Travel period: January 27 – February 04, 2019
Laos would definitely deserve much more time than we could invest. Therefore the nutshell summary is super short. Just more or less to record our costs.
Anyway, what we saw during the week there, Laos is a beautiful country with friendly people and still relatively less developed tourism. Food is lovely but infrastructure and weather conditions can be limiting certain activities.
Places we visited:
Vietnamese border (Phukeua – Bo Y) → Attapeu → Pakse → Thousand Islands → Cambodia border (Veun Kham – Dong Kralor)
Our costs for one week in Laos
All in all, Laos is very affordable and can accommodate every pocket, even in tourist places.
Standard Guesthouse around 100,000 – 150,000 LAK per double room (20 USD)
Comfort will depend on the service you choose. If you arrange it with a hotel or travel agency it will be comfy, while if you opt for public transport in a remote area it can travel in quite a run-down machine (which does not necessarily mean uncomfortable).
Bus Attapeu to Pakse 50,000 LAK, bus Pakse to Don Det (Thousand Islands) 60,000 LAK (6 USD)
Scooter rental per day 50,000 LAK per day (6 USD)
Bicycle 10,000 LAK per day
Read more: Philippines in a nutshell
Food is great as anywhere in Asia and it is much closer to Thai cuisine rather than to Vietnamese cuisine.
Kiosk meal circa 15,000 LAK (2 USD)
Restaurant meal around 25,00-30,000 LAK (3-4 USD)
Water 3,500 LAK (0,5 USD)
In total, both of us, without any inbound flight tickets, insurance, or any other special costs, for our 8 days in Laos, we spent 3,500,000 LAK = 390 USD. That makes daily average per person equal to 220,000 LAK = 25 USD.
Getting to Cambodia via Veun Kham – Dong Kralor border
To get to Cambodia we book tickets directly with our accommodation again. As in the prior case, it was the cheapest and the most convenient way to get there. Since we were not sure what we were going to do or see in Cambodia and we wanted to limit tourist buses to a minimum. We booked tickets only to Stung Treng (which pop-up to be quite a good choice). Times are changing quickly in countries like Laos and Cambodia. However, regarding the border crossing, you still better be prepared for ending to pay extra process fee(s) or have a naughty fight at the border. There are people at the Laos side of the border trying to represents themselves as Cambodian or Laos officials. But later you figure out that they are just trying to make extra dollars for arranging Cambodian visas. If I recall it well, it was maybe 5 or even 10 dollars more than it would be officially. I really did not get this at first glance and later I refused to bother with it. Having in mind the experience from the Vietnamese border and knowing a bus should be waiting for us on the Cambodian side that we had already paid for.