Do's and Don'ts

The Lao word for hello is "Sa Bai Dee", usually said with a smile. Touching or showing affection in public will embarrass your hosts.

Lao people traditionally greet each other by pressing their palms together to "Nop", although it is acceptable for men to shake hands.

In Laos your head is "high", your feet "low". Using your feet for anything other than walking or playing sports is generally considered rude.

Touching someone's head is very, very impolite.

Lao people appreciate clean and neatly dressed visitors.

Bathing nude in public is impolite.

Please remember to take off your shoes before you enter a Lao person's home.

Remember, your head is 'high', your feet is 'low'. It is polite to gently crouch down when passing someone who is seated. Never, ever step over someone in your path.

Kissing and hugging in public is impolite. Please be discrete.

Lao people speak softly and avoid confrontaion. Please do not shout or raise your voice.

Before you take a photo of someone ask if it is ok.

Please do not distribute gifts to children as it encourages begging, but give to an established organization or village elders instead.

Try eating delicious Lao food whenever you can, it helps local business and Lao farmers.

Please show respect and dress neatly while in temples and when taking photos.

There are many other sacred items and sites in Laos. Please do not touch or enter these places without permission.

Monks are revered and respected in Laos, however, women should not touch a monk or a monk's robes.

Please help to keep Laos clean and beautiful by not leaving litter. Picking up rubbish sets a good example for Lao youth.

The illegal sale of wildlife and wildlife products endangers many species native to Laos. Help protect Lao wildlife by refusing to buy wildlife products.

Please help prevent forest fires.

Laos loses a little of its heritage every time an antique is taken of the country. Please do not buy antique buddhas or other sacred items. Instead, support local craftsmen by purchasing new, quality handicrafts.

The use of drugs is illegal in Laos. The consequences may be severe for you and Lao society.

Sex tourism is illegalin Lao PDR and child-sex tourism is a serious crime. Please help protect children in Laos from sexual abuse and exploitation by reporting suspicious behavior.