Lao People’s Democratic Republic

History of Relations | Diplomatic Representation | Travel Info | Health Requirements | Climate Info | Currency Info | Trade Info | Visits and Meetings | Agreements | Interest Groups/ Organisations

History of Relations

Diplomatic relations between South Africa and the Lao People's Democratic Republic were established in September 1994. The previous South African Ambassador to Thailand, Mrs Buyi M Pheto, presented her credentials as non-resident Ambassador to the President of Laos on 6 November 2001.

Laos has neither residential nor non-residential representation in South Africa.

Diplomatic Representation

South African Representation in Lao (non resident)

H E Mr G Q M Doidge
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary

Representation accredited from South African Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand

South African Embassy

Lao Representation in South Africa

No Representation

Travel Info

Tourist information for Laos can be accessed on the following websites :

South African nationals visiting Laos are strongly advised to exercise a high level of
personal security awareness at all times. Since 2000 that have been periodic though
isolated attacks on markets, bus stations, all forms of ground transportation, border
checkpoints and other public places.

Laos remains one of the most heavily mined countries in the world with mined areas
frequently unmarked. In addition, visitors should also be aware of the dangers of
unexploded ordnance (UXO) left over from the Vietnam war. UXOs pose a particular
problem in Xieng Khoung, Sam Neua and Huaphan Provinces and areas of the Lao-
Vietnamese border. Visitors are advised not to stray off main routes in rural areas and
not to pick up any metal objects.

Penalties for using illegal narcotic substances (opium, heroin, amphetamine type
stimulants including Ecstasy and marijuana etc) in Laos are severe. In 2001, the death
penalty was introduced for persons found guilty of the illegal production, possession,
trafficking or trade of 500 grams or more of heroin or 3 killogrammes or more of
opium, or 10 killogrammes or more of marijuana.

A US$10 airport tax per person is payable on departure from both Vientiane (Wattay)
and Luang Prabang International Airports and a 5000 Kip (or 20 Thai Baht) exit tax
is payable on departure at the Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge checkpoint.

Visa requirements for South Africans

All South African nationals require visas to enter Laos. This should preferably be
obtained from any Lao PDR Embassy abroad before arriving in the country.

Documents required:

* Two visa application forms duly completed and signed by the applicant;
* Two recent photographs of passport-holder; and
* A valid passport with at least six month remaining validity.

Visa fees are charged according to the nationality of the applicant. Current visa fees
for SA passport-holders are US$30 for a 15-day tourist visa. These can be extended at
the Department of Immigration in Laos.

Visas can also be obtained on arrival as follows :

  • Wattay International Airport (Vientiane), Luang Prabang and Pakse
    International Airports
  • Border check points : (Please note that not all entry border posts are open to

Lao-Thai border : Houai Sai - Chiang Khong (Bokeo Province), Vientiane - Nongkhai
(Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge Checkpoint), Savannakhet-Mukdahan (
Province), Vang Tao - Chong Mek (Champasak Province);
Lao-Vietnamese border : Denesavanh - Lao Bao, Nam Phao or Keo Neua - Kao,
Namkan - Namkan; and Lao-Chinese border : Boten - Bohane.

Full detail of the visa regulations for Laos can be obtained from the following official
websites where visa application forms can also be downloaded :

Ministry of Foreign Affairs :
Lao PDR Embassy in Bangkok

Foreigners who overstay their visas in Laos risk arrest and will be fined US$10 for
each day of overstay upon departure.

Health Requirements

Tourists visiting parts of Laos other than Vientiane are advised to obtain medication for malaria. Immunisation against Helpatits A & B is also recommended (Dengue fever of DHF). There is no immunization against DHF.

It is strongly recommended that comprehensive travel and health insurance be obtained which would include emergency air evacuation by a recognised carrier. Prospective travellers should check with their insurer te make sure that their policy meets their needs.

For further information go to Travelers' Health.

Climate Info

Laos is a monsoon region with two distinct seasons: November to April is the dry season, and May to October the rainy season.

For up-to-date weather information click here.

Currency Info

The currency of Laos is the Kip (LAK).

For current exchange rates click here.

State and Official Visits / Bilateral Meetings

Mr Reuben Ngwenya, Deputy Director of the SA Zoological Gardens in Pretoria
visited Laos in April 2005 on an official visit arranged and sponsored by the SA
Embassy in Bangkok. His visit was primarily aimed at visiting two identified wildlife
projects in Bolikhamsay Province and the drawing up of a pre-feasibility study for the
further development of these projects.

Bilateral Agreements

If you have any queries with regard to treaties please contact the Treaty Section of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) at 012 351 1000.

Trade Info

Laos' major imports are vehicles, cement, iron and fabrics, while its major exports are hydroelectric power, timber, plywood, parquet, furniture, garments, coffee and tin. South Africa mostly exports base metals to Laos and imports mostly vegetable products from Laos.

For current information on trade statistics between South Africa and Lao, visit the website of the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition of South Africa.

Interest Groups and Information

No Information



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