Security and health
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's Smartraveller site provides advice for business travellers and tourists going to Laos. This is regularly updated, and should be checked before planning travel.
It is strongly recommended that Australian travellers take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, before their departure. They should confirm that their insurance covers them for the whole time they will be away and check what circumstances and activities are / are not included in their policy.
It is also recommended that Australian travellers consult Smartraveller to provide greater protection in case of an emergency.
Travel in parts of remote Laos may be dangerous and travellers should be particularly alert to ongoing security concerns related to ethnic conflict and banditry in certain rural areas. There has also been a slow increase in thefts and assaults, including some robberies targeting foreigners.
Before you visit it is strongly advised that you contact the Australian Embassy in Vientiane to register your presence and receive updated reports regarding security.
Travel insurance is strongly recommended due to the basic medical services available in Vientiane. The Australian Embassy Clinic (located in the Australian Embassy, Thadeua Road, Kilometre 4) is open on a fee-paying basis during office hours. The phone number for the clinic is +856 21 353 840. Australian Citizens travelling in Laos are urged to prepare contingency plans should they require medical services out of hours and once again are strongly encouraged to have travel insurance.
There are many tropical diseases, endemic parasites, worms and viruses common in Laos. Immunisation and/or boosters against typhoid, tetanus, tuberculosis, hepatitis A and B and polio are strongly recommended. Vaccination against Japanese B encephalitis and rabies is also advised for long-term visitors.
Drink only bottled or boiled water.
Please note that facilities in Laotian hospitals are basic. For complex cases, evacuation to a hospital in neighbouring Thailand is recommended, specifically in the cities of Udon Thani, Chiang Mai and Bangkok.