Usually, Laotians are easy in accepting all types of people from around the world. However, there are certain things that you should not do in Laos for your safety, preservation of the country and also to respect the locals there.
1. Don’t touch a monk
In Laos, touching a monk is considered as rude especially among women. This is a taboo for women in Laos. If someone wants to give something to the monk, it’s better to pass it to the men and let them give it to the monk, except money or food, which women can give directly to the monk by putting it into the monk’s alm bowl.
2. Don’t argue with the police
Don’t argue with the Laotian police because there’s nothing if you want to argue with them. Sometimes the underpaid police are simply looking to extort money from tourists. You just can pay the bribe but be warned that it is a serious offense to bribe money in many countries, so don’t worry if you get back home.
3. Don’t touch anyone with your feet
The culture in Laos once said that, stepping over someone who is seated is a big rudeness in Laos culture. It is because of head is the higher and foot is the lower part of our body. So beware of your step on any place and better to keep your feet on the floor in all time and not tucked under you or on a chair.
4. Don’t wear your shoes inside your home or temple
As usual in Southeast Asia, shoes always belong in outside and only bare feet or house shoes can be worn inside the home. In Laos, they use culture anywhere, either in restaurants or certain stores as well. If you are in doubt, just follow what others do. If someone says that you can keep your shoes on, but theirs are off, you should take yours off as well.
5. Don’t argue, shout and rush
In Laos, they do not argue or shout loudly because they have to save face at all costs. Like many countries in Southeast Asia, Laos is a country that doesn’t have a strong culture of bargaining. When they put the low price on something, don’t ask for down further or you might lose your item. You have to be patient in everything because in Laos, the service in a shop or restaurant can be quite slow.
6. Don’t do public display of affection
Like other countries in Southeast Asia, showing affection in public is kindly prohibited by the law except if you are a married couple.
7. Don’t but antiques or wildlife products
You have to be careful when you are buying something in Laos, because if it contains any animal product, you will be punished by the law. Same goes to the Buddha sculpture, you are prohibited to take it out of the country because it may shows the disrespect of that country. But if it is made from a wood, you can purchase it as souvenirs.
8. Don’t bathe nude or walk around in a bikini
Don’t ever wear a bikini or bathe in nude in Laos because it is not a culture in Laos. The Laotian will use a sarong or something like jeans or t-shirt for swimming. Don’t walk around with swimwear because it is not acceptable in Laos.
9. Think before riding a motorbike
Even though Laos is a country that popular with motorbikes transportation, but you have to ride by your own risk because there are no trauma centre in Laos and if you need it, you have to get across the border to Thailand for the treatment. Most of the locals in Laos drive without a license, especially the children. Drive carefully, know the risk and check your bike before riding.
Get close to Laos with sutra !