Prepare your trip

Health & Safety


The health situation in Laos remains precarious. Hospitals around the country are still missing a lot of ways. Better not get sick or have an accident, even though progress has been made in recent years ...
Another concern, equipment and drugs are often of low quality or questionable. A positive point though: most doctors speak French and have been properly trained - some very well - by the teachers of the Faculty of Medicine of Lyon. In terms of drugs, too, the French presence and the Franco-Lao friendship have enabled some pharmaceutical companies to open an office in Vientiane. Drugs produced by these labs are available and if one takes a little trouble to find them.


Rules to be observed
- Take a mandatory travel insurance that covers hospitalization, repatriation, etc. . When you know the precariousness of the country's hospitals, and the cost of 1 hour flight - about $ 1,200 - this insurance is really necessary ...
- Do not go to Laos if it is not healthy. In case of necessity, even for Benin problem, we quickly realize that we are all alone, especially if you are in the countryside.
- First aid kit basic: it should include bandages, skin disinfectant, paracetamol, anti-diarrhea, anti-vomiting, oral rehydration sachets and, optionally, a broad spectrum antibiotic, to be used after authorized. Review - General and Food Hygiene: all universal precautions are to be applied to the letter. Attention to traditional cuisine, delicious but very spicy. Be sure to wash your hands, scratches and other monitor, avoid walking barefoot too. Local mineral water bottle are safe.
- Last tip: even if you think you have an urgent problem, do not show that you are upset or in a hurry. In fact, Laos is a very quiet natural, and any conduct boosted would tend to paralyze completely.


Main problems
Remember that a fever in tropical heals primarily with tablets of paracetamol, except of course in the case of malaria.
- The Lao malaria is one of the toughest in the world. It is resistant to common antimalarial drugs.
Consult your doctor before departure.
An optimistic note, however: it is rare for tourists catch.
However, maximum precautions are required. Once the sun, wear clothing that covers the maximum body surface on parts remaining discoveries, use mosquito repellents plenty effective DEET 50%. It is advisable to reapply frequently. ITNs are the best protection with the impregnation of clothing. For some areas of Laos, only Doxycychne or Malarone are effective in prevention.
- Dengue (pronounced " crazy ") is transmitted by a specific species of mosquito that bites during the day. The symptoms are much the same as for malaria (fever, headache, muscle aches, severe fatigue and, as a bonus, sometimes a rash), with the difference that this disease is rarely fatal. Fortunately, because we do not know him yet, no cure. One more reason to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes ...
- Insect bites: in case of insect bites, use the ointment type Parfenac.

- The Sun: avoid walking bareheaded. Hat essential. In case of prolonged sun exposure, use a sunscreen with maximum exposure protection.
- Water: never drink unboiled water, except in the case of mineral water in a sealed bottle. Beware of ice outside major hotels and chic restaurants in Vientiane and Luang Prabang. Pills Micropur DCCNa ® water purification can be useful but are found everywhere mineral water, tea ... or beer in tourist areas. For extended stays or rural, a microbial filter (Katadyn or strong Pentapure) is highly recommended.
- Swimming: avoid in stagnant water or low flow, because of pest risk.
- Gastrointestinal problems: almost inevitable. Today, the treatment of a single turista adult based on a combination of an antibiotic and an intestinal transit retarder. In case of persistence, rehydrate frequently eat rice and drink rice water, tea or cola drinks, preferably without bubbles. It is also advised to take oral rehydration packets ... In any case, avoid spicy food and, of course, alcohol.
- Hepatitis: vaccines (A and B) are effective, but do not forget to make reminders. Begin vaccination more than 1 month before leaving.
- The rage is not uncommon in Laos. Be careful especially combinations of dogs at night, as well as bites of bats! If bitten (low risk), rinse immediately with plenty wound with soap. Then consult urgently recommended by the consular authorities or expats in the area to get inject vaccine or curative to repatriate emergency physician. For longer stays or rural, preventive rabies vaccination is strongly recommended.
- Japanese Encephalitis said raging in Laos permanently, especially in epidemics during the monsoon. This is a serious disease (third death, a third of neurological sequelae) . There since April 2009, well tolerated vaccine, recommended for expatriates, frequent travelers and tourists visiting for several weeks in Laos during the monsoon.
The vaccine takes 2 injections. Available in center of vaccinations in France.. is 88 € each dose !
- Scorpion stings are painful but not deadly, with very rare exceptions. In the case of injection, consult a doctor.
- Snake bites can be deadly, but the cases are rare because the snake is a timid animal. If bitten, avoid running, put a tight bandage around the wound and try to cool down. Do not suck. The venom often takes several hours to act and should therefore be to find a hospital as soon as possible!


Overall, Laos is a country without problems. In this regard, it has been a decade that there was no ethnic strife potentially dangerous for travelers to Laos. Before departure, we still recommend to check with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Embassy of France in Vientiane.
Typically, in everyday life, do not tempt fate. If you forget your wallet somewhere, it does not necessarily make you run for, but if you go look for it, we will reward you.
The usual precautions when traveling are to be understood here as elsewhere: close your hotel room before going out, do not leave your belongings, do not leave beyond your wallet, etc. . Laos are generally discrete, and is not bothered or asked for any reason whatsoever.
" Curfew "
Officially, they are measures against alcoholism youth , but Laos begin drinking at 17h instead of 19h ... Unofficially, there are several interpretations , political bias .
The restaurants are close to 23h or 23:30, while bars and nightclubs are allowed to midnight! A handful of institutions in the capital grow up around 1 or more. Suffice to say that the nights are calm, at least outwardly.

Fairly well maintained on major roads (along the Mekong), they are particularly bumpy elsewhere, and often unpaved when they sink in the countryside or in the forest. In the rainy season, it is the great adventure.
The real problems lie in the virtual absence of outside Vientiane medical and hospital infrastructure, and thus to potential accidents.

Tuk- tuk
You will often find malicious drivers. They will try to lead you into places where they get a commission or attempt to impose an exorbitant price. Be firm!

Swimming in the Mekong is not recommended, even if you are a good swimmer. The river is indeed unpredictable. That said, swimming is possible on some beaches of 4,000 islands, provided to go carefully. Similarly, in the Nam Khan River, Luang Prabang when the water is not very high, you can venture for example in areas where the kids have a habit of thought having fun.
We totally refrain from swimming in stagnant waters or rivers with little flow due to the risk of schistosomiasis.

Laos is one of the largest opium producer in the world. Indian hemp (marijuana or ganja) is widespread. It lies quietly in all markets. Sometimes it proposes to tourists. REFUSE!
The law severely punishes consumption and especially the possession of drugs to the death penalty in theory. On the other hand, while transporting drugs into Thailand and other countries in the region will cause very serious problems ... Finally, circulating on the territory of products of poor quality, or cut with toxic substances, which have resulted in the death by poisoning of a number of young travelers.

Prostitution is booming, but it reaches the proportions of Thailand. In most Lao boxes and in some bars beautiful night are indeed present.
What if it is addressed? In our opinion, it is better to abstain. On the one hand, it should not be that because of the behavior of some backpackers government could threaten the tourist opening. On the other hand, saw the spread of AIDS in Laos, it is clear, gentlemen, it is absolutely out cover. As for you, ladies, require the same precautions. Fortunately, the condom came gradually manners, at least in the cities.


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