I have been to Laos a few times now - but never for as long as 4 weeks like I am planning next month. I was wondering how other people carry cash for such a long time. I am mainly going to be in northern Laos - and I know that ATMs are few and far between. I plan to stay at guesthouses - and eat local food - but even with a minor budget - there is a need to have some cash.
What do others suggest would be a reasonable amount to take for 4 weeks - how do you look after it? I dont want to be a target for thieves. I will be in some small areas for a while and in larger areas such as luang prabang - Udom Xai and Luang Namtha for a few days - any ideas about looking after money - are traveller's cheques accepted in smaller areas? Where are banks located?
Every provincial capital will have a BCEL government bank that will cash travelers checks. Web site here. http://www.bcellaos.com/ Some smaller towns also have a bank, such as Muang Khua or Muang Sing.
I usually take twice (or five times) the cash I expect to need for the entire 4 weeks with credit cards and an ATM card as backup. I carry all of them under my clothing at all times, no exceptions. I usually exchange money at the bank.
We take US Dollars and/or Baht as they're much more convenient to carry. Then we split it up (some carried with us, some in the rucksacks) so that if there were a loss or theft, we still have some.
We've carried large quantities of US dollars around Laos (and Vietnam) for months and months and (fingers crossed) everything's been fine. The only incident was when I left my wallet (containing about US200) in a roadside cafe somewhere between HCMC and Dalat. The lady on the till ran after the bus to return it to me, and yes, everything was still inside.
#3 chaosclaire has been a member since 18/9/2008. Posts: 7
Thanks for your advice - I think I will try to limit my cash to 2 weeks supply as I will be in Udom Xai and Luang Nam Tha where I can use the ATM or withdraw with mastercard.
Thanks also for the advice about keeping some in the pack and some in the day bag. I think that its also a good idea not to reveal how long you are travelling for - in remote areas - as this may also reveal how much cash you may have.
Again, thanks for the advice, very much appreciated.