Travelling in a country that you have never been is a challenging experience. To the tourists, it is necessary to know things should do and should not to do when travelling in Laos. This article will give you Dos and Don’ts in Laos.

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Dos and Don’ts in Laos

Tourists may find it difficult to navigate the cultural norms of Lao culture, especially first time visitors. Knowing what you should or shouldn’t do when travelling to Laos is very essential, either for a short visit or for a longer stay. You can avoid troubles and embarrassment if you know some useful tips bellows.


– Joining one’s hands together in a praying gesture at chin level is a formal greeting for most Lao people, which called “Nop”. Handshakes are also commonly used among male friends and with foreign visitors.

– The Lao word for “hello” is “sabai dee”, say it with smile and you’ll be well received.

– Personal cleanliness is valued highly in Laos. Remember to keep clean and avoid strong body odour tends if you don’t want to get disgusting looks from the locals.

– Taking your shoes off and leaving them outside the house or on stairs before entering a Lao person’s home.

– Gently crouch down when walking past someone sitting, especially older people.

– Lao people usually serve water to guests arriving at their home, it is polite to accept it even if you don’t want to drink (you don’t have to drink it).

– Dress neatly when visiting religious shrines or temples.

– At some temples, women in pants or short skirts are required to put on a Lao skirt as another layer before entering the place.

– Most Lao people swim in rivers or waterfalls with at least shorts and a T-shirt. It is more polite to do this rather than walk around in swimsuits or bikinis. Also, if you bathe in the river in the evening, women should wear a sarong.

– Learn some basic Lao phrases and practice them with the locals you meet, they will be impressed and you will be well received.


– Don’t touch Lao people’s heads as the head is considered high.

– Don’t placing feet on furniture or pointing at things or people as feet are low.

– In Lao homes, don’t sit anywhere higher than the host. If they (especially elderly person) sits on the floor you should sit there as well.

– Don’t stepping over someone on your path or food. It is disgusting and impolite. Some Lao won’t eat the food that has been stepped over.

– In offices, don’t place your feet on a desk while sitting on a chair, that’s very impolite. Be especially careful if you come to work here.

– Don’t wear shoes when entering the chapel. You can only wear shoes if you just walk around a temple compound.

– Be well-dressed and don’t show too much skin and or you’ll get strange looks from the locals.

– Remember to keep cool and don’t lose your temper or raise your voice when you find it hard to communicate with locals. It will make you look bad.

These are just some basic tips Dos and Don’ts in Laos , but they should be sufficient to help ease your stay in Laos. Whatever you do, observing the locals and following suit is the key to keeping yourself from troubles and/or embarrassment.