1. What is the best time to visit Vietnam and Laos?
Vietnam has three separate climate regions, so is open to travelers all year round, depending on where and what you want to see.
In the north, you can travel almost throughout the year. while in the central area, the best time is the dry season, from December to March, or the relatively dry period from April to September, when the southwest monsoon misses most of the region because of the mountains.
In the south, the typical dry season runs from December to May, with the hottest period from February to May.
Laos has a more typical wet and dry season cycle, which makes it easier to choose.
The dry season, which runs from November to March, is the best option for travel in Laos, as it is relatively cool and comfortable.
And for visiting both Laos and Vietnam together, December to February is the optimum time to travel around the whole of both countries.
2. What are the COVID-19 travel restrictions for traveling to Vietnam and Laos?
Vietnam has relaxed most of its restrictions on travel for international tourists, with only a few requirements still in place.
While there is no requirement for pre-travel testing, unvaccinated travelers will need to take a rapid test on arrival, at their own expense. There is also a requirement to download and use the “PC-Covid Viet Nam” Mobile app, and you will need COVID cover with your travel insurance.
Laos has also relaxed its COVID requirements, and entry now only requires a valid vaccination certificate or a negative COVID test result, either PCR or Rapid Antigen tests, within 48 hours of travel.
There is no requirement for quarantine as long as you meet those requirements, and you can register a health declaration form for Laos online, which means you can provide your vaccination certificate or test results digitally and receive a QR code for entry.
3. Is it better to travel from Vietnam to Laos or Laos to Vietnam?
One might think it makes no difference which way you travel, from Laos to Vietnam or Vietnam to Laos.
However, that is not strictly the case. For one, visas to Laos are easier than visas to Vietnam, which are stricter in control and availability.
The Vietnam visa has to be done in advance for all travelers without visa exemptions, as there is no facility for a visa on arrival.
However, visas for Laos can be obtained online through the E-Visa website, which is valid for entry through both major airports, or on arrival at any border crossing or airport, with only one restriction on the Napao-Chalo crossing.
So, if you are traveling to both Laos and Vietnam, it is best to go to Vietnam first, and then travel to Laos, to make the trip simpler and easier when crossing the border.
4. How to travel by land from Laos to Vietnam? Is the border open?
If you already have a visa for Vietnam, then it is relatively easy to travel there from Laos, as there are six crossing points along the Laos-Vietnam border.
One of the easiest ways to make a land crossing is to take the bus from Vientiane to Hanoi, which takes around 22-24 hours.
Other routes from Laos to Vietnam include: Vientiane to Vinh, a bus trip of around 10-12 hours; Luang Prabang to Hanoi, which takes 24+ hours by sleeper bus; Attapeu to Ngoc Hoi, crossing the southern Bo Y border crossing which takes around 3 hours.
5. What to see while traveling to Vietnam and Laos?
In Laos, there are several must-see locations, and the Golden City Temple (Wat Xieng Thong) located in the old quarter of Luang Prabang is one of the best sights while visiting the city.
And Mount Phousi, located inside the city, is a 140-meter hill that is home to several Buddhist shrines and temples. That Luang, or the Great Stupa, located in Vientiane, is the national symbol of the country, and Vientiane itself is an awesome place to discover more about the Lao people and culture.
Vietnam has a long and varied history, and has many places of interest as well.
From Hanoi, the French capital of the region, with its old French quarter and the thousands of islands of Halong Bay, to the ancient cities of Hoi An and Hue, both former imperial capitals of ancient Vietnam.
And no Vietnam trip is complete without visiting the ultra-modern city of Ho Chi Minh.