So, my friend and I are planning a trip in Southeast Asia this summer, and our plan is to visit Laos after we're done in Vietnam.
I am currently living outside of the US, so I have not even set eyes upon US currency in paper form in almost an entire year.
So, I'm wondering - what are the odds of being able to find a place to convert Vietnamese Dong to Lao Kip? And, is it popular to survive in Laos without any Baht or Dollars?
#1 lobstermage has been a member since 12/4/2007. Posts: 4
An additional question - is it a particularly bad idea to attempt to cross overland from Vietnam to Laos? My initial plan was to go overland, but I'm planning flying instead.
#2 lobstermage has been a member since 12/4/2007. Posts: 4
You'll be able to change currency at or near the border crossing. While you could get by without USD or THB in laos, theose currencies are handy just to keep the bulk down.
Not a bad idea to use land crossings - just time consuming. See the Border crossing FAQ for more info.
Somtam, you are probably not aware that the Laos government is encouraging pricing in Kip rather than US$ or Baht. How effective this is remains to be seen. Most big ticket items will still be in dollars, of course.
Incidentally this is a move of which I wholeheartedly approve. The Kip is the official currency and it should be used.
While I agree with you that in an ideal situation we'd all just use Kip in Laos, the practicalities remain that it is far easier to travel around with a couple of hundred in US or baht than a three inches of Kip. Plus there can be difficulties exchanging surplus kip outside Laos.
We list Laos accommodation prices according to what the guesthouse tells our researcher when they show up -- if the guesthouse gives out the price in Kip, that's what we list, dollars, we show dollars, baht in baht -- as you may have seen -- the vast majority price themselves in dollars, so the Lao govt has their work cut out!
FYI - Don't take Dong into Laos, the exchange rate is bad to say the least. As I write this the exchange rate quoted on XE.xom for Dong to Kip is .48 (which is consistent if you first converted it to dollars and then to kip). The exchange rate at the bank in Luang Prabang is .37 or 23% less than if you converted to dollars and then kip (give or take a few percentage points to convert from Dong to dollar in Vietnam). If you are in Sapa you can always help out the Red Dao and convert their Dollars to your Dong. Happy travels
#6 fotosbydavid has been a member since 20/3/2009. Posts: 2