What to wear in Laos

What to Wear in Laos

Laos Style Tips

  • When deciding what to wear in Laos, remember it is a very traditional country 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.
  • Ensure you bring a versatile travel jacket. We love the SCOTTeVEST travel jacket because it has over 23 pockets, removable sleeves and RFID protection.
  • 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.


Shoes to pack for Laos

  • 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.

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
River floating in Laos

You might like to enjoy some relaxing river floating, be sure to pack your swimming gear


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.

Laos travel essentials

  • As well as knowing what to wear in Laos, you also need to know the vital travel accessories 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).
  • Make sure you pack your own medications, as they may be hard to find in Laos.
  • 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.
  • The water in Laos is NOT safe to drink. Remember not to brush your teeth in tap water and avoid swallowing water from the shower. Consider taking a LifeStraw Filtration Water Bottle, it will filter water making it safe to drink.
  • 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 main baggage with a light side bag or backpack 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.
  • 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).


Community photos of Laos