VIENTIANE, 10 May 2022: Lao PDR reopened the country to tourists on 9 May following a press briefing that confirmed vaccinated tourists could enter the country without a pre-flight or on arrival Covid-19 test and health insurance.
Travellers can enter and leave Lao PDR through all air and land border checkpoints. They will need to apply for a visa at the nearest Lao PDR embassy or consulate or apply for an e-Visa online. The exceptions are nationalities that are eligible for visa-free stays.
However, not all border checkpoints are open on the Thai side when you make the return trip to Thailand. You will need to register on the Thailand Pass https://tp.consular.go.th/ before travelling to Thailand from Laos. Thailand Pass lists the border checkpoints that are applicable. Chiang Rai in the far north bordering both Laos and Myanmar is not on the list, and that is not going to change until the province’s governor gives the all-clear.
All the other Mekong River border checkpoints between Laos and Northeast Thailand are open for trips to Laos, and travellers can return to Thailand, but they will need to register online with Thailand Pass.
That is likely to remain the case until late July, when reliable government sources say the Thailand Pass will be phased out. In the meantime, to enter Thailand by air or land, you will need to apply for a Thailand Pass. It requires you to download a clear jpeg image of the relevant passport page, jpeg images of your vaccination certificate and the insurance profile statement showing you have purchased insurance cover of USD10,000. Once you receive a Thailand Pass QR code sent to your email box, you are ready for the border crossing to Thailand.
As for Laos opening up its borders, the KPL Laos News Agency noted that the government was responding to “positive suggestions from a public opinion survey and a decline in daily new cases and deaths from Covid-19.”
Deputy Minister and Deputy Head of the Prime Minister’s Office Thipphakone Chanthavongsa said Lao citizens, foreign nationals and stateless people 12 and older who do not have valid vaccination certificates must show ATK test results issued within 48 hours before departing from the country of origin.
Travellers with vaccination certificates may enter Lao PDR without taking a Covid-19 test, either before departing the country of origin or when arriving in Laos.
There are no stipulations on buying health insurance, but it would be wise to stay on the safe side and buy a policy. Private hospital fees in Laos and Thailand are astronomical. (You will also need insurance when re-entering Thailand).
Laos also warns that foreigners diagnosed with Covid-19 would need to undergo treatment at a state or private hospitals or in-home isolation depending on the Ministry of Health guidelines at their own expense.