The Kip is the official currency of Laos. The bank notes are presently in denominations of 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1,000 Kip.
All major currencies such as the US Dollar, French Franc, DM, Yen, Baht and others can be exchanged at banks that are located in all major towns. In Luang Prabang and Vientiane competitive rates are offered by numerous authorized private exchange bureaus. One exchange facility is available at Wattay Airport in Vientiane.
Exchange bureaus and banks will cash traveler cheques in major currencies. Furthermore, most domestic and foreign banks in Vientiane allow cash withdrawals on Visa credit card or Master Card. In Vientiane, credit cards can be used in many restaurants and hotels, too. In case of journeys to remote areas it is, of course, advisable to take a good supply of Kip with you.
All visitors entering Laos must possess valid passports.
Visitors traveling to Laos for the purpose of tourism need a visa, which can be obtained in different ways. An easy way is to book a tour to Laos with an authorized travel agency abroad who has a formal contact with one of local tour operators. This agency will provide you with the necessary form, enabling you to apply for the visa at your nearest Lao embassy or consulate (a list of these is provided at the back of this brochure) or you can make contact directly with local tour operators.
If you book a tour to Laos and you are resident of a country that does not have a Lao embassy or in case of urgency, you can obtain the visa upon arrival at the International border checkpoint through the service of Travel Agencies. Of course, you will need to be carrying documentary evidence that your visa has already been approved.