Laos Travel Warning
On national road 13, between kilometer 220 near Kasi and kilometer 270 near Phu Khun (also: Phoukhoun), there have been several nighttime attacks on vehicles with the use of firearms.
At the end of March 2016 there was another attack on a coach on national road 4 near Kasi, using firearms. In the incident, several bus occupants were injured and one person was killed in a pickup truck driving behind the bus. In early March, five bus passengers were injured in a robbery.
It is strongly advised not to take a car or bus ride between Luang Prabang and Vang Vieng when it is dark.
Firearms and explosives have also been used several times in Xaysomboun Province since the end of November 2015. Therefore, there is currently a curfew between 7:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. in parts of Xaysomboun, Borikhamsay and Xiengkhouang, which must be strictly observed. Travel to Xaysomboun that is not absolutely necessary should be avoided until further notice.
Country-specific safety information
Small crime in Laos is increasing significantly. In the cities of Vientiane, Luang Prabang and Vang Vieng, which are heavily frequented by tourists, there are more and more attacks, handbags and moped thefts, including the use of force.
The rise in crime is closely related to the rise in drug abuse in Laos, a country located in Asia according to zipcodesexplorer.
In view of the motorcycle or moped rentals available in many places, it is not advisable to leave the passport regularly required by the landlord as security there. In the event of any damage to the rental motorcycle or theft, it is usually only possible to recover the passport after paying an arbitrarily set amount.
It happens again and again that rented motorbikes and bicycles are stolen and then the renter is asked to pay for a new motorbike or bicycle, if this is part of the rental agreement.
The number of (fatal) drug abuse incidents in Laos is currently increasing. There is a risk of serious health damage when consuming food and beverages that have been mixed with drugs. Acquisition, possession, distribution, consumption as well as import and export of drugs are also armed with severe penalties (see special criminal law provisions). Travelers are strongly advised to avoid any contact with drugs.
The police in Vientiane have set up a 24-hour hotline to report traffic accidents or crimes: +856 21 21 27 03.
Travel over land
Individual travelers expose themselves to incalculable risks the moment they leave paved roads or paths without a local Laotian guide. In the eastern parts of the country in particular, countless unexploded explosive devices from the 2nd Indochina War (UXO) are still being stored. Against the background that tourists have repeatedly got lost and could only be rescued with extensive rescue operations, going it alone, e.g. B. in national parks, discouraged.
Serious injuries or illnesses outside of the few urban centers (and even there often with considerable restrictions) cannot be adequately cared for (see also medical information).
Road and air traffic as well as traffic on waterways
Many roads are in poor condition. Especially in the rainy season, it often happens that entire stretches of road, especially in rural areas, are flooded or washed away and are hardly or not at all passable.
In addition, road traffic harbors special risks due to the behavior of road users and the condition of many vehicles (not least the intercity buses). Drivers who are under the influence of alcohol contribute to the high traffic risk, especially in the evenings and on public holidays. The accident rate (including death) is high. Users of motorized two-wheelers must wear a protective helmet. If a foreigner is involved in an accident, their passport is usually withdrawn and, regardless of the question of guilt, payment of the (entire) damage and, if necessary, compensation for pain and suffering is required.
Travelers who go on tours with locally based tour operators are advised to clarify the question of liability in the event of property damage or personal injury in advance, as it can be difficult or even impossible to claim compensation from the operator in obviously justified cases.
The safety standard of air traffic has improved significantly with the use of new aircraft from Lao Airlines for the most important domestic routes.
The connections to the remote provinces remain problematic because of the often bad weather and the lack of technical equipment at the airports there. These routes should be avoided, especially in the rainy season (from May to September). On October 16, 2013, a Lao Airlines scheduled plane on its way from Vientiane to Pakse in the south of the country crashed in stormy weather shortly before landing in the Mekong. All 49 people on board died. Flights can be canceled at short notice if not enough passengers are flying.
The speed boats are often involved in accidents, sometimes with fatal results. Since normal boats (so-called “slow boats”) also operate on almost all routes, the use of speedboats should be avoided.