spent there. Ultimately giving you a good overview of an appropriate Laos travel budget.

Laos Travel Budget In Pakbeng

Day One – Chiang Khong, Thailand to Pakbeng, Laos

Crossing the border from Chiang Khong to Huay Xi between Thailand and Laos my visa cost $30.00 / ₭246000.

As we were early to the border we hired a private tuk-tuk to take us to the slow boat port in Huay Xi, knowing it would take a while to gather people to split the cost $5.60 / ₭46250.

At the pier, we purchased a ticket each for the two-day slow boat journey which cost $25.20 / ₭210000.

Before departing on the slow boat I grabbed a peanut butter baguette, a bag of chips, and some water which cost $3.00 / ₭25000.

On the slow boat, once boredom kicked in, I purchased an overpriced cup of noodles for $1.20 / ₭10000.

We book in at  Phomephithak Guesthouse for the one night we were staying in Pakbeng. We share a double room which costs us $6.90 / ₭57500 each. It has a private bathroom and aircon. Though, it is certainly possible to find cheaper places to stay there.

For dinner, we head to one of the restaurants which have an awesome view over the Mekong River. I have an egg baguette and a beer for dinner which costs me $3.80 / ₭32000.

Daily Cost In Laos: $75.70 / ₭626750

views out of the slow boat in laos
appreciating the views out of the slow boat in laos

Day Two- Pakbeng to Luang Prabang, Laos

We get up and grab breakfast and a packed lunch from the same restaurant as the previous night. For breakfast and lunch, I get three baguettes and water to keep me going on the boat costing $5.40 / ₭45000.

On the slow boat to Luang Prabang, I also get another overpriced cup of noodles costing $1.20 / ₭10000.

Since the slow boat arrives on the outskirts of Luang Prabang we share a tuk-tuk to take us to the center which costs me $2.40 / ₭20000.

In Luang Prabang, we stay at Phanhthasone Guesthouse in a twin room with a private bathroom and aircon. It is a bit more expensive, but the split cost per night is $9 / ₭75000 per night each.

For dinner, we hit up the nightly market in the middle of town. We go a bit food crazy buying little coconut pancakes, a banana and peanut butter crepe, a smoothie, and a slice of lemon cake for a total of $5.60 / ₭47000.

I also buy James a bracelet for $3.00 / ₭25000.

Daily Cost In Laos: $26.60 / ₭222000

disembarking our slow boat in luang prabang
disembarking our slow boat in luang prabang

Laos Travel Budget In Luang Prabang

Day Three- Luang Prabang

I have breakfast at one of the many baguettes stands in the main street. For $3.60 / ₭30000 I purchased lemonade and tofu, avocado, and cheese baguette.

We decided to go to Kuang Si Falls and after negotiating with a tuk-tuk driver I share a ride with a bunch of other backpackers to the start. It costs $6.00 / ₭50000 for the return trip and three hours exploring Kuang Si Falls.

Back in the town center of Luang Prabang, I grab water and another tofu, cheese, and avocado baguette costing $3.00 / ₭25000.

Dinner is again at the night market where I purchased a massive container of noodles, a danish, and a not-so-nice donut for $4.20 / ₭35000.

We share a twin room at Phanhthasone Guesthouse with a private bathroom and aircon at $9 / ₭75000 per night each. It also has free drinking water.

Daily Cost In Laos: $25.80 / ₭215000

the view of the main waterfall at kuang si falls from the footbridge
the view of the main waterfall at kuang si falls from the footbridge

Day Four- Luang Prabang

I have breakfast at one of the baguette stands in the city center. This time I get tofu, egg, cheese, an avocado baguette, and water for $4.20 / ₭35000.

We visit Wat Xiengthong which has a $2.40 / ₭20000 entry fee.

For lunch, we splurge a little and visit Chennai Restaurant which is an Indian restaurant set up on the banks of the Mekong River. A curry, rice, naan bread, lassi, and samosa costs $6.00 / ₭50000.

Purchase minivan tickets to Vang Vieng for the next day $12.60 / ₭105000.

For dinner, we head back to the night market and purchase another baguette as well as splitting a danish costing me $3.60 / ₭30000.

We share a twin room at Phanhthasone Guesthouse with a private bathroom and aircon at $9 / ₭75000 per night each. It also has free drinking water.

Daily Cost In Laos: $37.80 / ₭315000.

buddha in luang prabang
a buddha a one of the temples in luang prabang

Laos Travel Budget In Vang Vieng

Day Five- Vang Vieng

Breakfast of tofu, egg, cheese, and avocado baguette $3.00 / ₭25000

On the minivan, we stop for lunch and I purchase a cup of noodles for $1.00 / ₭8000

In Vang Vieng, we grab some much-needed pub grub at Gary’s Irish Bar. I get a chip butty and a lemon juice for $4.50 / ₭38000.

While in Vang Vieng we stay at Pan’s Place in a private bungalow with a fan and shared bathroom. We split the cost which comes to $3.85 / ₭32000 each per night.

Daily Cost In Laos: $12.35 / ₭103000

western food from garys irish pub where to eat in vang vieng consisting of a roaster with gravy and burger with chips


Day Six- Vang Vieng

We have breakfast at one of the many restaurants which line the main road in Vang Vieng and that constantly play the friend’s TV show all day. I order lemon juice, scrambled eggs, and a baguette which costs $2.40 / ₭20000

At the tub center, we hire tubs each which cost to go tubing along the Nam Song River $6.60 / ₭55000.

As we arrived early at the tubing center, instead of waiting and sharing a tuk-tuk with others James and I split the full tuk-tuk fare and pay $1.20 / ₭10000 each.

For lunch, we head back to Gary’s Irish Bar for a lemon juice and cheese toastie which costs $3.60 / ₭30000.

Making the most of our last and only full day in Vang Vieng we hired a tuk-tuk to take us to Blue Lagoon Three which costs $7.20 / ₭60000 each.

Just outside of Vang Vieng town is a toll bridge which we split at $0.90 / ₭7500 each.

Entry into Blue Lagoon Three is $1.20 / ₭10000.

We head back to one of the restaurants on the main street and share sweet and sour tofu and a plate of pasta between us as well as a drink. This costs us $4.80 / ₭40000 each.

While in Vang Vieng we stay at Pan’s Place in a private bungalow with a fan and shared bathroom. We split the cost which comes to $3.85 / ₭32000 each per night.

Daily Cost In Laos: $31.75 / ₭264500

going under a bridge while river tubing in vang vieng
going under a bridge while river tubing in vang vieng

Laos Travel Budget In Vientiane

Day Seven- Vientiane

For breakfast, I have a scrambled egg sandwich, and lemon juice at one of the restaurants along the main street for $3.00 / ₭25000.

We catch a minivan to Vietanne which was booked through our hostel costing$4.80 / ₭40000.

For lunch, the minivan stops at a roadside restaurant where I get a cheese sandwich for $1.20 / ₭10000.

Dinner is at Nazim Restaurant which specializes in Indian cuisine. I grab a curry, rice, naan, and drink for $6.00 / ₭50000.

In Vientiane, I stay in a dorm room with a shared bathroom at Dream Home Hostel One which costs $4.80 / ₭40000. Breakfast is also included in this rate.

Daily Cost In Laos: $20.90 / ₭165000

visiting vientiane
exploring the city of vientiane

Day Eight- Vientiane

We grab breakfast at the hostel as it is included in the nightly rate

With an early morning flight, a tuk-tuk to the airport costs us $2.40 / ₭20000 which is shared between three people.

Daily Cost In Laos: $2.40 / ₭20000


My Total Laos Trip Cost

The following is a complete breakdown of my Laos trip cost. For the sake of length, I have combined accommodation and food costs. Though you should be able to get a rough estimate of prices from the above.

Cost To Travel Laos  Lation Kip  US Dollars
Visa 246000  $30.00
Tuk tuk border to pier 46250  $5.60
Slow boat 210000  $25.20
Tuk tuk pier to Laung Prabang 20000  $2.40
Bracelet 25000  $3.00
Tuk tuk & entry Kuang Si 50000  $6.00
Minivan Laung Prabang to Vang Vieng 105000  $12.60
Temple entry 20000  $2.40
Tube hire 55000  $6.60
Tuk-tuk leave for tubing 10000  $1.20
Blue Lagoon 3 tuk-tuk 60000  $7.20
Blue Lagoon 3 entry 10000  $1.20
Toll bridge 7500  $0.90
Mini Van to Vientiane 40000  $4.80
Tuk-tuk to airport (shared) 20000  $2.40
Accommodation 386500  $46.40
Food 641500  $77.00
Total Costs 1952750  $234.9
Costs per day 244090  $29.36

Budgeted VS Actual Laos Travel Budget

  Budgeted Actual Difference
Total Spend $208.00 $234.90 -$26.90
Cost per day $26.00 $29.36 -$3.36

The main cost which put me over budget was the accommodation in Luang Prabang. We didn’t realize how expensive getting a private room would be and we only booked a couple of days out when there weren’t many options available. Usually, we would be able to find a place for half this price, though Luang Prabang is quite a beautiful and touristy town which pushes up prices.

exploring waterfalls in laos
tad yuang waterfall in laos

How I Book Cheap Transport In Laos: 12.Go Asia

Money Saving Tips To Decrease Your Cost To Travel Laos

  • Book hostels with free breakfast.
  • Check out whether your accommodation also includes free water.
  • Share transport with other people, waiting ten minutes to see if anyone else is going to the airport/bus station could save you money.
  • Take public buses, though think about whether the couple dollars saved is worth your comfort and time. I will always prefer minivans.
  • Negotiate with tuk-tuk drivers and street vendors, especially in the market places.
kong lor in laos
in rural laos where prices are cheaper

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Find out exactly how much it will cost to travel Laos on a budget and the average Laos trip cost. Let’s talk about the price of accommodation, transportation, food, and more before I let you know my EXACT Laos trip cost and the recommend Laos travel budget!
 

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17 thoughts on “Cost To Travel Laos And My Laos Travel Budget: $30.00 Per Day

  1. The Common Wanderer says:

    We had exactly the same experience in Laos! Absolutely loved our month there, but it totally blew our budget. Lovely photos!

  2. Travellinn says:

    Hoping to get to Laos soon, and it is always helpful to know what to expect. Great with the detailed summary at the end. The places look beautiful, and the bbq at the market looks tasty!

  3. Emily Kammerlohr says:

    Wow! It’s so cheap there. I can’t wait to make it to Laos. Pinning this so I know how to budget when the time comes :)

  4. Kate says:

    Laos looks beautiful! And it’s good to see the daily expenses written here. It’s a good guide that makes it easy for travelers to have realistic expectations on the travel expenses in country.

  5. Erika says:

    I don’t read a lot of posts that break down travel costs so I found it fascinating! I have’t traveled internationally in a minute and you forget how much you spend taking five different forms of transportation everywhere. But also, whoa bread! My arthritic fingers are swelling just thinking about a carb-heavy diet but what are you supposed to do? Not eat? Also, your photographs are stunning! Great post.

  6. Susan says:

    Great post! I really appreciate the detailed budget info. I spent 3 days in Luang Prabang and really enjoyed it. The night market and the food stands near the square (baguettes and smoothies) were such great low-cost options for food (and beer)!

  7. Hannah Stein says:

    Laos looks GORGEOUS! I love how you included that price breakdown at the end. It’s really helpful to know how much you can expect to pay for stuff and also how much you should be paying for stuff.

  8. Adri en Route says:

    I’m putting Laos on my list of places to visit after reading your post! I had no idea it was so affordable, especially accommodation! And the food at the night markets sounds amazing! Thanks for including such detailed information about your expenses, so helpful!

  9. Elaine J Masters says:

    I had no idea how affordable traveling in Laos can be. Thanks for all the details. I hope they welcome Boomers too!

  10. miieloise says:

    One of our friends did a trip around SE Asia earlier this year and said Laos was their favourite country. I’ve badly wanted to visit it since. Your photos are so dreamy. It looks like an amazing trip. I can’t believe you did all this for $30 per day, including food and accommodation! Thanks for sharing!

  11. Sarah @ Sarah Sees The World says:

    I’m currently thinking about Laos as part of my next overseas adventure so I just geeked out on your cost breakdowns! I always get too distracted by eating/ drinking/ doing the things to note down what they cost or where my travel budget is at. Waiting to see whether others are going to the airport is such a great tip as well.

  12. Amber Alexander says:

    This is really useful, thank you! I’m hoping to take a backpack trip through Southeast Asia within a year or two and this will come in handy.

  13. Kristen Tcherneshoff says:

    You always post gorgeous photos!

    I think overall you guys did a fairly good job with the budget — especially since some of your meals sound awesome and you snagged them for quite cheap :D I’m always far too embarrassed to post my trip costs; I’m a total glutton!

  14. mysimplesojourn says:

    Super useful post.

    Sometimes we miss out some out certain expenses but by end of trip those add lot i to overall expenses. I am saving it for future reference.

  15. Kristin Kohler says:

    I find posts like this so helpful! I think automatically people just assume countries in Southeast Asia are inexpensive, but they don’t actually do the math. When we visited Cambodia and went to the Angkor temples, the cost was practically triple for foreigners as compared to locals! Things like that put a serious dent in the budget.

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