Customs, Traditions and Etiquette of Laos



Laos – a landlocked nation in South East Asia with a wealthy and colourful historical past is in the present day one of the well-liked amongst backpackers and luxurious vacationers alike. Whereas considerably much less developed than its neighbors of Thailand and Vietnam, Laos is, nonetheless, an incredible place to go to on any of Explorient’s excursions that function this heat, pleasant nation.

Laos is extra laid again in comparison with different international locations within the area – a shocking remark contemplating that most of the international locations in South East Asia are comparatively laid again and don’t fear about issues akin to dashing, stressing and usually getting out of types when service ranges aren’t as much as western requirements and the like. Actually, a typical operating joke about Laos – whose full title is Lao PDR (Folks’s Democratic Republic) is that the title is definitely ‘Laos – Please Don’t Rush’. Nothing could possibly be more true as when you end up within the cities, cities, and villages of Laos, life right here has a considerably slower tempo than that of say, Thailand.

Should you’re curious concerning the etiquette and traditions of this nation, look no additional! We’ve got put collectively this convenient information all about etiquette, traditions, and customs of Laos to assist put together you to your journey to this stunning nation, simply ready to be explored.

Laos – A Nation in contrast to Any Different


Laos is in the present day nonetheless a communist nation, a lot in order that in lots of components a curfew remains to be in place and is mostly enforced by police. That being stated, the police are comparatively versatile with foreigners who’re out previous curfew (round 11pm), so that you’re unlikely to come across any actual points (particularly within the cities) for those who occur to search out your self nonetheless out and about after this hour. Learn forward for extra customs and factors of etiquette you would possibly prefer to learn about earlier than you go.

Boh Penyang

Okay, so the spelling may be a bit off, however boh penyang is an analogous idea to Thailand’s ‘mai pen rai’, or ‘nevermind’. The boh penyang of Laos isn’t only a saying, it’s a lifestyle, and you will see that this true nearly anyplace you go. Whether or not it’s the capital, a small city or a backwater village, dwelling life the boh penyang approach means the tempo of life is sluggish at finest. Keep in mind this when visiting, and if one thing is taking too lengthy to determine or happen- boh penyang. It’s part of the expertise, so loosen up and benefit from the sights once you go to Laos on Explorient’s Spectacular Far East tour.

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Hey Brangelina!

Western girls in Laos could also be seen as particularly stunning – notably in smaller cities and villages. In consequence, generally you might be requested to pose for pictures with households, youngsters or different Laotian vacationers who’re visiting the world. Whereas it might appear a bit bizarre, it’s innocent and really a variety of enjoyable to get entangled with bunny ear peace indicators and laughter. Float – or higher but, ask if you may get a replica of the photograph too!

Greetings and Departure

Laotian is vaguely much like Thai language-wise however with much less give attention to gender. This implies talking Lao is definitely a tad simpler than talking Thai. A hearty “Sabaidee!” will go a great distance in Laos. In additional formal conditions, the standard ‘nop’ could also be used – this hand gesture, much like the wai in Thailand is comprised of placing your arms collectively in a prayer-like stance and a slight bow. When departing a restaurant, it’s completely acceptable to say thanks – or kwap jai as you allow. Observe your hand gestures earlier than embarking in your Laos journey with Explorient’s  Luang Prabang highlights tour.


As with most of the international locations within the space, pointing and gesturing with the arms is frowned on in Laos. Beckoning to somebody utilizing the fingers pointing up is seen as impolite and is reserved for confrontations or pets. As a substitute, you might discover that Laotian individuals will name you over by holding their palm downward, and waving towards the bottom. Fingers pointing upward for any motive other than waving hey is mostly frowned upon in Laos.

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Sneakers and Clothes

Sneakers within the house is seen as impolite and needs to be averted. All the time take your footwear off earlier than getting into a house or enterprise. Many locations may have a carpet or mat in entrance of the door the place individuals depart their footwear, usually in an enormous messy pile. Comply with go well with and don’t enter a constructing together with your footwear on. In the case of clothes, save the quick shorts and swimwear for the seaside or riverside – the Laotian individuals discover wandering round scantily clad to be impolite and vulgar. Moreover, it’s extraordinarily frowned upon to enter a temple with naked shoulders, knees and probably offensive t-shirts or different garments. It’s advisable to hold a sarong or scarf within the occasion you occur throughout a temple you need to discover spontaneously – as is prone to occur within the temple capital of the nation, Luang Prabang, a cease on Explorient’s Indochina Spectacular tour.

Monk Etiquette

As with its neighbors, monk etiquette in Laos is much like that of Vietnam and Thailand. Ladies ought to keep away from touching a monk, his robes and even sitting subsequent to him. Ladies also needs to watch out by no means handy a monk one thing immediately. Within the case of almsgiving, that is alright as meals is positioned right into a monk’s bowl, and never handed on to him, so usually you will notice girls finishing up the apply of almsgiving early within the mornings in locations like Luang Prabang. In the case of the physique generally, the top is taken into account essentially the most sacred of all physique components and the toes to be the dirtiest, so it’s vital to respect these two aspects of the physique within the methods acceptable by by no means touching somebody on the top and by no means pointing your toes or the soles in the direction of issues like individuals, temples, statues of the Buddha and extra.

Physique Language

Physique language is vital in Laos, as is the way in which through which you converse and usually conduct your self. This may be in comparison with the idea of saving face in international locations that neighbor Laos, akin to Vietnam and Thailand, however in Laos, smiling, being pleasant and relaxed will get you a lot additional than being demanding, impolite, brash or aggressive.

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The Laos individuals like to snort and smile. In Laos although there are specific issues to say and sure issues to not. Weight is completely acceptable to joke about, to the purpose that in case you have a stomach, you might get it playfully patted with an exclamation about how wholesome you might be! Don’t take offense – being a bit chubby is nothing to be ashamed of in Laos! One factor you need to by no means point out although is the darkness or shade of somebody’s pores and skin. The Laotian individuals can generally take this very personally due to the work they do to attempt to lighten their pores and skin because it’s seen as a preferable shade. Ladies will generally go to nice lengths to attempt to seem paler, so talking of somebody’s pores and skin tone will be seen as extraordinarily offensive. Be ready for some random jokes and humor once you go to Laos on Explorient’s Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand tour.


It’s vital in Laos to keep away from speaking politics and to keep away from criticizing the federal government. The Laotian individuals might or might not have sturdy emotions on their authorities so it’s smart to keep away from the subject altogether to assist guarantee conversations stay harmonious – a apply the Lao individuals want over confrontation.

So for those who’re planning a visit to stunning Laos, hopefully, these small bits of etiquette info will show you how to keep on the great facet of the pleasant locals who will do nearly something to make sure your keep is nice and gratifying. You actually received’t remorse visiting this nation – it’s a spot you’ll keep in mind for a lifetime!


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