Laos has its own traditional greeting called ‘Nob’. Where hands are placed along as if in prayer and kept before the torso or face. The individual who is socially poor or younger ought to be the first to bow, but it is known as polite for the old/socially superior person to reply quickly. There are numerous levels for showing respect to the individual in greeting with ‘Nob’. The higher the hands are placed and the lower the bow, the higher the degree of admiration. During ‘Nob’, one should laugh and say ‘hello’ alongside one another.

“Sa Bai Dee” is a term used as Howdy. Its general so this means is ‘How are you’ and ‘I am doing good’ or ‘I’m fine’. It’s quite common in Laos to ask, “Have you ingested yet?” after greeting. When person ask this question, he/she does not normally purpose for the response but to show care. This explains to the significance, not unlike many ethnicities, of offering and accepting hospitality whenever you can.

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Nation Pride

The Lao are truly happy being Lao. However, they could not notice themselves. Based on the Buddhist Precept, ‘Things are as they are and should be’. The Lao accept who and what these are. As well as the Lao are pleased in their long and well-established traditions. They like when foreigner shows involvement in their culture.

Never mind

Laos is a deeply hypersensitive culture. They care for other people feeling. Word expressions catch the essence of a culture. One should always keep this at heart before making a solid comment or taking immediate action. Lao has a lot of expressions include the word ‘Chai’ or ‘heart’

Two frequently used Lao expressions are ‘Bo Penh Nyang’ and ‘Tham Ma Dha’. Both of these words have various interpretation according to the context. However, all meanings derive from a Buddhist point of view of popularity of the prevailing situation.

Bo Penh Nyang straight means ‘No problem’. It also has other meanings as ‘never brain’ or ‘are you all right?’. In some circumstance, Bo Penh Nyang can use for express as ‘I forgive and ignore your action. ‘; this is generally used when someone do something amiss.

Tham Ma Dha is the word from Buddhist thinking, means ‘everything goes on it way’. In everyday living situation, it means ‘average’, ‘the norm’ or ‘proceeding as typical. ‘

Religious Culture

Similar to other countries in South-East Asia, Lao culture is affected by Buddhist thinking. This translates to a very patient and accepting frame of mind. People want to go on to tranquility and prosperity rather than dwell on days gone by. Things are because they are and really should be and change comes slowly and gradually.

Body conduct

In Laos, as generally in most Buddhist cultures, brain is considered the most precious area of the body as it’s the middle of the nature. In the same way, the feet will be the least sacred part of the body. There are numerous manners and aspects that are related to body do. It is necessary to remember this carry out whenever in Laos.


In big city and metropolitan area, Lao dress the modern cloths just as as the american do. However, short and revealing clothes aren’t appropriate in Lao culture.

Losing face

To lose face, or to cause another to lose face, is serious. Getting rid of face can make Lao people very delicate. They are afraid of being insulted. Any form of confrontation for success and loser must be avoided.

Do and Don’t

Do not offer a kiss in greeting!

The Laos expression for hello is “Sa Bai Dee”, usually said with a look. Hand shaking in public is not common. Unless you learn how to greet in Lao’s custom way, it is better to bow a little bit and say hello. Coming in contact with or showing devotion in public will embarrass Lao. Greeting with passion of individuals with same gender is not generally accepted.

Do avoid showing affection

Kissing and hugging and palm holding in public is impolite. Handholding in public areas should be prevented, even for foreigner few. Men and girl should not touch or have public love. Please be discrete and show respect to Lao culture.

Be clean and cool in appearance whenever you can.

Lao people appreciate clean and nicely dressed site visitors. Do dress modestly when coming into temples, museums, standard buildings and federal offices; no shorts or sleeveless t-shirts, fish tank tops or beach wear. Appropriate dress and behavior when going into places are essential. Lao people are also delicate with odor. Individuals who have strong body stench should wear perfume however, strong perfume is not liked.

Do take your head wear and shoes off before you type in temple or Laos’s home

Lao people make an effort to keep their places clean. Taking hat and shoes off also are showing value to the places. Lao appreciate and expect foreigner to do the same.

Do not touch anyone on the head.

As mind is the most sacred area of the Lao’s body, coming in contact with head is considered as very impolite behavior.

Do understand that ft is low

Do not point your toes towards people or Buddha images. Making use of your feet for anything other than walking or playing sport is generally considered rude. Sitting with hip and legs crossed should be avoided, otherwise, directing feet at something or someone. When sitting in a temple, keep hip and legs together and the side in a mermaid position.

Do carefully crouch down when transferring somebody who is seated

It is polite to lightly crouches one’s back down when passing someone who is seated. Never, ever step over someone in your way.

Do not shout or raise your voice

Lao people speak softly and avoid confrontation. Speaking or shouting in loud words may frighten them.

Don’t lose your temper in public.

Speaking loudly and angrily is often counterproductive. It also consider as uneducated or uncivilized person. Individuals who lose their temper in public might be searched down on from other people.

Do require the permission first before you have a photo of someone

It is way better to require permission, especially in villages outside the cities where in fact the people may have superstitions against being photographed.

Do not ‘Bathing’ nude or ‘Semi-nude’ in public areas.

A whole lot of travelers bath in the river and waterfall nude or wear bikini. Lao people do not appreciate that patterns as it is distinction to their culture and spiritual.

Do show esteem to the temple, monk and religious related things.

Foreigner should show admiration and dress neatly while in temples so when taking photos surrounding the temple areas. You will find many other sacred items and sites in Laos. do not touch these things or enter in places without permission.

Do avoid regarding with illegal stuff

The use of drugs is against the law in Laos. The government is seriously interested in this. The unlawful sale of animals and wildlife products should be avoided. Buying classic Buddha, sacred items and other old artifacts are prohibited. They are not allowed to be studied out of Laos. You might have problem when leaving Laos

Sex travel and leisure is unlawful in Lao

Sex tourism is unlawful in Lao and child-sex travel and leisure is a significant crime. Moreover The Lao federal prohibits any intimate contact or human relationships between Lao nationals and foreigners, unless committed under Lao law; penalties may entail heavy fines or imprisonment

It is importance to remember how showing esteem. When in Laos, try to do as the Laos. Do please remember about body conduct, dress, and general public affection and spiritual manner.

Business Value

Lao’s entrepreneurial habit is culturally affected by values, beliefs, and disbeliefs. Religion, the caste system, and the family system affected the introduction of entrepreneurship. As Lao is a devoutly Buddhist country, it is important to value the national faith when executing business in Lao.

Business Value

Business culture in Laos is considerably not the same as westerner’s business culture. The expressions of each of the worthiness emphases detailed in the following Table. 1 for just one culture are available.

Table. 1 Business value emphasis contrast between Lao and Westerners.

Source: Laoletter (2008). Lao Business Culture blog.


Businesses tend to be predicated on personal relations developed within cultural circles. In Lao culture, work and cultural affairs are woven mutually in a smooth pattern. Because the emphasis positioned on personal interactions is high, having a trusted and well-connected local agent or consultant is essential to the success of a overseas venture.

Lao would like for accepted, respected and credible relationships. Relationships progress gradually in Laos with the step-by-step approach. Asking your lover about family, traditions, culture help you realize your lover better and also build the partnership.

View of Time


Do like the locals and keep your sense of the time flexible. Anticipating punctuality will most likely lead to annoyance. However, punctuality from foreign spouse is appreciated

Business Hours

Official working hours are from 8:00 a. m. to 12:00 p. m. and from 1:00 p. m. to 4:00 p. m. from Mon to Fri. In factories and private companies work hours are extended until 5:00 p. m. , and work times can be extended to six times.



In business, Lao are usually greet with a traditional greeting ‘nob’. However, nowadays, handshake is now increasingly common through the do of business but only for folks with same gender. Men and women should avoid open public displays of devotion.


Lao people should be attended to by their first names, preceded by their name ‘Mr//Ms//Madame’ or ‘Than’ (in Lao).


For men, clothing such as top and trousers work for conferences. Lightweight suits, tie up should be worn, especially in special event.

Women usually wear long skirts and blouse or sleeveless tops. It’s different to see bare Lao skin above the elbow. Short dresses and bare bosoms and navels is not befitting business dress

The Lao pay great attention to personal cleanliness and lack of odour. Westerners who’ve strong body odour should wear gentle perfumes.


Official terms is Lao. However, English and Fresh are generally found in Business. Understanding of French pays to because People from france is more generally spoken and grasped than English, though translators are available

Business cards

When doing business in Lao, take tons of business cards. Business credit cards should be translated into Lao and printed out up locally. A common practice is to have English version on one area and Lao version on the reverse.

Business credit cards should be given and received using both hands as an indicator of admiration to the individual you are coping with. The example of the way in which to hold business card during exchange is shown in Body XX. Exchanging business credit card with one palm also satisfactory, but only exchanging with right hand where left side lightly cover around lower arm. When acquiring another person’s credit card, always review the greeting card for a few seconds in their details for name and position. Never stick it immediately into the pocket or wallet as it is impolite.

At meetings, other people’s business credit cards should be set up up for grabs. It is a sign of value and helps them keep track of names. Do not play with your Lao colleague’s business credit card since this is disrespectful. Business credit card should be cared for with respect in same amount of respect as you would show the person him or herself.


It is not required to give the gift when meeting business partner but giving gift shows account to other people and good marriage. Surprise can be anything especially, things with your country’s content such as stamp or coin sets, calendars, pens or pins is a large hit. You can provide one for everyone in the party greeting you. At least be sure there is certainly one for the variety or person in the best rank. Gifts are given in the order of people’s importance. Wrapped products will not be opened until everyone has departed. If you have a surprise that requires explanation, present it undraped and that means you can explain

Shoes and socks make improper gift items in Laos as the foot is minimal sacred area of the body. Green and red are the most suitable colors for wrapping paper in Laos. Avoid the colour white, which is known as unlucky.

Business Protocol


Negotiations in the Lao framework can be a grinding, slow process. It really is highly unstructured and unstable. Lao contracts are brief, written in simple language, and focus on principles while western contract is obtuse and legalistic. Marriage is important than the conditions and conditions of a particular deal. They view the contract as the starting point of relationship and be able to changes later. The agreement may become meaningless if the circumstances change. Good romance with your associates can help you in negotiation. If you must break off discussions, accomplish that carefully. Usually do not close the door on future cooperation. Seeking legal counsel is open public admission that the relationship has failed.


Meeting in Lao is not well-conducted. Those that attend aren’t expected to contribute or listen carefully. People use meetings as opportunities to have a break from their normal work with the speaker at the front of the room drones on, without pausing for dialogue. Some conferences also considered as opportunities to show group harmony, take a group photo or have a sociable occasion soon after.

The highest rank person in the group should lead the way in, and be the spokesperson. Usually do not make the mistake of shaking hands with the interpreter first. There is normally business card exchange before the assembly start.

Meetings always begin with casual chit-chat over coffee and/or tea. Drink the tea that is dished up before launching in to main topic. A great deal of discussion occurs before the key issue of the assembly has been lifted. The variety will initiate serious talk, and then leave time so that you can say a few words in response.

Be alert for alerts that the reaching should end. The signs include requesting if you want more tea, starting to amount things up, thanking you for approaching, and leading you to the door.


If Lao has invited one to a dinner it is important to come back the favour. Informal occasions such as this are very helpful in terms of creating the relationship. Whenever one accept dining invitation, it’s important to number next food.

If the food take place at Lao’s house, be sure you take shoes off before type in the house. Visitor should not take couch until sponsor invites to stay. For eating at restaurant, do not ask to share the costs if have dining at restaurant if they propose to pay for you. Instead, accept the invitation and then host the next meals.



It is better to acquire everything translated to Lao. Written documents should be in both Lao and the spanish. The simplest way is to have a two column in a single page so the Lao audience can easily mix horizontally from the Lao content material to the spanish to clarify or confirm a meaning in Lao. Rather than write in red printer ink. It really is negative and can displease the recipient.

Context and Style

Lao culture pays off more attention to the discussion process itself. Things are not always what they seem. Body languages are very reserved. You will find little eyeball contact and few expressive gestures. Lao has indirect communication style. Rather than confront a person with a concern or disagreement, Lao people will most likely approach a difficulty indirectly through reward, compliments or by moving to some other subject.

Never ever take yes for an answer. Lao normally say “yes” to point that the message has been observed and comprehended. “Yes” means ‘maybe’ or ‘perhaps’ or ‘no’. “Maybe” means ‘yes, ‘ ‘no’, or just ‘maybe’. There is absolutely no ‘no’.

Bad media is often presented bit by bit to “soften the blow. ” Await the “and. . . . , ” which generally is when the entire picture is exposed.

Harmony and Conflict

Harmony and preventing the appearance of conflict in human relationships are highly valued in Lao society. Lao have developed quite effective non-confrontational means of communicating disagreement. People are more likely to succeed if avoid anger, confrontation or verbal criticisms which have a tendency to polarize situations and can result in loss of face. They make an effort to seek an elegant resolution, a subtle means of avoiding discord, and a win-win solution. It really is Lao style to uncover little about one’s intentions, goals and needs revelation is perceived as weakness or sacrificing advantage.

In order to improve communication with Lao business partner, first thing to keep in mind is Keep it simple, boil the message down to its simplest form. British or People from france or other not mother language, they might be able to speak but it does not mean that the complete message is correctly understand. Remember to Re-confirm everything when having talk with Lao. Ask what you realize in the chat is right. Silence is polite. Silence and pause during the conversation in common in Lao. Another important thing in communication says Apologize, when necessary, in case you havent done anything wrong. Lao will apologize because an unlucky incident has occurred. And the previous advise for communication but most reliable Learn to speak Lao.