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money for laos

Travel Forums Asia money for laos

1. Posted by clansman (Budding Member 8 posts) 9y

iam headin into laos in the next few days and i was woundering that currency to bring. is the US dollor accepted or is it better to use kip and is there any atms in Vientiane and Vang Vieng.

2. Posted by bex76 (Moderator 3720 posts) 9y

Bring US$ as you will use a mixture of kip and $. Kip tends to be used for smaller amounts such as bottles of water etc, whereas in hotels you will generally pay in US$. in restaurants you normally have a choice of which currency to use, which can also include Euro and Baht!

When i was there last year the only ATM in the whole of Laos was in Vientiane.

[ Edit: Edited on Jul 3, 2007, at 5:26 AM by bex76 ]

3. Posted by Gelli (Travel Guru 2457 posts) 9y

There are a handful of ATMs in Vientiane, though they don't all always work all the time... Last time i was there (a year ago) there were none outside of Vientienne, but its possible to get cash advances on a credit (and sometimes even a debit card !!!) card at virtually all travel agencies, hotels etc in places like Vang Vieng, Luang Prabang, Luang Namtha etc.

US dollars are officially not allowed to be used in Lao, though they are accepted almost everywhere [the only time i couldn't use them was hitching a ride from the Chinese border, and the guy would only accept kip] and Lao airlines only accepts dollars.

Take new-ish and crisp (not torn or marked, as they are often refused) and where possible, small denomination USD bills for usage, as well as some lareg USD for changing. If you try and use 20s/50s in many places, don't expect change.

I always used KIP wherever possible, though the downside is that the largest bill is 50000 (5usd) but you normally end up with 10k or 20k notes, so if you change 100usd, you can end up with a stack of money several inches thick! Before i crossed into Lao from China, i changed 10usd just to have a bit of cash and ended up with 2inches worth of 500 and 1000 notes....

Oh, and whilst Thai Baht are often accepted near the Thai borders, in Vientienne and in tourist areas, and are a good backup, don't rely on being able to use them.

[ Edit: Edited on Jul 3, 2007, at 12:43 PM by Gelli ]

4. Posted by bex76 (Moderator 3720 posts) 9y

Don' t forget to change your kip before you leave Laos, as you can't exchange it once you leave the country.