I'm going to Laos in mid-July from China and I have a few hundred US dollars with me now. I'm in a small town in China and US dollars are hard to come by. Do you know if I can change my $100 until smaller US bills at the Vientiane airport? Or would I be better off just changing it into kip? Ideally I'd like to get some $10's, $5's and $1's. Also if I have pay the $30 visa fee at the airport with a $100 do they have change or do they expect the exact amount? This is my first time there and I'm kind of confused, thanks for your help!
Also, I have two weeks in Laos July 12-26th. I was thinking of heading up to the north, LP, Nhong Khiow. My friend wants me to go to Chiang Mai with her at the end of the trip for a few days, would that be too rushed to see the north? I know just getting to LP takes 11hrs right?
USD are widely accepted in Vientianne, Laos. I'm not sure if that applies to the whole Laos.
If there is balance, they will most probably will return to you in dollars or kips if the amount is smaller.
Things are usually much cheaper in kips compared to USD. It also depends on their exchange rates which may vary from one place to another.
A small amount of kip is useful for when you enter the country, but for bigger purchases you'd be better off using dollars. Most prices will be quoted in us dollars & kip. Don't bring too much kip into the country as you'll end up carrying wads of cash. 10,000kip is approx $1, & bills come in little denominations as small as 500 kip (if I remember correctly). Plus I don't think you'll be able to change kip into other currencies out of Lao as it such a weak currency nobody wants it.
You can take a boat from Luang Prabang to the Thai border then onto Chiang Mai by coach, it takes 3 days, but I've heard there is some spectacular scenery along the way. Unfortuately I didn't do this & flew, it saved me some time I guess, but didn't see much. Kind of regret that now.
Best of luck, have fun in Lao, it's an amazing place.
Paying the visa fee wish $100 note will not ordinarilly be an issue. You will also be able to find change into smaller denominations of US dollars quite easilly in major cities or at the large hotel/resorts. Once you have smaller denominations you really have no need to carry more than 30,000 kip on you at any given time. Thai baht and US dollars are readily accepted everywhere and change will be given in us dollar, baht or kip or a combination thereof.
Thank you guys for the help!
Does the same apply for Camboya?