Is it Legal to Buy Cannabis while Travelling in Laos?

Laos has become one of the most popular destinations to visit in South East Asia over the past decade. This incredibly beautiful country is packed with mountains, temples, wildlife, and genuinely friendly locals. The landlocked country is home to over 7 million people.

However, not everybody visits Laos to observe these incredible mountainous landscapes or their ancient cultural attractions. Laos has become a backpacker’s paradise. The party scene, especially in well known towns like Vang Vieng, is famous around the globe. The town has everything a backpacker would want. Cheap hotel rooms, amazing scenery, hot air ballooning, caving, mopeds and dune buggies for rent, good bars and clubs, tubing, and inexpensive pot. Although towns like Vang Vieng in Laos have pot readily available, is it legal many people wonder?

Is it Safe to Buy Cannabis in Laos?

If you have traveled through Laos, you have probably come across a “happy menu”. These can be found in certain bars around the country that advertise what drugs they have for sale. You might be extremely surprised by what you find on these menus. Things like Opium, magic mushrooms, and marijuana are common. Stronger drugs like “Yaba” (low quality methamphetamine) is often described as the poison of SouthEast Asia and it is available at times on some ‘’happy menus’’.

Holidaymakers often get slightly confused about whether or not cannabis is legal or illegal in Laos due to these ‘’happy menus’’. Although it is a similar system to a coffee shop in Amsterdam, you get handed a menu, you order what you like and the employee will hand it to you, you might even be given a receipt, but is it legal? For the consumer, it might seem above board, but unfortunately for them, they are in fact breaking the law.

Laos is a very poor country. Although the rise in tourism has helped, economically it is still a long way behind in comparison to some of the countries it shares a border with, especially Thailand, China and Vietnam. Many restaurant owners and employees take a huge risk by selling illegal substances.

What Happens if you Get Caught with Cannabis in Laos?

Tourists get caught smoking or in the possession of marijuana on a regular basis in Laos, especially in popular tourist areas. The police officers normally demand payment of around $500 USD and may take your passport until the payment has been completed.

If you find yourself in this position, remain calm. You have broken the law, and the police in the country are only doing their job. Most people in Laos are calm and relaxed, and they do not like confrontation. Avoid getting angry and don’t raise your voice. If you have any hope of getting a discount you will need to remain calm, show respect and try to smile. You won’t be the first to get caught and you certainly won’t be the last.

If you get caught with harder drugs, like “Yaba” you might find yourself in bigger trouble, especially if you have a large amount. Although it is rare, foreigners do get put in jails throughout the country. If you do get caught with illegal substances and you look to be facing time in prison, speak with your embassy immediately. If your country does not have an embassy in Laos, find out if there is a consulate or another embassy that helps out citizens from your country.

What Type of Marijuana would you expect to Purchase in Laos?

Laos has a hot, dry climate which is the perfect condition for Sativa plants to grow in. These long, tall plants can grow up to 20-feet tall which can cause difficulties for those growing indoors, however it grows perfectly during the dry season in Laos. Sativa plants sometimes struggle during the rainy season, due to tropical storms, heavy rainfall, and strong winds.

Cannabis grown with a Sativa strain can make you feel alert, and it can help inspire creativity. Most people like to use the strain during the day as it can help them to stay active. Strong Indica strains, like Twd. Indica Strain is ideal for smoking at nighttime as it helps you feel relaxed and can help people sleep better.

Although the quality of the cannabis grown in Laos might not have the highest THC content, most users really enjoy the effect it gives them. Over the last few years, many people have started to grow indoors, so it is possible to find high quality Sativa and Indica strains. The price of locally grown cannabis is cheap. You can purchase about 15 grams for only $10. Many bars sell pre-rolled joints too.

What are ‘Happy Shakes’ and ‘Happy Pizzas’?

Although there are not as many bars as there once used to in Laos that sell cannabis products, you can still find a few dotted around the country. On their ‘happy menus’ you will probably come across ‘happy shakes’ and ‘happy pizzas’. These are normally tasty fruit shakes or homemade pizzas laced with cannabis or magic mushrooms.

If you don’t like smoking cannabis these edibles are a perfect alternative. The prices vary from bar to bar, and it is recommended that you eat or drink it before you leave the bar. Most bar owners don’t like their customers walking around the streets with ‘weed shakes’ or ‘happy pizzas’.

What do People Like to do while they are Stoned in Laos?

Laos is a very relaxing country. If you want to take a break from the rat race, Laos is the place to go. As soon as you enter the country you will feel less stressed. The warmth of the people, the laid back atmosphere, and the stunning countryside are just a few of the reasons why time goes by slowly here. Here are a few ideas for places to get stoned while in Laos:

    • Tubing: Tourists flock from all over the globe to go tubing in Vang Vieng. They rent out an inner tube from the center of the town, hop in a tuk-tuk upstream and float down the river. On the banks of the Nam Xong river, there are dramatic, limestone mountains and bars with the music pumping. Many people like to get stoned while tubing but you must be extremely careful. During the rainy season, the river is often very strong and it can be very difficult to swim in.
    • Hammock: There are areas with hammocks all around Laos. Grab yourself a book, a cocktail and a fat joint and relax for the day while watching the world slowly go by.
    • Hot Air Ballooning: If you want to be higher than anyone else in the country, you might as well get stoned before you go hot air ballooning. Not only is Laos one of the most scenic places in Asia to go hot air ballooning, but it is also very cheap. You can fly amongst the clouds for just over $100 USD!

If you buy weed in Laos, understand that you are breaking the law. If you want to consume cannabis, make sure you do it in a safe environment. Using marijuana in your guesthouse is normally the safest option. Some locals find smoking marijuana in public disrespectful, so have your wits about you.


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