Laos: Destination Analysis
Laos is a singular country of the Indochinese Peninsula, which has no coastline, so beach lovers have nothing to do here. Those, who are interested in untouched nature and treasures of ancient cultures, go to Laos. There are many beautiful Buddhist temples and palaces in Laos. Thus, the city of Luang Prabang with its royal palace and the Wat Phou Buddhist temple near the city of Champasak are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The cave city, which is located in the north of the country on the Mekong River, also is very popular among tourists.
People also go to Laos for calm and tranquility. The Lao national character is calm and peacefulness, which are the core values here. Life in the countryside, where about 80% of the population lives, flows quietly and calmly. The situation in Laos often shocks visitors with its safety: according to experts, walking at any time of a day along the streets of any Lao city is much calmer than in the center of Moscow - the crime level is very low. It is no wonder that for a western tourist, exhausted by the crazy rhythms of megacities, such an environment seems like a paradise on Earth.
Taken it into account, eco-tourism is popular in Laos: tourists are happy to make their way along almost impassable paths in the jungle, next to leopards and gibbons. Especially there are a lot of special walking routes.
More often Laos is visited by citizens of Thailand, Vietnam and China. The UK and Germany are the leaders among European countries. The number of Russians visiting Laos does not exceed 10,000 people per year. The lack of direct aviation connection is one of the obstacles for increasing tourist traffic from Russia. The most convenient way is to travel by Vietnam Airlines - via Ho Chi Minh City or Thai Airlines and Aeroflot - via Bangkok. Flight time is about 10.5 hours without change.
As a rule, Laos requested in combination with other countries of the Great Mekong: Viet Nam, Cambodia and Thailand. Thus, it is considered extremely rare as an independent destination. For example, the flight from Bangkok to Vientiane, the capital of Laos, will take no more than an hour. There is also a direct railway connection between the capitals of Thailand and Laos with convenient night trains. According to official statistics, tourists from Russia usually stay in Laos from 3 to 5 days, combining this trip with a beach holiday in one of the neighboring countries. According to the representatives of Moscow travel agencies operating on the Asian market, perhaps the Russians would like to spend more time in Laos, but often the program of the trip is restricted by flight schedule.
According to tour operators, most often single-handed tourists or couples of tourists without children after 35 years and with an income slightly above average level make a trip to these three countries. The ratio of independent and organized tourists is about equal.
From December 2, 2017, citizens of Russia do not need a visa to visit Laos for up to 30 days. The best time to visit the country is from November to February and mountainous areas - from November to July.
Among Lao hotels there are good 3-stars and high-class 5-stars hotels with a full range of services. Most of them are concentrated in Luang Prabang, fewer in Vientiane. There are also guest houses in the midst of nature, for example - in Vang Vieng town in the central part of the country. The cost of accommodation starts from 100-120 USD for a democratic 3-star hotel, in a good 4-star hotel you can stay for 200-240 USD. Also, there are luxury 5-stars hotels with a price 400-600 USD per night. The staff in the hotels is very friendly, always ready to help.
Laos, as a tourist destination, is the sphere of tour operators specializing in Southeast Asian countries or individual tourism: Oriental Discovery Group, Art Tour, Vand International, Karlson Tourism, MIRACLE, Colors of the World, Allure, Antiktravel, CYPLING, ITM group-Center.
According to experts, in the new future Laos will remain as the destination of individual tourism.
Answering the question of our correspondent during ATF-2019 deputy director Ms. Sengsoda Vanthanouvong stressed the importance of guests from Russia. Moreover, some board members speak Russia. Still tourism board has no intention to open the office in Russia yet.