Travel Tips

Check Your Passport
It is a standard requirement for entry into any country in the world that you have a passport valid for at least 6 months beyond the date you expect to complete your travels. If your passport has less than 6 months validity, you should to apply for a new one before you start your trip. If you do apply for a new passport, make sure you can get it before your travel date. If your passport has only a few blank pages left, you should have more pages inserted.

In most parts of Laos you will have to show your passport when checking in to hotels, resorts and guesthouses. You will also need it when buying airline tickets, changing airline dates, and sometimes for changing money.


Passport Copy
When traveling though Loas, it is highly recommended that you make a photocopy of your passport; the first page with your information and photo on it, as well as a copy of the visa page. Keep this copy separate from your passport. If your passport is lost or stolen, report it at once to your tour operator office, local guide or tour leader. You must also report it to the local police and the nearest embassy or consulate of your country. We will assist you with this.


Visa Information

The following visa information is meant only as a general guide. You should always check with the embassy or consulate in your country for visa requirements. Travel Loops can provide assistance with your visa if required. Please contact us for further information regarding our visa services. Contact Us 


Travel Documents & Vouchers 
When you book your tour, you will be issued with a Confirmation Invoice. Please ensure that all the services which you have booked and paid for are shown on your travel documents, and that all names have been spelled correctly. If you have booked additional services (ex. extra night accommodation, transfers or excursions), please make sure that these are shown on your Confirmation Invoice, and that you have been issued with a voucher for these services. (Please contact the sales agent regarding service vouchers)


Currency Exchange

There are a variety of ways you can obtain, or carry money overseas, including credit cards, ATM cards, Traveller's cheques, and cash. Traveller's cheques are a useful back-up which are popular for security reasons. Foreign currencies and Traveller's cheques can be changed into Laos Kip at banks and foreign currency exchange agencies in most cities of these countries. Credit cards can be used in most cities and large tourist centers. Before leaving from Laos, local currencies can be changed into foreign currencies at the airport.

However, it is recommended that you do carry some cash with you (a small amount is sufficient). Local currency is useful for making small purchases, and in more remote areas. It is a good idea to change an amount of money on arrival at the airport. This can be very useful for any immediate expenses. If you are entering at a border crossing, change only a small amount of money at the money changers, and wait until you can get to a bank to change more money. Banks and airport exchange services generally offer the best exchange rates. Private money changers will have the worst exchange rates. ATMs are widely available in the cities. In border areas of Cambodia, near Thailand, Laos and Vietnam; the Thai Baht, Laos Kip and Vietnam Dong can be used.

When you leave, be sure to change any local currency back into dollars at the airport or when you cross the border. Currencies are not convertible outside the country.

Note that US dollars are NOT used Laos.


Safety for Adventure/Active/Cycling Trips
Activities of Adventure/Active or Cycling Trips while traveling with Travel Loops you can be assured that your safety and well-being is our prime concern. Over the years we have built up a network of local staff and local offices which enables us to maintain constant contact, and to monitor events on the ground in each of our destinations, and thus ensure that every aspect of your tour goes as smoothly as possible.

Do not worry about all the terrible things that “might” happen to you while traveling in the operation regions. Remember that in these countries (Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand) travel is quite safe, and group travel is even more so.


Health & Medical


Please remember that our tour prices do not include insurance. However, it is a condition of joining our tours that travelers are fully insured for any medical expenses they might incur while traveling. At the start of your tour, the tour guide or coordinator will request to see your insurance documents, and will note down the policy number and emergency contact numbers.

Travel insurance is compulsory for all participants in our tours, and you need to have travel insurance coverage before your departure. This insurance is needed in the event of a medical emergency, and it will cover hospital and medical expenses, and evacuation if it is needed. It covers expenses related to accidents and unforeseen illnesses which may arise.


Vaccinations & Medication
Vaccinations are officially required by the local authorities; however immunization against cholera, hepatitis, typhoid, tetanus, polio and Japanese encephalitis is advised. Please consult your health care provider for advice. It is also a good idea to bring mosquito repellent and wearing long-sleeved shirts and slacks from dusk onward, and avoiding perfume is also recommended. In addition, you should bring a supply of any prescription drugs you are taking. Your prescription medication may not be available here. You should also have your prescription with you in case your medication gets lost. Medical standards in Vientiane, Luang Prabang, and outside major cities in Laos, are generally lower that those found in western countries.


Personal Medical Kits
It is your discretion to bring a personal supply of basic medical items like band aids, aspirin, insect repellent etc. You may also want to bring medicine for headaches, diarrhea, constipation, insect bites, sore throats, eye drops, etc. For traveling In outlying areas with limited medical facilities, some travelers prefer to bring their own emergency medical kits. This may also aid local medical staff in case of accident or illness. Our tour guide/ leaders are equipped with a comprehensive First Aid Kit (including a sterile pack) for emergencies, however they cannot dispense medicine.


Existing Medical Conditions
All persons participating in our tours are assumed to be in good physical health, and to have a sufficient level of fitness to complete the itinerary. If you, or anyone in your group, have an existing medical condition or disability you must make this known to us at the time of booking. If you are accepted on the tour, you must also make this condition known to the tour guide/leader.


What to Pack

Travel Light
The first thing to remember when you are packing for your trip is that your airline baggage allowance is almost certainly going to be no more than 20kg. You should also remember that apart from those few occasions when a hotel porter will take your bags from the hotel out to a tour bus, you will be carrying your own luggage.


For ease of use and carrying, the best type of bag to bring is a backpack, or a hold-all with some sort of shoulder strap. This type of bag is much easier to handle than a rigid suitcase. Wheeled suitcases might be useful for airport concourses, but not for on the road.

In addition to your main bag, we also recommend that you bring:

1. A smaller day pack for items like camera, water, sun cream, hat, etc.

2. A money belt or waist pouch (bum bag) for your travel documents and money.

Remember that your luggage, bags and personal belongings are your responsibility at all times.


Luggage Requirement Checklist

As a guideline we have compiled a list of things that you might need on your tour. Naturally you will have your own ideas, so please remember that with the exception of The Essentials, these lists are only intended as a guide, and you should choose the items you wish to bring.


- Passport (also keep a copy separate from the passport)

- Money (Keep a note of the emergency contact number for your Visa or ATM card, and the  

  serial  numbers of any traveller's cheques)

- Copies of Travel Insurance Documents

- Airline Tickets or Printouts

- Travel Documents / Service Vouchers


Our Suggestion for General and Cycling trips

- Comfortable clothing for cycling allowing your legs to move freely

- Helmet
- Cycling gloves
- Stiff soled Cycling shoes
- Insulated water bottle

- Waterproof jacket (rain is always possible in South East Asia)

- Spare inner tube

- A bicycle (If you have your preference bicycle)

- Front and rear bike lights
- Cycling Water bottle
- Money belt or pouch
- Flashlight and batteries

- Personal washing / shaving kit

- Camera and film / memory cards

- Sun-glasses

- Swiss Army Knife / Leatherman

- Lightweight wind / waterproof jacket


Our Recommendation for Cyclists

Better to hire the bicycle from us as it is convenience with a light travel.


Medical / Personal

- Insect repellent
- Sun cream or sunblock
- Lip balm

- Moisturizer / After Sun lotion

- Personal medical supplies (aspirin, paracetamol, plasters, bandage, safety pins, antiseptic      cream, diarrhea tablets, tampons, etc.)

- Antihistamine / insect bite cream

- Dehydration solution - Personal medication

NoteOur tour guide/leaders & guides carry comprehensive First Aid Kits, but these are for emergency use only.

If you are taking any medication, or you have a condition that needs specific medicines (e.g. asthma) you must bring all necessary medication with you. You must also inform the tour leader or guide of your condition at the start of your tour.


As a general guideline, clothing should be lightweight, sturdy and easily washed. Most people tend to bring too many clothes, so try to travel as light as possible.

Please remember that special cycling clothes and shoes are not easy available in Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar and Laos (although some may be available in Thailand). You may want to bring SPD shoes or sandals with overshoes. You do not want to have to go looking for specialized cycling clothes and shoes during your journey, so bring what you will need with you.


Still photography is not a problem at historical sites, but please remember that climbing or leaning on statues and walls is not acceptable. Also, always ask before taking photos of other people.

However, if you want to take video at historical sites, special permits are necessary. Also be aware that video cameras must be declared at customs on arrival in many countries.


Film vs. Digital

Film may not always be available locally and can be of variable quality, so you should bring plenty with you. If you use a digital camera, be sure you have an adequate supply of memory cards, and bring spare batteries, especially if they are of an unusual size. (Although batteries and most memory cards can be bought in the cities) Two sets of rechargeable are best so one set is always full. Don't forget to bring the charger as well as a travel plug adapter.

Many internet shops or photo shops can burn photos from memory cards onto a CD, but do not delete any images from the card until you have checked the CD on a different computer.


Emergency Contact 
If someone needs to contact you while you are on tour; the best method is for them to contact your sales agent, who can then pass on the message. If your sales agent is unavailable, and someone needs to make urgent contact with you, they should telephone our hotline in the tour operation department in Travel Loops office. Emergency Contact details are shown in each service voucher. We recommend that you leave a copy of your trip itinerary, service voucher and details of how to contact us / you with someone at home.


Phoning Hotels
We do not recommend that your friends and relatives try to contact you by phoning tour hotels. It is not possible for us to provide the details of hotels where you will stay before the tour starts (except for the Meeting Point hotel) because hotels are subject to change.


The internet is everywhere, in internet shops, hotels cafes, guesthouses, etc. Chat and webcams are also widely available. Internet use is free for guests in many hotels and guesthouses. Using the internet in internet shops is about US$0.50/ hour, depending on the location.


Mobile Phones
You can use your own cell phone if you come from Europe, Asia or Australia (GSM 900/1800). If it is not yet unlocked, it can be easily done here. For those from the USA or Japan, you may need to buy a cell phone when you get here. You may want to do this anyway. If you have an expensive mobile phone, you may want to leave it at home, and buy a cheap one here in case it gets lost, stolen, or broken.

There are regular prepaid refill cards and international prepaid cards. You can get a SIM card now for as little as $0.50 USD. You will need to show your passport, and/or give them a copy of it.



Cell phone shops can be found almost everywhere in the countries we operate in, even in the most remote parts of the country. However, not all mobile phone companies cover all parts of the country, especially in remote areas there may not be any coverage.