I will be travelling in Laos, Vietnam & Thailand in June/July/Aug. I know this may seem a naive question but is it a good idea to carry a mosquito net? As I write this I begin to wonder how I would hang it up if I did have one,but I am not the world's most adventurous person when it comes to risking diseases.
Secondly, is it easy to pay for things using US$ travellers cheques or do I have to take them to a bank. Is it even remotely probable that if I pay for items in US$ cash, I will get change in US$ or am I more likely to receive Kip at a highly unfavourable exchange rate.
Sorry to be so full of questions but Laos is the furthest I have been away from an ATM on every corner!
#1 Gerry has been a member since 15/5/2008. Posts: 7
Gerry traveller's cheques are a waste of time. I haven't used them in over 10 years now. Take a couple of plastic cards and cash. If you pay for items in US$ you will probably get kip back. Unlikely but possible to get dollars back. The kip is not at an unfavourable rate, the dollar is.
You won't need a mosquito net by the way. If you are going far Nth or Sth in Laos take soem deet.
Definite no to the mosquito net - I brought one and threw it out within 2 days of being in SEA and never once used it. Just make sure your accommodtions have window screens and that you have bug spray with deet - it was my first travel experience and I'm not super adventurous, and I can tell you it's a waste of money and valuable backpack space!
I took traveller's cheques and didn't have any problems, but my travel buddy had just cash and debit/credit cards and she was fine.
Also, more ATMs in Laos than you'd think - found a few in Vientiane, one in Vang Vieng, and I think there was in Luang Prabang as well.
And I would be incredibly surprised if you got US$ back instead of kip - use up all your kip before you leave!
#3 katieq2 has been a member since 27/5/2008. Posts: 8
I'm keen to use travellers cheques, always have.
at least if they are stolen you get your money back. cash -- no no! and cards -- shite, what a muck around to get them replaced. Travellers cheques are always safe, the old school-ness of them is ideal in 3rd world countries. It's a system that is understood.
#5 rapunzel has been a member since 24/6/2008. Posts: 4
"I ran into a bunch of 'out-of-cash' Brits in Don Khong racing to Pakse to use an ATM."
I read a report by a guest house owner in Nong Khiae however you spell it about how everyone arrives thinking there is going to be an ATM everywhere. They have to return to Luang Prabang as soon as they arrive.
Not only do I make sure I have enough cash to see me well into the next big town but I usually make sure it's in kip. If one were to stumble and somehow end up off the tourist trail you could have a hard time using other currencies.
Laos is still old fashoined. Even though there are a few ATMs, every branch of the National Bank will cash Travelers Checks, and I've yet to see a provincial capital without a bank. Other than that learn to think a few days ahead with your cash.
Pakse has ATM's - although mine was "out of cash" as it was their Labour Day. Of course i got charged for the money I didn't get. My bank sorted it out 2 months later. Not too good when you are getting down to your last dollars. Vang Vieng now has an ATM or you can do a cash advace on Visa at the large internet cafe there, There are plenty of banks and ATM's in Vientiane. However one never knows what rate the ATM will give you on the day. I also used Debit visa card which was handy.
There are no ATM's whatsoever in 4000 islands area. The exchange rates in this area at the guest houses are also shocking. I also had some problem in Stung Treng in Cambodia before crossing to Laos as there was 1 ATM which did not accept foreign cards. Keep a variety of options on you.
The best part - when you get your receipt and your bank balance shows in millions!!!
#8 wendo has been a member since 14/8/2008. Posts: 10