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Luang Prabang

Health & safety

Dangers & annoyances

During the late dry season – roughly from February to May – the air over Luang Prabang can become very smoky due to slash-and-burn agriculture in the hills and mountains around the city. It becomes so bad in March and April that even local residents will complain of red, watery eyes and breathing difficulties. Landscape photography is hopeless, except on the rare day when a strong breeze flushes out the smoke from the valley. With the arrival of rain in late May or June, the air clears and generally stays that way until the following year. One hopes the authorities will get a handle on the situation before all the surrounding forests are gone, and extensive erosion and flooding result.

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While you're there

Medical services

Visitors with serious injuries or illnesses are almost always flown to Vientiane for emergency transit to hospitals in northeastern Thailand, or put on direct flights to Chiang Mai or Bangkok. There are some services in the area:

Boua Phanh Pharmacie (252252; Th Sakkarin) One of the better pharmacies in town.

Chinese Hospital (254026; Ban Phu Mok) Modern medical equipment and supplies, but sometimes short of trained personnel.

Provincial Hospital (252049, 212123; Th Setthathirat) Neither this hospital nor the Chinese hospital receive high marks from foreign medical observers.

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