Remember These Dos and Don’ts When Visiting Laos

Laos is one of my favourite countries that I have travelled to – one of the poorest nations in Southeast Asia yet one of the most beautiful. It is the least developed of all of the former French Indochina states and it is landlocked, sparsely populated and quite disconnected from the rest of the world. The lack of foreign influence has left the local culture relatively untouched and you will have the opportunity to get a glimpse of traditional Southeast Asian life.

Laos Travel Tips

Laos Travel Tips: Dos and Dont’s

When I arrived in Vientiane and travelled through Laos, I fell in love with the slow pace of life, the lush mountain scenery, the friendly and welcoming people and the fascinating local culture – and I’m sure you will to. While you are exploring this country, here are some Laos travel tips that you should keep in mind  so that you don’t unknowingly break any social taboos and offend the local people:

  • Don’t wear your swimsuit while walking around the streets or within the shops. Many backpackers tend to do this in Vang Vieng (which is next to a river), yet it is very inappropriate and makes the locals feel awkward.
  • Do pack long pants and a long sleeved shirt that you can wear while visiting temples, as you will need to cover your legs and shoulders.
  • Don’t touch the monks or their robes. Touching a monk is a taboo in Laos, especially if you are a woman.
Laos Travel Tips: Golden Reclining Buddha in Vientiane
Golden Reclining Buddha in Vientiane
  • Do avoid public displays of affection. Kissing or cuddling in public is considered very inappropriate.
  • Don’t get loud and angry if you are frustrated. Laos people generally don’t find it acceptable to show anger in public in this way and it will be considered very inappropriate. Staying calm is much more effective.
  • Do greet people you meet with a smile and say “Sabai Dee”, which is a friendly Laos greeting. You can also press your hands together and bow your head, which is known as a “Nop”.
  • Don’t greet people by kissing them on the cheek. This might be the way things are done in Europe, but a Lao person will find it uncomfortable.
  • Do make sure that you take your shoes off when entering someone’s home. You might want to wear flip flops to make it easier to take your shoes on and off frequently.
  • Don’t talk about politics or speak in a critical way about the government, unless you want to make things very awkward.
Laos Travel Tips

These are just a few of the very important Laos travel tips about culture etiquette dos and don’t you should keep in mind when you are travelling in this country. The Laos people are very reserved , so if you are doing something offensive they might be too polite to point it out to you – which is why it is crucial to be informed before your trip so that you can avoid doing something offensive.

About Kelly Dunning


A Canadian freelance writer with a love of art, culture, literature and adventure, Kelly loves exploring foreign lands and expressing her experiences through the power of the written word. She and her English boyfriend Lee run, packed full with travel guides, stories and inspiration for those who dream of travel. They have been location independent and travelling the world digital-nomad style for the last three years, with no address, no car and no fixed schedule.

Other posts by the Author

One Response

  1. Tubing in Vang Vieng Laos: How not to drown - Go 4 Travel Blog

    […] you are looking for the authentic Laos experience and wish to immerse yourself in the local culture, Vang Vieng is not the destination for you. […]


Leave a Reply