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My first trip to Laos

by Beate1 Online Now Mar 14, 2013 at 6:22 AM

Hallo,

I just begin to plan our first trip to Laos, and before I can plan, I have some questions:

Is it possible to drive through the country with a rental car, but without a driver? We are used do drive by ourselves and had done this almost all over in the world, but not in Asia.

Can we go to Laos without reservation of hotels in advance? We want to be independent.

Is February a good time? We don't like to much of heat.

Thank you

Beate

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9 Answers
  • picek's Profile Photo

    Re: My first trip to Laos

    by picek Online Now Mar 14, 2013 at 6:32 AM

    Yes, February is good but also hot already, temperatures can reach 35 celsius from Central to South Lao (Northern is little colder).
    No problem to rent a car and drive by yourself, but they will usually ask you to leave passport at them and you get it back when you give back the car. Take international driving licence. If you plan to take side roads you need good 4 WD and decent map and sometimes you'll have to ask directions so few words to learn will be very helpful then.
    Note that there is now loads of cars and local drivers with no driving licence so be careful driving.

    We never booked hotels in advance, there're plenty rooms and tourism sector is one of fastest growing in country (as well as construction one).

    Hope it helps,
    v.

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  • davidjo's Profile Photo

    Re: My first trip to Laos

    by davidjo Online Now Mar 14, 2013 at 6:35 AM

    goseasia.about.com/od/laos/a...
    According to this site it is possible to rent a car, but this is a growing business still in its infancy so i don't think that there are too many rental companies at the moment. I read on anothe site you can rent a car from the airport, but be careful as there are some very dangerous drivers in the mountainous areas, mostly trucks and buses. When i was there last the tourist brochure mentioned the bad driving and the locals put their faith in Buddha
    You will have no problem at all in finding accommodation and the standard is very good for what you pay.
    February ---you will avoid the rainy season and the real hot weather will be a little later in the year. Laos is a very mountainous country and you will be surprised how cool it will get at night. Check my Laos pages out for a few ideas! You will really enjoy the country

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  • Fluffy_bunny's Profile Photo

    Re: My first trip to Laos

    by Fluffy_bunny Online Now Mar 14, 2013 at 6:58 AM

    There's no "pick up here, drop off there" rental service, so you'll need to return it where you got it. Furthermore, international rentals are virtually non-existent in the region. So you can't get a car in Thailand and and drop it off in Laos (for example)

    As for booking hotels, it isn't really necessary. Certainly not for visa purposes as most 'western' nationalities get visa on arrival without any supporting documentation.

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  • Re: My first trip to Laos

    by Beate1 Online Now Mar 14, 2013 at 7:03 AM

    Hello,

    thank you both. This sounds pretty good.
    We want to drive by ourselfes, just becouse of the dangerous drivers. When we drive by ourselfes, it is in our hands to avoid an accident. Otherwise we had to trust our driver, an this for me is impossible!

    @ picek:
    when we have to leave our passport at the rental station, what will happen in case we were stopped by police? Is than a fotocopie of our passport the right thing?

    Beate

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  • Re: My first trip to Laos

    by Beate1 Online Now Mar 14, 2013 at 7:07 AM

    Hello Fluffy bunny,

    thanks also to you.

    We don't need a one-way-rental and no international rental. We want to pick up the car in Vientiane at the airport and bring it back there after 4 weeks time.

    Beate

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  • picek's Profile Photo

    Re: My first trip to Laos

    by picek Online Now Mar 14, 2013 at 7:08 AM

    when we have to leave our passport at the rental station, what will happen in case we were stopped by police? Is than a fotocopie of our passport the right thing?

    the company will give you photocopy of the main side and visa side which you then normally use in case anyone asks to see documents. most hotels even didn't ask for PP, but if they do then you still have copy to show.

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  • DavidBotts's Profile Photo

    Re: My first trip to Laos

    by DavidBotts Online Now Mar 14, 2013 at 7:19 AM

    Was in Laos in February. That is not a bad time to go. Can't say as to its viability for independent travel. Driving in Asia is something I always leave to my drivers.

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  • cachaseiro's Profile Photo

    Re: My first trip to Laos

    by cachaseiro Online Now Mar 14, 2013 at 7:54 AM

    February is a good time to visit Laos and you can always find somewhere to stay as long as you are not too fuzzy.
    I have been there several times and it's an absolutely wonderful place.

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  • Re: My first trip to Laos

    by Beate1 Online Now Mar 15, 2013 at 6:05 AM

    Hella,

    thank you all. So I can go further with my planning.

    Beate

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