We spent 22 days in Laos and our total spent was $2,118. That is $96 a day or $16 a day each.
While in Laos we visited 3 places. We flew from Kuala Lumpur into Vientiane then from there we visited Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang before heading back to Vientiane to fly back to KL. We could have gone overland between Laos and Thailand but I knew there were a few big overland trips within the country and as flights were so cheap with Air Asia decided to fly.
A big portion of our budget was spent on transport in Laos. Our first leg from Vientiane to Vang Vieng we decided to catch a bus. The trip was meant to take 3.5 hours but ended up taking around 6. If you have ever caught a bus in Asia before you will understand, however the prices were very good. We paid around $6 each for the journey.
The bus was late in leaving and when we did leave we drove down the road about 30 minutes before we stopped for 20 minutes for no apparent reason. We then stopped randomly along the way to pick up people or goods to deliver to our destination. The bus was fine however and the air-conditioning worked well.
The kids coped well with the trip and we only had a couple of the kids get sick on the bus. For the rest of our journey we decided to take private vans. They were a few dollars more expensive but so worth it as we were able to stop when we liked and spread out. The trip times were also a lot quicker in a van compared to the bus as we were travelling in a private vehicle the driver was not allowed to stop to pick up people on the road or transport any goods etc and the vans could travel at higher speeds.
While in each town we used our feet to walk the city and occasionally we also hired bikes. Bike rental worked out to around $1-1.50 per day and we would rent 4 and dub the two boys.
While in Vientiane we were lucky to stay with our New Zealand friends Teresa and Beale. We stayed with them for a total of 6 nights. Nothing beats staying with friends and we had a wonderful time and are very thankful for their hospitality. In Vang Vieng we stayed at Jammee Guesthouse. This has been one of our favourite accommodations to date. The setting of the guesthouse was just spectacular. We had karst mountain backdrop and our guesthouse breakfast area looked out over a lush working farm.
Our room was $48 a night and for that we got 2 king size beds and 1 single. Breakfast was also included and was the best breakfast we had all trip. They use ingredients straight from the garden and we enjoyed omelets with fresh veggies nearly everyday. They were so good.
In Luang Prabang we also had a family room and spent $35 a night for two queen size beds however no breakfast was included.
The kids were very happy in Laos. They indulged in a lot of Baguette’s with Nutella and Peanut butter. We enjoyed lots of rice and noodle dishes with fresh veggies and the prices were very reasonable. We spent around $40 a day on food.
If breakfast was not included we would have an early lunch at one of the sandwich and fresh juice stalls. We would spend about $15 for our family to each get a baguette and a fresh juice.
For dinner we would visit a restaurant and spend around $20-25 to feed our family. When we go out we don’t order drinks only a large water and that saves quite a bit also.
We also indulged in yummy pancakes for $1 and coconut cupcakes .50 cents when we visited the night markets in Luang Prabang and they were delicious.
Laos is such a beautiful country so we spent a lot of time hiking into the mountains and hanging out on the river in Vang Vieng. We did one day trip while in Vang Vieng where we went visited the Elephant Temple, went caving and also kayaked down the Nam Song River. This cost $90 USD for all 6 of us.
In Luang Prabang we did many things for free or cheap. We watched the monks every morning and visited the morning and night markets. We also walked around the town visiting many of the temples that dot the streets.
We went out-of-town twice. Once to see the Elephants which were free, we just had to pay for the tuk-tuk and food to feed the Elephants and another time to Kuang Si Waterfalls and Bear Sanctuary. The Kuang Si Waterfalls were $15 for all 6 of us. We also went for a ride on the river one day and stopped off at the local weaving and paper making village. The cost of this was $20.
In Vientiane we only did free activities including visiting the Cope Centre and playing at the park on the Riverfront, although we did hire bikes one day. Total cost $6.
Overall Laos was a country rich in natural beauty and you don’t need to spend a lot of money on activities here as you can enjoy nature for free. We loved Laos it is a special place and the people are beautiful.