Laos’ capital of Vientiane and the world heritage site of Luang Prabang ranked in the top 10 Asian cities for budget travellers in 2014, according to a recently-released index.
However living costs in the two Lao cities are still more expensive than many cities in the region including Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City of Vietnam and Chiang Mai of Thailand, despite the fact that the economies of the two neighbours are more advanced than that of Laos.
The ranking was made by a travel cost database website called ‘Price of Travel,’ which recently released its Asia Backpacker Index for 2014.
The cheapest city is Pokhara of Nepal with an average cost of US$14 per day. Hanoi in Vietnam came second with US$15.86 per day. Chiang Mai in Thailand ranked third with a cost of US$17.63 a day.
Kathmandu in Nepal came forth with an average cost of US$18.05 per day followed by Goa of India with US$18.06, Ho Chi Minh City of Vietnam at the daily average expense of US$18.25, and New Delhi of India at the cost of US$21.16 per day.
Vientiane and Luang Prabang of Laos ranked eighth and ninth, with the expenses of US$21.35 and US$21.67 per day respectively. Bangkok of Thailand came tenth, according to the website.
Laos generally only tends to get visitors who are spending time touring the whole region, but those who make it are rewarded with a fascinating culture, and low prices.
Laos’ capital city is so low key that it feels like a small-town river resort, though modern development is starting to creep in. Thanks to a new hostel opening recently, Vientiane is a bit cheaper than Luang Prabang, the website said.
Prices for many things in Luang Prabang have gone up recently, more than in just about any other tourist city, mostly due to its fast-growing popularity, but for now it’s still very cheap for those who travel like a backpacker. The local attractions are all practically free, the website stated.
Budget travellers have continued to dominate growth in the Lao tourism sector, despite the government’s efforts to attract and target more high-end tourists.
Foreign tourists arriving in Laos for 2013 reached 3,779,490 visitors for the year, an increase from more than 3.3 million visitors recorded in 2012, according to information from the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism.
But tour operators said high-end tourists represented only about 20 percent of the total tourist arrivals.
Priceoftravel.com also announced the most expensive cities for budget travellers, including Zurich of Switzerland (US$122.22/day), Stockholm of Sweden (US$109.69), Oslo of Norway, Interlaken of Switzerland, Venice of Italy, New York, London, Caracas of Venezuela, Helsinki of Finland and Copenhagen of Denmark, according to Vietnam Net.
Source: Vientiane Times