Travelling within Laos can be a dangerous undertaking. Crime; a volatile political situation; poor road conditions and a very relaxed attitude towards health and safety combine to significantly increase the risk of sustaining personal injuries when visiting this country.
Theft, drug abuse and drug-related rape are common in Laos. Visitors have been known to be assaulted after being given drug-laced food and/or have their drinks spiked. Tourists should never leave their belongings unattended; be wary about accepting drinks from strangers and be extremely careful when attending parties or visiting restaurants, clubs or bars.
Certain political disputes or events could trigger violent protests. Avoid sustaining accidental injuries by avoiding large gatherings of locals or demonstrations. Keeping informed of local events and developments is equally important, as is being aware of the dangers of unexploded ordinance and mines. Often unmarked, mined areas are particularly likely to be found in:
- Luang Prabang Province
- Xieng Khouang (Plain of Jars) Province
- Some areas of the former Ho Chi Minh Trail (Lao-Vietnamese border)
Visitors should refrain from picking up metal objects and never stray off designated main routes, especially within rural areas.
Near the Laos-Burma border, a renowned route for the drugs trade, armed groups are likely to operate. Visitors travelling for any purpose likely to be regarded as unusual, any kind of scientific research, extensive photography and even business, should obtain permissions from:
- Village chiefs
- Provincial governors
- District heads and/or the
- National tourism authority
Police may stop visitors and ask for identification. It is important to always comply with these requests.
Laos roads are in fairly poor condition. The risk of getting involved in a road traffic accident is increased by livestock straying onto roads and, during the night, by vehicles without lights. The rate of traffic accidents and subsequent fatalities has significantly risen over the last few years. Motoring accidents here are most likely to result from traffic rule violations, reckless driving and drink-driving. Extreme care is recommended.
Water-based travel and activities
Water-based activities and travelling by boat on the Mekong River are invariably dangerous, particularly when water levels drop. Poor health & safety expectations and lack of warning signs or safety advice are responsible for many serious injuries and drowning incidents. Make sure such unfortunate incidents are covered by your travel insurance.
If you are hurt in a vehicle collision, other accidents in Laos or criminal activities because your tour operator did not take sufficient steps to protect you, you could qualify for personal injury compensation. Enlist the help of Accident Advice Helpline to get the compensation you deserve. Call us today on Freephone number 0800 689 0500, for more information.
Date Published: July 22, 2015
Author: Accident Advice