a VirtualTourist member
What is the best currency to use in Laos
The local currency, the kip.
It is always best to use the local currency in any country you travel to. It help shore up foreign reserves and strengthen the local economy. In this case, the Kip.
When i was there a couple of years ago i used KIP everywhere i went. There are money changers in most reasonable sized towns but i found the further you went from Vientiane the rate was marginally lower, but not enough to concern anyone.
Good question! The best is always to use local if it't possible, but in Laos the system is flexible. And whether you use it, they will use: Let me explain, I wrote about this (sorry about thai pahts in the photo, but there is a reason):
[original VT link]
This was the situation 2009-2010.
Local, though you can always change Euros, GBP, USD at the many money changers for a good & latest rate.
When shopping locally you should bring Kip for sure. In the tourist centers you can use foreign currency, but there are not many tourist centers in Laos as there are relatively few tourists and they are mainly backpackers and you can easily come across people who won't take foreign currency.
The best currency to bring is US dollar as that is the easiest to change.
We have just returned from Luang Prabang. Noticed that you got a better deal on entry fees using kip. It's probably the same with restaurants.There were lots of ATMs and money changers in Luang Prabang. We chnged US at the money changers without problem. The notes have to be in good condition or they won't be acepted. We did use US to pay one hotel bill. Probably overall kip is best.