1. What is the best time to visit Cambodia and Laos?
Both Cambodia and Laos have a two-season monsoon climate, which means the dry season is the best time to travel. However, they are not quite the same.
In Cambodia, the dry season runs from November to April, while in Laos, it is from November to March, ending a little earlier than in Cambodia.
Generally, if you are looking for the best time to visit both countries together, then you should look to traveling from December to March, when there is virtually no rain, though it can be hotter in the latter part.
But if you are looking for fewer crowds, then August to October is best, especially for urban centers and major tourist attractions. This is also the best time for Angkor and Bagan, as the temple complexes are filled with lush green vegetation.
2. What are the COVID-19 travel restrictions for traveling to Cambodia and Laos?
Travel to both countries is subject to certain COVID travel requirements, but they are greatly reduced and more relaxed now.
In Cambodia, travel is simple for vaccinated travelers, only being required to show their valid vaccination certificate. But for the unvaccinated, there is a requirement to take a rapid antigen test on arrival, at the traveler’s expense.
In Laos, entry now only requires a valid vaccination certificate or proof of a negative COVID test, either PCR or Rapid Antigen, no more than 48 hours before traveling. And if you register your vaccination certificate online with a health declaration form, you can get a QR code to show on arrival.
3. How many days do I need for a Cambodia and Laos Tour?
As two of Indochina’s hidden gems, Cambodia and Laos really deserve as much time as you can give them for travel.
But ideally, a trip to these countries should be at least two weeks long, to make the most of the stunning attractions and locations. Anything less would be rushing, and you would barely get to see the highlights of both places.
A two-week trip would give you time to visit the major city destinations, as well as get out and about into the countryside to enjoy the outstanding temple complexes in full, and experience more of their amazing cultures and wonderful people.
4. Is it better to travel from Cambodia to Laos or Laos to Cambodia?
When considering which direction to travel in, Laos to Cambodia or vice versa, the main consideration would be which is easier for you.
Both countries have options for e-visas and the Visa on Arrival, at both airports and land borders, so the visa is not an issue both ways.
For many, it is easier to tour in Laos first, starting in Luang Prabang and ending in Vientiane, before getting a flight to Siem Reap, in northern Cambodia, and exploring Angkor before flying to Phnom Penh for the last days of the trip.
However, as there are regular daily flights between Cambodia and Laos, this can be done the other way around, just as easily.
5. What are the dos and don’ts when visiting temples in Cambodia and Laos?
Cambodia and Laos are both strictly Buddhist countries, so the people and cultures are a lot more conservative than most would be used to.
So, when in temples and religious locations, there are some rules you should consider in order to avoid upsetting and insulting the locals.
Remember to take your shoes off when entering the temple, and if sitting on the floor, tuck your feet under you so they do not point at statues, religious icons, or other people.
Do not touch the Buddha statues and other religious artifacts, and do not touch or hand anything to the monks, especially women.
And most especially, do not touch the head of the monks, as it is a sign of disrespect.
And it is best to dress conservatively, and for women, to cover your shoulders and wear long skirts or pants when in the temples.
And finally, only take photos when permitted to do so.