If one of the burning questions on your mind is “which countries are open to tourists?,” have I got some news for you. As of today, 9 May, Laos has reopened its borders to tourism, this time with very little in the way of entry requirements.
As per Channel News Asia, vaccinated travelers will be able to enter with proof of vaccination — although I cannot determine if the Lao government distinguishes between folks with/without boosters — whereas visitors aged 12 and up who are unvaccinated can enter with just a negative result from a rapid antigen test, taken within 48 hours of departure to Laos. And if you’re planning to sail into the country, nice try, as it’s landlocked.
Having mostly been shut since March 2020 due to COVID-19, only recently has there been any movement with Thailand regarding the restarting of commercial and tourist travel into Laos. According to the Bangkok Post, although not all land checkpoints between the two countries will be reopened, some, such as the Nong Khai border crossing, have been processing businesspeople and tourists since 1 May.
For lovers of quarantine travel, Laos has actually be open since January of this year, but mandated seven days of quarantine, a negative test result, and participation in a tour group to limited regions in the country.
In 2007, I visited Laos’ cultural tourism hub, Luang Prabang, and became drawn in by the friendliness of the Lao people, the rugged countryside, as well as extreme spiciness — it was purposeful — of the papaya salad and larb.
Next time, Vientiane, the Plain of Jars, and more chilies.