The Lao Kip (LAK) is the legal currency unit. US Dollars, Euros and Thai Baht are also accepted in many places and are more convenient to carry than large stacks of the local currency. Banks, hotels, and jewellery shops all offer currency exchange services. For everyday expenses, visitors should carry a mix of US Dollars and Kip. For larger items, or when the exchange rate is favourable, travellers should use US dollars. For local transport, street-food stalls and minor purchases, Kip will serve visitors better. When in rural areas, travellers should carry a supply of small notes as change can be hard to come by.
Major credit cards such as Visa and MasterCard are accepted at most international hotels, many shops and restaurants, and a few tourist-orientated establishments in Luang Prabang and Vientiane. In other parts of the country, visitors should assume that only cash is accepted.
Banks are generally open Monday to Friday from 8am to 12pm, and then again from 2pm to 3pm. ATMs are available in Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Pakse and other major towns. Travellers should note that ATMs distribute only Lao Kip, with a maximum of around 1,000,000 Kip per transaction.
Currency Exchange Rates
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