How much money do you need for backpacking in Laos? Is Laos expensive? These were some of the questions we had when we planned our 2 weeks in Laos itinerary. In February 2019, we finally travelled through Laos and find out our expenses were much lower than we expected because most of the things to do in Laos are free or just a small entrance fee.
Hotels in Laos are also relatively cheap and prices for food or transportation is very low. If you are planning to go backpacking in Laos and want to know how much budget you need for a 2 weeks in Laos itinerary? Then this blogpost might help you.
Read also: The perfect 2 weeks in Laos itinerary
Backpacking in Laos: before you read on
We spent 12 days in Laos and 2 days on the slow boat from Luang Prabang to the border of Thailand. During our Laos itinerary, we slept every night in a double bedroom hotel and never cooked our own meals. We used tourist buses and local transport to get around and many of the things to do in Laos were very cheap such as hiking to viewpoints, visiting waterfalls, strolling around the market, and watch traditional events.
To give you an idea of what costs you can expect when you go backpacking in Laos, we divided the budget for our 2 weeks in Laos itinerary into 5 categories: accommodations, transport, food & drinks, activities & others like SIM-cards, visas, and tips.
Backpacking in Laos: What’s not included in our travel budget
- International flights – we flew from Bangkok to Vientiane for $62 per person incl. luggage.
- Travel insurance – World Nomads
- Purchase of our backpacks and camera bags
Read also: Best websites to find the cheapest flights
Hotels in Laos – 14 Days – $ 345 (Total for 2 persons)
We slept 14 nights in comfortable hotels in Laos and paid an average of $24 per night for both of us. Some hotels offered even breakfast included in this price!
For western standards, you can find very cheap and comfortable hotels in Laos but we regret that we didn’t sleep in hostels more often during our 2 weeks in Laos itinerary. Staying in hostels and homestays is a great way to meet new travelers, which is amazing when you go backpacking in Laos.
Money-saving tip: use this link to save up to $45 on your first booking on Airbnb
- 3 nights in a luxury hotel in Vientiane – La Seine Vientiane
- 11 nights in mid-range hotels – average $21/night
Read also: The best hotels in Laos
Transport in Laos – 14 Days – $ 136 (Total for 2 persons)
Using transport in Laos is quite easy as some local buses take you to the main places around Laos. We took a bus from Vientiane to Vang Vieng and from Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang. In the cities or towns, it’s easy to take the samlaw’s (3-wheeled tuk-tuk) to get around.
- 2 buses
- Tourist bus from Vientiane to Vang Vieng – Kip 80.000 ($9)
- Tourist bus from Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang – Kip 80.000 ($9)
- 1 boat
- we took the Luang Say slow boat from Luang Prabang to Huay Xai (Thailand)
- Scooter prices vary between $5-$7 per day
Backpacking in Laos: food & drinks – 14 Days – $ 290 (total for 2 persons)
Laos surprised us in many aspects and especially the food. In Vientiane, we taste some of the delicious local dishes and in Luang Prabang, we even did a Laotian cooking class, which was amazing! In our 2 weeks in Laos itinerary, we didn’t cook our own meals and enjoyed every day the most delicious food of Laos because it’s very cheap.
- Eating out – $254
- Groceries – $36 (snacks on the bus, fruits, …)
Read also: The perfect 2 weeks in Laos itinerary
Activities & things to do in Laos – 14 Days – $ 57 (Total for 2 persons)
- Buddha Park Vientiane – Kip 15.000 per person ($1,8) + we paid Kip 180.000 ($20) to a local guy drive us there and back.
- Pha Ngern View Point in Vang Vieng – Kip 10.000 per person ($1,2)
- Kuang Si Waterfalls – Kip 20.000 per person ($2,2) + we arranged a local driver in town, which we paid Kip 170.000 ($18) for private transport.
- Scooter rental – Kip 50.000 per day ($5,5)
- A sunset cruise along the Mekong River – This one was complimentary from the hotel
- A massage at the award-winning Spa of Burasari Heritage – Complimentary from the hotel
- Rent a bike and explore the cute little village of Luang Prabang
- cooking class (Burasari Heritage organized a private one for us, which was great with stunning river views and a romantic setting)
- Climb Mount Phousi, Luang Prabang’s sacred hill to watch the sunset
- A visit to the Royal Palace in Luang Prabang
- Wat Xieng Thong Temple (our favorite one) – Free entrance
Other expenses in Laos – 14 Days – $ 99 (Totals for 2 persons)
When you go backpacking in Laos you’ll definitely need a visa-on-arrival, just like us…. and probably this is the biggest cost before you enter Laos. We listed here all other costs such as visa, sim cards, tips, etc, …
- Visa – We applied for a 30-day visa and paid $35 per person
- SIM-cards & data package from “Unitell” (30days) – Kip 130.000 ($15) for unlimited data. We bought the sim cards on arrival at the airport.
- Souvenirs & tips – $21
Read also: Laos: Everything you need to know
The total budget for our 2 weeks in Laos itinerary – 14 Days – $ 927
We spent $927 in total for both of us during our 2 weeks in Laos itinerary, which is an average daily budget of around $33 per person. Backpacking in Laos is definitely the cheapest trip we have done so far and it was also one of the most surprising countries of this year, so we would highly recommend this destination to anyone.
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