Destination Currency Guides

All the information you need to ensure your travel money goes further


The official currency of Laos is the Kip, however you will be unable to purchase Kip before you enter the country – nor do you really want to. The US Dollar is the favoured currency, so exchanging some US Dollars before you depart will mean you are ready to spend when you land in Laos. Small notes are of a benefit as larger notes can be harder to break or find change – and by small we mean small, right down to a 1 US Dollar note as these are handy for taxi’s, markets and small purchases. It is also important to ensure your notes are in good condition to avoid them being refused. When you pay with US Dollars, you may be provided with the local Laos Kip in change if your purchase is of a a small value.

Save on bank fees and buy US Dollar cash for Laos in a range of denominations before you depart:

  • Notes in a range of denominations – 1/5/10/20/50/100
  • New notes supplied for use in Laos
  • Pre-order online, contact us to make a reservation or visit us in-store

Cash is an essential in Laos

Whilst ATM availability is increasing in popular tourist areas, Laos is very much a cash economy.  As you spend your US Dollar cash, you may receive some local currency in change. Remember that Kip is not exchangeable outside of Laos, so get rid of any unused local currency before you leave the country. 

ATM access 

ATM’s availability is increasing in most popular tourist areas such as Vientiane and Luang Prabang. If you’re heading a little off the beaten track, you can search here for a guide* to ATM’s available in your location. When you withdraw money from an ATM in Laos you will receive Kip – and keep in mind that the maximum withdrawal limit might inconvenience you. If you need to take out more money than the ATM will allow you, visit a bank and withdraw money over the counter as they may give you the option of US Dollars too – which you can spend and exchange as you need to. Having cash on hand at all times is handy in the event the ATM you are trying to use will not accept your card, is out of order or will not give you the value that you are trying to withdraw.

Using your credit or debit card in Laos

If you are planning to take your debit card with you, It is important to make sure that your card will work overseas. Look on the front and back of your card and make sure that there is a Visa, Mastercard or American Express symbol on the card. If there are none of these symbols, there may be a Maestro or Cirrus logo – these cards will only work at ATM’s that display the Cirrus or Maestro logo. Remember to check in with your bank to make sure that you are fully aware of the fees you will be charged to make purchases or to withdraw money from an ATM in Laos. Click here to see common credit/debit card fees and charges before you speak with your bank. Always prepare for the event that your card is lost, stolen or skimmed by having an emergency contact number readily available. What options are available to you if you are unable to use your bank card when you are in Laos? You can avoid the disaster of having no access to cash by considering a travel card that gives you a free back-up card in the case of an emergency. Read more about how a travel card can give you an account that is not linked to your personal bank accounts, plus access to 24/7 phone support and emergency cash in as little as 20 minutes.




We endeavour to provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date information for your destination. This information should be used as a guide only and does not constitute personal advice. Please refer to the relevant product disclosure statement before making the decision to purchase any product offered by Exchange Now. Consider your own circumstances before making a decision on how you will take your money with you overseas.

*Card payment surcharges apply to certain transactions online and in-store. Exchange Now have free payment options available to you, please click here to read all applicable card payment surcharges.

*You will be redirected to the Mastercard ATM Locator and the information displayed is not published or guaranteed by Exchange Now. The ATM locations have been provided to Mastercard by the relevant institutions and are subject to change.

Country Laos
Capital City Vientiane
Official Currency Laos Kip
Smallest Note 1,000
Largest Note 100,000
Cash Available to Purchase No