Currency

The official currency is the Lao Kip (L-KIP) although US dollars or Thai Bath are accepted in the main cities. So are the Euros in the banks, and for payment in some hotels and restaurants of major cities. At the time of writing exchange rate is US$ 1 = 8 000 L-KIP, and 1 Euro = 10 800 KIP (December 2013)

 

Traveller’s cheques can be cashed only at major banks and usually incur a 2% to 5% transaction fee.

Visa and Master cards are accepted now in most hotels in Vientiane and Luang Prabang, and in a few restaurants and shops in the main towns (Vientiane, Luang Prabang and Pakse), but can also be subject to 2% to 5% transaction fees.

You can also get cash advances with your credit card either from automated teller machines (ATM) in BCL banks or from foreign exchange offices (subject to 2% to 5% transaction fees).

Depending on the country you are travelling from, the best advice is to bring either cash in USD or Euro. Note that exchange rates for small and big notes vary, so we would recommend you to bring some small notes in USD dollars to cope with first expenses on arrival then either 100 USD or 100 Euro bank notes.

Be careful, banks and foreign exchange offices do not usually take old, scribbled or even stained bank notes. Please check opening hours, as some banks close at 4 pm.  

Please note that some hotels may need an imprint of your credit card as a deposit during your stay, which is a normal procedure.  However, this deposit can be made in cash and will be refunded upon check-out.