Budget And Cost Of Travel Laos

One Week In Laos Budget and Costs

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One Week In Laos Budget and Costs

Travelling can be expensive so its good to keep track of expenses and make a budget. I made a Laos budget and cost breakdown which I am now sharing with you.

When I was researching online Laos was in the middle expense wise when compared to other South East 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!

I actually ended up spending more than I had originally planed. The UNESCO world heritage city of Luang Prabang was definitely the thing which put me over budget. Though, if I were to spend longer in Laos and perhaps traveled more south to Pakse and Don Det this amount likely would have balanced out.

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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. It costs us $6.90 / ₭57500 each for a double rooms with 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 has an awesome view over the Mekong River. I have an egg baguette and a beer for dinner which costs me $3.80 / ₭32000.

Daily expenditure: $75.70 / ₭626750

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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 a 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 centre 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 at $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, 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 expenditure: $26.60 / ₭222000

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Day Three

Luang Prabang

I have breakfast at one of the many baguette stands in the main street. For $3.60 / ₭30000 I purchased a lemonade and a 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 a 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.

I stayed at Phanhthasone Guesthouse in a twin room with a private bathroom and aircon at $9 / ₭75000 per night each.

Daily expenditure: $25.80 / ₭215000

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Day Four

Luang Prabang

I have breakfast at one of the baguette stands in the city center. This time I get a tofu, egg, cheese and avocado baguette and a 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 stay at Phanhthasone Guesthouse in a twin room with a private bathroom and aircon at $9 / ₭75000 per night each. It also has free drinking water.

Daily expenditure: $37.80 / ₭315000.

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Day Five

Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng, Laos

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

On the minivan we stop for lunch and I purchase a cup of noodles $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. It costs us $3.85 / ₭32000 each per night.

Daily expenditure: $12.35 / ₭103000

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Day Six

Vang Vieng, Laos

We have breakfast at one of the many restaurants which line the main road in Vang Vieng and that constantly play the friends TV show all day. I order a 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.

In Vang Vieng we stay at Pan’s Place in a private bungalow with a fan and shared bathroom. It costs $3.85 / ₭32000 each per night.

Daily expenditure: $31.75 / ₭264500

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Day 7

Vang Vieng to Vientiane, Laos

For breakfast I have a scrambled egg sandwich which a 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 we 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 expenditure: $20.90

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Day 8

Leave Vientiane, Laos

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.

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Break Down of Laos Costs

Laos Costs  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 bus 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

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Laos Budget vs Actual Costs

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 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.


Tips for saving money in Laos

  • Book hostels with free breakfast.
  • Check out whether your accommodation also include 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 the 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.

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  • Rowena Li

    Considering going around Christmas and New Year’s! I know you were traveling with a partner, but did you see many solo female travelers? I’m not as worried, trying to get my parents to not freak out!

  • 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.

  • Sheree Strange

    Stunning photos as always, Tasha 🙂 It’s amazing the insight you can gain into a country and travelling when you start looking at these kinds of day-to-day expense breakdowns. I’m seriously considering a longer-term trip somewhere in SEA at the moment, so this is really helpful 🙂 I’m wondering how I’d get on food-wise, though – I’m celiac, so the baguettes would be a no-no… I’m guessing that will either drive up the food costs, or I’ll get alarmingly skinny skipping meals?? 🙂 Thank you for sharing!!

  • mysimplesojourn

    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.

  • Kristen Tcherneshoff

    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 😀 I’m always far too embarrassed to post my trip costs; I’m a total glutton!

  • thecurioussparrow

    It sounds like such an interesting trip, and thanks for the detailed breakdown of costs 🙂

  • Rambles and Runaways

    Love your layout and beautiful pictures! Pinned!

  • Amber Alexander

    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.

  • maninder k

    Loved the falls at Luang Prabang!

  • 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.

  • miieloise

    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!

  • Raksha Rao

    I want to plan a trip to Laos. This is so detailed and helpful. Thanks 🙂

  • Elaine J Masters

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

  • Your photos are always so beautiful! Laos looks like just the most wonderful country. I’d love to go one day, and it’s great to know you can do it for such little money! Thanks so much for sharing 🙂

  • 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!

  • Biang Bustos-Velazquez

    I love how you broke everything down like this! Thank you!

  • Happily Tanned

    Wow…..Such a detailed itinerary and cost breakup…I am saving this post for my Laos trip

  • Annemarie

    What is a peanut butter baguette? Is it just peanut butter spread or baked into the baguette? Thanks for this detailed itinerary and eating suggestions.

  • Christina S

    Laos is gorgeous! Thanks for the great detailed itinerary – it has been bookmarked!

  • 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.

  • Annette Richmond

    Thanks for sharing! I’m currently traveling through SEA and am considering visiting Lao. I especially want to go tubing. It’s one of my favorite things and it looks gorgeous! This post may have just sealed the deal! LOL.

  • Susan

    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)!

  • Jewels

    This is such a useful post. I really appreciate the detailed budget, it makes planning a trip much easier!

  • Erika

    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.

  • Kate

    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.

  • This is a very helpful post! Thanks for tracking your spending and putting it all together.

  • Emily Kammerlohr

    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 🙂

  • Ashfina Charania

    Love how its described in detail. Very informagtive thanks for sharing.

  • 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!