Laos Reopens Borders to Visitors from 14 More Countries

Vientiane has forged ahead with plans to restart its tourism industry despite Omicron’s spread worldwide.

Limestone peaks and rice paddies in Vang Vieng, Laos. (Photo: Anna Hoch-Kenney/Unsplash)

After quietly dropping entry restrictions on New Year’s Day to fully vaccinated arrivals from 17 nations through its Lao Travel Green Zone Plan, the Laotian government has extended the scheme to residents of over a dozen jurisdictions around the globe. The updated list now includes three additional ASEAN countries (Brunei, Indonesia, and the Philippines); Israel; as well as nine more in Europe, including Austria, Belgium, and Switzerland.

Eligible visitors wishing to enter Laos will need to sign up for group tours organized by authorized travel operators in Vientiane, the adventure hub of Vang Vieng, and Luang Prabang — the country’s UNESCO-listed former royal capital. All three have been classified as Green Travel Zones, or areas that have vaccinated at least 70 percent of their eligible adult populations. Meanwhile, the parallel Green Travel Trails arrangement allows foreign travelers to visit selected areas in regions that have not yet reached the inoculation target.

As the vaccine rollout ramps up in the coming months, April will see Green Travel Zones expand to at least six more provinces including Champasak, home to the ancient Khmer temple of Vat Phou, and Xiangkhouang, which has more than 90 megalithic sites known collectively as the Plain of Jars. Both destinations have been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Laos is currently open to fully vaccinated foreign visitors from the following 31 nations:

Region Country
Asia-Pacific Australia
Brunei [new]
Cambodia
China
Indonesia [new]
Japan
Malaysia
New Zealand [new]
Philippines [new]
Singapore
South Korea
Thailand
Vietnam
Europe Austria [new]
Belgium [new]
Denmark [new]
Finland [new]
France
Germany
Hungary [new]
Ireland [new]
Italy
Netherlands
Norway [new]
Poland [new]
Spain
Switzerland [new]
United Kingdom
Middle East Israel [new]
North America Canada
United States

Travelers from the countries listed above can now enter the country via Vientiane’s Wattay International Airport or the First Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge connecting Nong Khai with Vientiane prefecture. Six more border crossings between Laos and China, Thailand, and Vietnam will be reopened come April, when international passenger flights will resume out of Luang Prabang International Airport.

Incoming visitors must have been fully vaccinated at least 14 days before arrival, show proof of health insurance with coverage of no less than US$50,000, as well as a negative result from a PCR test taken within 72 hours of entry. They’ll then need to undergo an on-arrival PCR test and quarantine for 24 hours at their chosen hotel until a negative result is returned. Tourists must also download and register the LaoKYC and LaoStaySafe contact-tracing apps, and upload their vaccination certificates and Covid-19 test results before arrival.

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