Laos is a beautiful country covered by lush rain forests, beautiful rivers, waterfalls, and some of the kindest people you'll ever meet.

By doing high school abroad in Laos, students will have the opportunity to explore this often overlooked country and learn about a culture that most never even know about. Go on a teen travel program and trek through rainforests, travel the Mekong River, and immerse yourself in Laotian culture. Or, volunteer your time conserving Laos's wildlife or helping with community development. Either way, you're guaranteed to have a summer or spring break unlike any of your friends.

Laos is great for students who are interested in adventure, exploring, environment, cultural education, and volunteering, and who don't mind roughing it a bit.

Laos provides unique experiences for high school student to learn outside of the classroom. Typically, students will do one of the following two types of high school abroad programs in Laos:

  • Teen travel programs
  • Volunteer / service-learning programs
Teen travel

Starting over near the Thai border and working their way through the country, students are given the opportunity to learn about Laos's history while traveling through it. Students will travel to important historical sites, Buddhist temples, and bustling cities.

Volunteer / service-learning programs

For students who want to get involved in improving the quality of life in Laos, there are also opportunities for high school volunteer trips or service learning trips (which pair volunteer work with classes). Popular projects include volunteering with Laos' elephant population, assisting at a school, or working with local NGOs.

Popular cities

The capital city, Vientiane, is a great destination and most students will at least pass through it. Beautiful temples mixed with modern city are a great contrast of the past and present coupled with the French influence really reflect the countries history.

Luang Prabang is known for its colonial architecture and Vang Vieng is a hotspot for adventurous activities.

Visa requirements

All students entering Laos are required to have a valid passport and visa. Visas can be obtained online ahead of time for around $50 or at the airport on arrival for around $35. The paperwork can be found online, filled out, and brought with you to the airport. The process doesn't take long if you chose to get a visa on arrival. If you want to get it ahead of time you can send the paperwork into the nearest embassy and they will return your passport with a visa in around 2 weeks. Allow extra time incase there are any complications.

Housing

Housing is provided in all programs offered in Laos. Typically, students will be living in a local homestay, hotel, or camping -- depending on the program. Do note, however, that most accommodations in Laos will be basic. Though many hotels do have electricity, running water, and air conditioning, there's always a chance that you might be without one of these items during all or part of your stay.

Costs

Laos is a very cheap destination; although the plane tickets can be quite pricey once you are there the prices are very low. Street food and transportation are never more than a couple dollars. It's recommended to have a daily budget of about $20 - 30 USD -- possibly even less if your food and accommodation are included in your program's fees.

Cultural etiquette

Laos is home to many Buddhist temples and shrines. Shoulders are expected to be covered and shoes removed in many of these temples. Don't be alarmed if they give you a robe or a napkin to cover your shoulders.

It is considered rude to point, especially to an elder, although it is a more modern custom, younger people are not offended, however, try to nod with your head when speaking with elders.

Packing tips

Laos, like the rest of South East Asia, has two seasons: rainy and dry. However, even in the dry season the humidity is ridiculously high. Regardless of time of year, be sure to pack lightweight clothing and drink a ton of water every day.

However, make sure you're not just packing short-shorts and tanks. For visits to temples and shrines, you'll be required to cover up your knees and shoulders (yes, this goes for both genders). Bring a below-knee skirt / pair of loose-fitting pants / capris and a t-shirt for these occasions. Also don't forget to bring:

  • Bug repellant
  • Shoes that are easy to slip off
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Lightweight clothing
  • Day pack
  • Rain jacket
  • Headlamp / flashlight
  • A sarong

All travelers are required to be up to date on their routine vaccinations. Most travelers are recommended to get Hepatitis A, Typhoid, and Polio before traveling to Laos. Be careful when drinking the water, it is best to avoid tap water and uncooked vegetables that have been washed with water.

Beware of pickpockets in Laos' major cities.

High School Abroad Programs in Laos

Displaying 1 - 6 of 6 programs
GVI
GVI: Volunteering for Teens
Multiple Countries
9.1 •10 reviews

GVI offers a variety of opportunities for young adults between the...

Travel For Teens
Travel For Teens: Travel Programs for Older Teens
Multiple Countries
9.72 •32 reviews

We know that older teens are more independent and we have designed...

Where There Be Dragons
Mekong: Tibetan Plateau to the Heart of Southeast Asia Gap Year Semester
Multiple Countries
10 •2 reviews

To Tibetans, the Upper Mekong is a powerful spiritual entity. To the...

Rustic Pathways
Summer High School Programs in Laos with Rustic Pathways
Laos
9.85 •13 reviews

Join us in Laos to experience breathtaking scenery and immersive...

Where There Be Dragons
Laos, Thailand, & Cambodia: From Hidden Kingdom to the Temples of Angkor High School Summer Program
Multiple Countries

Discover the historic, economic, environmental, and cultural mosaic of...

Other High School Abroad Programs in Southeast Asia

Not enough options in Laos? Check out more high school abroad programs in Southeast Asia!
  • GVI
    GVI: Volunteering for Teens
    Multiple Countries
    9.1 •10 reviews

    GVI offers a variety of opportunities for young adults between the...

  • Global Leadership Adventures (GLA)
    Summer Volunteer Programs in Thailand
    Thailand
    9.77 •30 reviews

    Explore the beautiful and rich culture of Thailand while volunteering...

  • Travel For Teens
    Travel For Teens: Travel Programs for Older Teens
    Multiple Countries
    9.72 •32 reviews

    We know that older teens are more independent and we have designed...

  • Travel For Teens
    Travel For Teens: Thailand
    Thailand
    9.67 •24 reviews

    Thailand is known as the land of a thousand smiles, and on any of our...

  • Travel For Teens
    Travel For Teens: Community Service Travel Programs
    Multiple Countries
    9.85 •13 reviews

    Meaningful Community Service is an important component to many of our...

  • Projects Abroad
    Projects Abroad Teen Volunteer Abroad Program in Cambodia
    Cambodia
    9.71 •7 reviews

    Spend 2, 3 or 4 weeks in the summer in Cambodia as a high school...

  • Pacific Discovery
    Pacific Discovery | Thailand Summer Program
    Thailand
    9.87 •15 reviews

    Experience the exotic and varied landscapes, tastes, wildlife and...

  • Carpe Diem Education
    Carpe Diem Education | Southeast Asia Semester: Human Rights & Cultural Exchange
    Multiple Countries
    9.78 •9 reviews

    Study Human Rights and Cultural Exchange with a community of students...

  • Where There Be Dragons
    Cambodia: Peace-Building & Conservation High School Summer Program
    Cambodia
    10 •2 reviews

    Known for the incomparable ruins of Angkor Wat, Cambodia is a country...

What People Are Saying

In the summer of 2017, I participated in the construction volunteer program based in Pokhara, Nepal and had an enlightening experience. From the moment that GVI Nepal representatives met us at the...

The image appears sideways.

This past summer I got to travel through Europe. We started in Florence where we explored magnificent art museums and got a feel for the Italian city life. Next we hopped on the train to Monterosso...

Canyoning in Switzerland

My experience traveling with TFT was nothing but extraordinary. In the summer of 2017 I set off, by myself for the first time, to travel abroad in Europe. Not only did Travel for Teens place me in a...

Standing above Interlaken, Switzerland!

Related High School Abroad Articles