Laos and safety
Replies: 12 - Last Post: Dec 13, 2012 9:53 PM Last Post By: pendeta
Dec 1, 2012 7:48 PM
Laos and safetyHey all
Just wanted to make sure it's safe at the moment to travel in Laos. I know there's always been the risk of some guerilla warfare/activity in the region due to border disputes etc, and just trying to decide whether we are going to risk going if there is any real risk.
Any comments/advice will be greatly appreciated.
Dec 1, 2012 10:40 PM
Dec 1, 2012 11:12 PM
3Laos is the only country in the region that doesn't have a border dispute. Maybe you mean gorillas?
Dec 2, 2012 1:16 AM
4It is perfectly safe here; much safer than in Thailand for example.
Dec 2, 2012 1:49 AM
Dec 2, 2012 1:51 AM
Dec 2, 2012 4:32 AM
Dec 2, 2012 5:40 AM
8Laos is politically very stable. There was an insurgency in a mountainous part of the interior of the country which only ended fairly recently; but it's over. You're probably best off avoiding that region of the country (which the vast majority of visitors to Laos do), and it won't affect your trip at all.
There are no border disputes, at least that I'm aware of. The border with Burma (Myanmar) is a bit lawless and a lot of drugs get smuggled through it. Many tourists visit towns close to the Burmese border without any problems, but if it worries you, there are plenty of other parts of the country to visit. Overall, Laos is a very safe part of the world to travel in.
Dec 2, 2012 4:43 PM
Dec 2, 2012 5:14 PM
10Fairly responsible of you to ask Mick, bearing in mind I haven't been to Laos in 3 years come March, but I do follow issues there and talk to people in the country regularly.
I never did hear if they'd agreed on the actual border in Xaybouli, but I don't think it was ever an issue of strong contention with the central governments themselves in recent times. In any case that is located far from any area visited by foreigners where the Thai/Lao border is a land border of mountains.
The internal "problems" with Hmong ethnics has been very quiet for quite some time. There is an area that is still closed to outsiders that used to be called the xaysomboun special zone which the exile groups claim there is still an ongoing conflict as of a couple years ago but there has been no independent news from journalists etc. It would be impossible to wander into this area by mistake.
There was also a dispute amongst Chinese casinos (or other nefarious activities you guess) along the Mekong between Laos and Burma. But again this is an area almost never traveled by outsiders. I heard from a friend last week who said fast boats from Xiengkok and freighters from China are again using that piece of river so I'd guess it's no more unsettled than ever.
Someone upthread said safer than Thailand and that is probably the case, and also a case of damming with faint praise. As in Thailand I'd say avoiding quiet places at night and over friendly strangers with scams is the only safety issue I'd be careful of.
If you google any time using "Xaysomboun" you would be aware of any changes to the current quiet situation that's been the norm for a few years.
Dec 2, 2012 5:45 PM
Dec 13, 2012 9:53 PM
12I went to the Champasak for 2 weeks last mont, mostly in the Bolaven Plateau. Very peaceful and the people were super nice. I was confident to walk alone the streets of Pakse at midnight, and the town was almost dead after 9pm. The only people you should be wary of are tuktuk drivers. Always ask for discount, start by asking half of the first figure they quote.
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