Working and Living in Laos


Laos has certainly benefitted from the growth of tourism in its near-neighbour, Vietnam. As an increasing number of tourists have experienced the joys of one country in Indochina, all the others have benefitted. Laos may not be as developed as Vietnam, it is nevertheless a hugely interesting country in its own right. If you have been travelling in Laos and the Country appeals to you, you may consider working in Laos for a while, and even living in Laosin retirement. Both are possible but you need to comply with the regulations that are in place.

You can actually get a visa to Laos on arrival not only at the major airports but also at a number ofborder crossings. Seasoned travellers know that they need 6 months’ validity on their passports in order to gain entry to many countries. Given it is possible to apply for a new passport well advance, and not lose the months still available, that presents no problem to anyone. There is a nominal fee and you merely need to complete an application form and provide a current passport photograph.

Permanent residency is available for foreigners in Laos if they have lived there for ten years continuously or run a stable business for five with a value of US$500,000. It is not everyone who can set up a business which starts or can grow to this size. Ordinary people who think about living and working abroad for a time, or perhaps even doing so permanently need to look at what Laos has to offer, and whether it is sufficient to get them to make what will always be a big step.

working and living in laos

These days, the Internet has created endless opportunity to live and work anywhere in the world. It is just a matter of handling time zones when they apply. Unfortunately, if you enjoy wandering from country to country, spending significant time in each, but you need a reliable Internet, Laos is probably not the country for you. For those with language skills, there are certainly opportunities to teach English although you can expect long hours and pay that does not compare favourably, even to the neighbouring countries.

Vientiane Is the Laos capital and as such much of the commercial and administrative activities take place there. It is a friendly place where the locals happily intermingle with foreign visitors; and will do so with those aiming to live in the City rather than just briefly pass through. The pace of life is fairly slow which can be frustrating at times but you will get used to that and any frustrations will soon go.

If you are thinking about Laos you are certainly not restricted to Vientiane. Luang Prabang is the main tourist attraction in Laos. This ancient capital is set below green mountains with the Nam Khan and Mekong Rivers encircling the buildings. Once you see it, you may be tempted to make it your home. Not surprisingly, UNESCO has recognized its value as well.
There are manmade attractions such as Haw Kham, a museum formerly the Royal Palace, Vat Xieng Toung, an extremely old monastery with several small temples close by and the golden Vipassana Temple. Natural highlights include the Kuang Si Waterfalls, the Pak Ou Caves and the views of Luang Prabang from the top of Phou Si/Chomsy Hill are stunning, especially at sunrise and sunset.

You will not be able to take employment from a local in this important tourist region but perhaps it is a place where you can find teaching work as language skills are especially important. There is little doubt that tourism will remain important in this region so investment in the infrastructure is certain to continue.

If there is a downside in Laos as opposed to its near neighbours it is that it is landlocked. There are no beach resorts in which to relax after a hectic couple of weeks seeing the country. As long as that is not a negative to you, Laos has much to offer those looking for a new experience and not too concerned in making a great deal of money.

living in laos

Should you be considering living and working in Laos, and bringing your family with you, you will need to look at the availability of accommodation, education and health facilities before you can make a decision. There are international schools in Vientiane while there is an English newspaper published in the City. It has to be said that the Healthcare facilities are not up to the standard you would expect elsewhere in the world. Vientiane has the best facilities but for some treatment, it is frankly preferable to head to Thailand and pay for treatment. It is certainly one negative when it comes to living with your family in Laos. Comprehensive health insurance is available but you should ensure that you are covered for leaving the country for treatment.

Most people considering Laos for home are young and prepared to put up with inconveniences in order to have a new experience. Someone who is young and healthy should have few problems and enjoy their time in Laos. It is common sense to have some basic medicines and restock whenever necessary.

All the countries of Indochina are welcoming within limits and that applies to Laos. There are regulations in place for entry and staying in the Country for more than a brief holiday. If you comply with these, you are welcome and if you can demonstrate you can make a positive economic impact on the Country, you will find few obstacles. You should do your research and there are Indochina travel agents who willingly provide advice on every aspect of travelling in Indochina as part of their service. As long as your research is thorough, and you are keen to spend time in Laos, a real adventure awaits you.