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Laos Begins Reopening Its Borders For Tourism After 18 Months Of Shutdown

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The Southeast Asian nation of Laos has begun the process of partially reopening its borders to international tourists after more than a year and a half. 

From January 1, fully vaccinated international tourists from certain countries, including the U.S., Canada and the UK will be able to visit Laos for tourism purposes. Among the list of requirements for entry, travel must be pre-booked and limited to movement in the designated “green travel zones”.

Here’s everything travelers need to know on Laos’ reopening for international tourism. 

 A neighborhood in Vang Vieng in Vientiane, Laos lined with guesthouses. Motorists can be seen driving through and parked the street.
International travelers can visit Vang Vieng again

Reopening Will Begin With Visitors On Package Tours By Authorized Travel Agencies

As part of the reopening, all international travelers will be allowed to enter Laos if they’ve booked a pre-arranged, packaged tour with authorized travel agents that are allowed to work in the “green travel zones.” 

These designated zones are the major destinations in Laos: the capital city of Vientiane, Luang Prabang province in the northern region and Vang Vieng, a scenic river town located about four hours north of Vientiane known for its caves, cultural relics, and river tubing excursions.

Breathtaking Kuang Si Waterfall Cascades, Luang Prabang, Laos

Under the new guidance, foreign nationals from the following countries can currently visit Laos if they follow the reopening guidelines that are in place:

United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Israel, Japan, France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Italy, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, The Philippines, Indonesia, Brunei, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Finland, Hungary, Switzerland, Austria, Denmark, and Belgium.

The first phase of Laos’ reopening is set from January 1 to March 30. Phase 2 is currently planned for April 1 to June 30, 2022, and will expand to some surrounding regions once vaccination rates across the country have increased, according to the Visa Laos website.

Patuxai literally meaning Victory Gate in Vientiane, Laos
The capital city of Vientiane is currently the only entry point for international tourists to Laos

Travel Entry Restrictions For Laos Starting January 1

Here are the entry requirements for all international tourists to Laos beginning January 1:

  • All travelers to Laos must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19. This means that the last required dose on an approved Covid vaccine must have been administered to you at least 14 days prior to travel.
  • Travelers must also show proof of a negative PCR Covid test result taken no later than 72 hours prior to departure to Laos. If you’re traveling from the UK, please note that NHS tests are currently not accepted for entry. Travelers coming from the UK will need to take a test at a private lab instead. 
Nam Khan River, high muddy water. Luang Prabang, Laos
  • Tourists must have travel medical insurance coverage for a minimum of $50,000 USD. 
  • All visitors to Laos must pre-book a tour that is allowed to operate in one of the designated green travel zones. The tourist agency must also hold a Lao Travel Green Zone Plan license. 
  • All international visitors need to download the official LaoStaySafe app in order to register and fill out a health declaration form for travel. You can also upload your proof of vaccination and testing results for entry to Laos.
  • According to the Visa Laos website, foreign nationals may require a visa to enter Laos. Travelers from the U.S., Canada, and the UK can apply for a visa online as soon as tourist visa applications reopen. Visitors will be granted entry once the visa is approved and all entry requirements are followed.
traveler wearing face mask waiting to board into airplane, standing in departure terminal in airport.

Points Of Entry To Laos – Information For Travelers

For Phase 1 of Laos’ reopening process, the entry points for international tourists will be limited to the capital city of Vientiane. All international visitors are allowed to enter the country by air via Wattay International Airport in Vientiane. Alternatively, you can cross into Laos by land via the First Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge in Vientiane.

The other popular entry points in Luang Prabang will remain closed for now. 

Domestic Travel Opening Up For 2022

When traveling around Laos, everyone must follow the standard health and safety requirements. Face masks are required to be worn in all public areas and social distancing of 1-2 meters for anyone outside of your travel party must be respected. Services such as restaurants, hotels, guesthouses, and coffee shops are currently allowed to operate, but under strict social distancing instructions.

Entertainment establishments such as karaoke bars, casinos, game shops, and nightclubs remain closed throughout the country. Also take note that spas, cinemas, hair salons, and sports centers will be closed in areas where there’s a community outbreak. Schools throughout Laos are currently in the process of reopening.

According to the latest government guidance, all service providers must be fully vaccinated along with all tourists.

If you’re currently in Laos and wondering about visa extensions or the status of Laos’ reopening, you can check the U.S. Embassy website or the UK Government Travel Advice website.

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This article originally appeared on Travel Off Path. For the latest breaking news that will affect your next trip, please visit: Traveloffpath.com

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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling.  Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories


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Pierre

Sunday 27th of February 2022

Pre-book a tour??? Sorry no way. I will wait for better days and go somewhere else in the region where tourists are more welcome.

Jessy

Friday 4th of February 2022

I built a house there I can't even visit without tour? And I can't even stay in my own house. lol No thanks.

HardTimes

Wednesday 19th of January 2022

Does anyone know if the Lao Stay Safe app is up and running? I get redirected to a LaoPay app.

Mister

Friday 14th of January 2022

No is going to come. Stupid pre arranged tour packages costing a 1000 bucks. No way!

David

Thursday 13th of January 2022

Pre guided tour? Sounds like North Korea but what else can you expect from Laos? The country is completely backwards. Some hotels have signs saying "no discussing politics" inside the rooms. It's one of the most depressing countries I've ever traveled to. The people are not happy at all and there is tons of corruptions and scams. It is a communist dump.

James

Friday 14th of January 2022

@David, do you always sit on the fence