Dos and Don't

How respect and use your head; Eyes and common sense will guide you well in navigating Laos's culture safely. When in Laos, try and do as the Laos do and remember: don't touch heads, don't lose cool with people, and don't flash your flesh. The rest about manners: Shoes left outside, accepting host's greeting; not upsetting religious feeling. The Laos are friendly and hospitable. A minimum of effort will make your trip smooth and memorable. 

Respect the culture and will earn its respect in turn. How to "nop"? Raise your hands in a playing gesture. The higher you go, the more respect you show, but don't be over the top!

A kiss or embrace from a stranger is insulting and humiliating. Traditionally, Laos's people use the Nop on meeting and using it will win you instant friends if performed sincerely.

A handshake will suffice, but try to use the Laos greeting of "sabai dee"

In Buddhism and general Asian society, the head is very important to the soul and is purity, while the feet walk the earth and all that posited on it. Biasing your feet to headlight, putting them on furniture or pointing with them is taken as a deliberate insult or sign of barbarism.

Don't gesture with your feet on touch an Asian head. You be asking for trouble. Here, as in all things, check out what local people does with feet and shoes and try to follow suit.

Bodily hygiene and cleanliness are of the highest standard in Laos and a visitor's failure to meet these standard is nit well received. Wash your self and your clothes daily or prepare to the laughed at and avoided!

Religion is the major part of daily life and remains the practice of the massive majority.

  • Show respect in temples and shrines, watching how locals behave in such places. The basic rules

  • No shoes in temple buildings

  • Keep your head lower than Buddha and monks

  • Don't touch the Buddha Don't turn your back on the Buddha or touch him.

And ladies… If touch a monk, he'll have to spend days ritually cleansing the disgrace away…

You will rarely be alone in Laos, even when you to be, and pollution is not well received. Bins are scarce, so use your plastic bags.

- May be severe for you
- And even worse for the Laos society.

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  Information provided by Laos National Tourism Authority.


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