What to Wear in Laos

Buddhist temple, March

Buddhist temple, March

Cycling in Luang Prabang, March

Cycling in Luang Prabang, March

Laos in March

Laos in March

Luang Prabang in March

Luang Prabang in March

Luang Prabang, in April

Luang Prabang, in April

Market sellers in Luang Prabang, April

Market sellers in Luang Prabang, April

Vang Vieng in April

Vang Vieng in April

A Message From Helen



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to help you pack with confidence and stay safe, secure and comfortable.

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General Style Tips

  • Laos is very traditional and body-revealing clothes should be avoided.
  • Pack light, as it is easy and cheap to get clothes laundered.
  • The tropical monsoon climate means it is humid and hot all year round; lightweight, loose-fitting clothes in natural fibers such as cotton, silk or linen will keep you cooler.
  • light wool is a good choice to wear against your skin as it naturally helps to regulate your body temperature. It wicks away moisture when it's hot, and doesn't retain odours - even after prolonged wear.
  • Good sunglasses and a sunhat are a must, and take plenty of sunscreen (we love the Riemann P20 range for 10 hour protection) with you as it is difficult to find and expensive.

What Shoes To Pack

  • Good walking boots with ankle support are a must, as is a comfortable change of shoes. You may need to wear these second shoes if you get blisters, so choose carefully. A pair of heavy sandals which can fit socks underneath can be a good option too.
  • We like Thorlos hiking socks - they're especially designed to keep your feet dry and comfortable when trekking in hotter climes.
  • Sandals with the rugged bottom are good for hiking around town and to wear in the showers.
  • You will need to remove your footwear before entering any Buddhist site or home, so a pair of sandals or flip flops that slip on and off will make life easier (try Hotter shoes, for a range of really comfy styles).
  • But make sure you never point a bare sole at anyone – even unintentionally – as this is regarded as highly disrespectful and will insult the locals.

Clothing Tips for Women

  • Leave your shorts at home - you will feel uncomfortable if you wear them and you will be stared at. Go instead for 3/4 length pants or a long skirt.
  • camisoles are useful in the heat, but when visiting places of worship your body, legs and shoulders must be covered. Opt instead for long pants and a long-sleeved cotton shirt or kaftan.
  • A pashmina or a sarong is a versatile item which can cover you from the sun, be used for modesty or add a bit of 'glam' to any oufit should you need it.
  • Leave your valuables and jewelry at home, you really won't need them.
  • The humidity can play havoc with your hair - so think about accessories or a scarf to keep it looking neat and tidy.

Clothing Tips for Men

  • When visiting Buddhist temples opt for long pants and a long-sleeved shirt.
  • For great versatile travel jackets with multiple pockets including RFID security options, we love the SCOTTeVEST range.

Pack for the Weather

  • If visiting in May, June, July, August and September this is the rainy season, so pack a lightweight raincoat. It doesn't have to be warm, you can layer up underneath it.
  • November, December, January, February and March are hot and dry when a lightweight, casual wardrobe of loose-fitting, natural fabrics eg. linen, silk or cotton is recommended.
  • We love the Weather+ app - it gives an accurate 6 day forecast for day and night, which when you're planning from home is really helpful. You can keep all the places you've been to too - a nice way to remember your trip :) Download for iPad/iPhone or Android

Other Things To Pack

  • You will need your own toiletries including anti-bacterial handwash. And you are advised to take your own little medical kit, sewing repair kit, and a good torch (with spare batteries).
  • If you are trekking or staying in more basic accommodation then take a sleeping bag liner, mosquito net, microfiber travel towel and your own toilet paper.
  • Don’t drink or even brush your teeth in tap water. Consider taking a Water-to-Go Filtration Water Bottle.
  • A bag or soft-sided rucksack is a more practical option than hard cases when traveling around the country, and using packing cubes can help to keep your belongings tidy whilst compressing the volume too.
  • Combine your bag with a fold away day sack that will carry your essentials on day trips.
  • Avoid paying unexpected baggage fees - use an accurate luggage scale to ensure you keep within the weight allowance. Don't forget to leave room for souvenirs on the way home! Handicrafts made by the hill-tribes including silks, jewelry and textiles are good buys, and you will be helping to support the local economy.
  • Look after your mobile phone with a phone bunjee - it protects against loss, theft and damage. If you use your phone as a camera too the battery can quickly run down, so consider taking a solar powered charger as a back-up.
  • To use electrical gadgets you may need a travel adapter plug, and also a step down voltage converter if your devices are not designed for the local voltage (230V).

Last updated 16 December 2016.

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Pack Light

  • Less luggage to carry
  • Save time packing and unpacking
  • Save money on baggage fees

Pack Right

  • Respect local cultures
  • Feel comfortable and confident
  • Suitable outfits for all occasions

A Message From Helen



I want you to have an amazing vacation. That's why I started WhatToWearOnVacation.com,
to help you pack with confidence and stay safe, secure and comfortable.