It’s easy to get to Laos from either Phnom Penh or Siem Reap. Vietnam Airlines offers direct flights from Siem Reap to Luang Prabang, and from Phnom Penh to Vientiane. Most visitors can get a visa on arrival, but if you’re arriving via a land border, you may want to get a visa for Laos in advance.
To get a visa for Laos in Phnom Penh, you can head to the Embassy of the Lao PDR, where you’ll need a passport with 6 months availability left on it, two application forms–they’re available at the embassy–and 2 passport-sized photos. (Here’s where to get passport photos in Phnom Penh).
Laos visas cost between $30 and $50 depending on your nationality. For Americans, a Laos visa costs $50, for Brits the cost is $40 and Australians it’s $30. Normal processing takes 48 hours. For an extra $10 you can get urgent processing that will be ready in 12 hours. Tourist visas are valid for 2 months, and offer a single-entry 30-day stay.
Be warned: you cannot pay with $100 bills. The office hours at the Lao Embassy in Phnom Penh are Monday to Friday, 8:00 – 11:30 a.m. and 2:00 – 5:00 p.m.
We did a price check with expat favorite for visa and license issues, Lucky! Lucky! Motorcycle Shop in Phnom Penh. The price was $3 higher to use Lucky! Lucky! and has the same processing times, but considering the fact that on our recent visit the one grumpy embassy employee seemed to speak either English or Khmer, using an agent is probably the easiest way to go.
Embassy of the Lao PDR
15-17 Mao Tse Tung Blvd, Phnom Penh
T: 023 982 632; 023 426 441
F: 023 720 907; 023 427 454
Lucky! Lucky! Motorcycle Shop
413Eo Monivong Blvd, Phnom Penh
T: 099 808 788; 012 279 990