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Why is Laos so expensive?

When you hear about Laos, you probably think at first that the country is really cheap. After all, it’s located in Southeast Asia and isn’t at the economic level of Thailand. We have to admit that we thought so too. But when we were in Laos for the first time, we immediately noticed that many things are more expensive than in Thailand. For example, if you go to the supermarket in Laos and take a closer look at the prices, you’ll immediately notice that many identical products are cheaper in the surrounding countries. But that’s just one of many examples. Once you travel to Laos, you’ll immediately notice what we mean. Nevertheless, we would like to explain to you what is the reason for Laos being so expensive. There’s a simple answer to that.

What makes Laos more expensive than Thailand

Laos relies on importing products from neighboring countries. The economy in Laos is still on the upswing and there’s little own industry and export products. Some of Laos main export products are coffee, rubber, wood, clothing and metals. In the food industry, however, Laos mainly exports corn. The demand for many types of food is high in Laos. Therefore a lot of goods are imported from other Asian countries. In addition to Thailand, this also includes China and Vietnam. Logically many products that you know from the supermarkets in Thailand are simply more expensive. The same is often the case when you go out to eat in a restaurant. In addition, many Laotians rely on making their services more expensive, because the cost of living is higher.

How you can easily save some money in Laos

Despite the fact that Laos is so expensive, you have a lot of possibilities to save some money. Sometimes you’ll have to pull yourself together, but it’s definitely possible. Especially if you always eat at street stalls or small street restaurants, you can save a lot for the entire duration of your trip. You’ll also have to haggle about the price now and then. Among other things, when driving with tuk tuks and buying clothes or souvenirs in the market. But of course also think about the economic situation of the people. If you overdo it with haggling, it could be somehow disrespectful. Still, you should try to push the price down for a lot of things. Otherwise, you won’t be able to afford to travel long in Laos.

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