Frequently Asked Questions

How many people can attend each tour?

The tours are designed for small groups of up to 8 people. This is also the maximum number that can comfortably fit in our tuk tuk. Tours can be organised for larger groups on request and with enough advance notice. Please email us directly if you would like to organise a trip for a larger group.

I’d like to take a tour but have already been to one of the stops – can we go somewhere else for that stop?

It is possible for us to put together a custom tour for you including stops that are more interesting to you. However we don’t usually visit easy to access places, such as That Luang Stupa or Wat Sisaket, as we feel that you can easily visit these places by yourself. We like to try and show you things you wouldn’t normally see or do.

If you would like to organise a private, custom tour then please contact us directly with as much notice as possible. We will try and accommodate your request and design a tour especially for you.

Can we arrange a private tour, just for us?

Yes, we are very happy to keep your tour private and personal! There is a small $50 USD (or 400,000 kip) fee per tour to keep the tour private, so that others won’t join. This is payable for up to 5 people, so if you have 6 or more people then you can request a private tour without paying the fee.

Is it possible to take a tour in a mini-van?

Yes, of course. If you prefer to do one of our tours in an air-conditioned mini-van then there is an additional charge per tour of $80 USD (or 640,000 kip). The charge for the use of the mini-van will be borne by the guests that requested the use of the mini-van, even if others participants join this trip. If you would like to take a private tour then you can pay an additional fee of $50 USD (or 400,000 kip) which will mean that you have the whole tour to yourselves. Please note that the mini-van is not available for the ‘Dinner with the Locals’ or the ‘Soumaly’s Kitchen Lao Cooking Class’ evening tours.

What is included in the tour?

Your tour includes all transport (pick up and drop off at your accommodation), the activities described in the itinerary (including all entry fees and materials), lunch and/or dinner (depending on the trip), bottled water, and an English speaking guide. It does not include any additional food, drink or souvenirs you may want to buy during your tour.

Can I take photographs while on a tour?

Yes definitely! Our tours are about having a great experience that you will remember for years to come. It is always polite to ask before you take a photo of any person, and particularly in Laos where some ethnic groups believe that their soul will be stolen if they have their photograph taken. Your guide Ere can help you to ask for permission to help you get the best pictures.

Is there any cultural etiquette I’ll need to know before going on a tour?

Laos is a Buddhist country where it is important to respect cultures and traditions, and each other. Dressing modestly shows respect and is always well received. When visiting temples it is important for both men and women to not to wear skimpy or revealing clothes. Shorts or a skirt and a t-shirt or singlet top are fine as long as you are not showing off too much tanned holiday skin! If in doubt, bring along a scarf or a top with sleeves to put on if needed. Your guide Ere will help you to understand any cultural practices that are important while you are doing your tour, and please refer to the information provided on each tour to ensure you are comfortably dressed and ready to enjoy your tour.

Refer to Do’s and Don’ts in Laos, a guide produced by the Lao National Tourism Authority, which offersrecommendations to make your time in Laos more respectful and enjoyable.

Where do I get picked up from?

In most cases we will pick you up from your accommodation and drop you back there at the end of the trip. In some cases an alternative meeting point may be arranged.

How do I pay for my tour?

We accept either a cash payment (in Lao Kip or US Dollars) at the start of the tour, or payment via Paypal. The exchange rate for payments is $1USD = 8,000 kip.

How far in advance do I need to book a tour?

Our tours include lots of different activities and visit many places, and we try to organise our activities well in advance to make sure that everything runs smoothly. We require a minimum of one full days’ notice (24 hours) to set up the day and evening tours, and we need a minimum of 1 week notice to set up the Basket Weaving Village Home Stay. But the more notice you can give us the better! Also, booking a tour well in advance increases the likelihood of others joining in your tour and reducing the per person price for everyone (unless you wish to book a private tour, which is also possible). So please contact us as soon as you can to organise your Tuk Tuk Safari!

Where does the money I pay for my tour go to?

All of the Tuk Tuk Safari activities have been developed in partnership with local Lao non-government organisations, independent organisations and small businesses. Your participation in a Tuk Tuk Safari tour directly supports these organisations and enterprises financially, as well as promoting and valuing Lao culture and traditions. Tuk Tuk Safari makes fair and generous payments to all our activity providers, and donations to the non-government organisations visited. Other costs that we pay include lunch, petrol, tuk tuk maintenance and registration, government fees, and venue entry fees. After these costs Tuk Tuk Safari takes a small profit, some of which is reinvested in the development of new and exciting tour activities!

Why don’t you visit the main tourist attractions, like temples, That Luang and Buddha Park?

Great question. The reason we set up Tuk Tuk Safari is that we discovered that many tourists couldn’t find anything else to do in Vientiane apart from the main tourist attractions. In our spare time we love visiting Wat Sisaket or That Luang or Buddha Park, but we know that travellers can easily find and visit these great places by themselves. Our aim is to show you things in Vientiane that you can’t find by yourself, and give you an insight into Lao life and culture. Of course we think you should visit the main attractions too! And by not including them in our tours we are also indirectly supporting the regular Vientiane tuk tuks who might get the fare to drive you there!

Can you provide tours in languages other than English?

Your guide Ere speaks both Lao and English (with a bit of Thai). If you would like to do the tour in any other language we can try and source a local translator to come along on the tour to translate for you. We can’t guarantee that we will be able to find a local guide that speaks your language, but we will certainly try. There will be an additional cost to you for the translator guide, and we will of course discuss this cost with you before any arrangements are made with the translator guide. We need a minimum of 2 weeks notice to try and organise a translator for you, and of course the more notice the better.

What if I book the tour and then can’t come or need to change the date?

Travelling can be a tricky business, and we understand that schedules sometimes have to be changed. We provide lots of different activities as part of our tours and setting up itineraries requires an investment of time and money, both by our service providers and ourselves. To avoid anyone being out of pocket we ask that you provide a minimum of 24 hours notice of any cancellation or change to your tour schedule (excluding the Basket Weaving Home Stay tour which required a minimum of 7 days notice for cancellation or changes to the schedule). If a tour is cancelled with enough notice then we will be happy to refund your payment, if you have already paid. If you would like to reschedule the tour and enough notice is provided we will do our best to find another date for the tour that suits you. If tours are cancelled without sufficient notice we will require payment of the full tour costs in order to recoup costs. Please contact us as soon as possible with notification of any changes to your travel itinerary and we will try to make sure that you can still join us on a Tuk Tuk Safari!

Who will our guide be?

Born and raised in Vientiane, your tour guide Ere knows the ins and outs of Lao culture and the hidden quirks and secret hot-spots of Vientiane. After spending nearly nine years in Australia, Ere is fluent in English and speaks with a Lao Australian accent. Now Ere is back in his home town and helping travellers to get the most out of their time here. Ere’s charm and humour make each day tour fun and memorable.

How suitable are your tours for people with mobility issues or disabilities?

Our tours are designed to be hands on and interactive, and visit interesting and authentic local places. This means that some of our activities, such as rice planting or basket weaving, require a certain level of mobility. Many activities involve some walking or sitting on the floor. And getting in and out of a tuk tuk also requires some flexibility. So this means that people with significant mobility issues or disabilities may not be able to fully participate and enjoy our tours to the full. However, given enough notice and an outline of your requirements we can custom design a tour to suit your interests and your needs. And we can also provide an air-conditioned mini-van for an additional fee to provide a more comfortable and accessible mode of transport for getting around Vientiane.

How suitable is the food on the tours for vegetarians or people with special dietary requirements?

Most of our tours include either lunch or dinner and sometimes snacks. We try as best as possible to accommodate the needs of people with special dietary requirements. However it is important to acknowledge that Lao food often contains meat, fish or fish products, and it can be difficult to ensure that completely vegetarian dishes are available for each meal or food tasting. It can also be difficult providing gluten free meals, or guaranteeing nut free dishes. Please contact us well in advance and let us know of any dietary requirements that you have and we will do our best to meet your needs.