Entering waterfall pools in Laos/water quality + Weather related question
Replies: 9 - Last Post: Aug 1, 2013 1:59 AM Last Post By: skybluem
Jul 12, 2013 8:54 AM
Entering waterfall pools in Laos/water quality + Weather related questionHi again!
We are visiting Laos and Thailand this August and being excited about it!
I have a concern that has to do with health safety and waterfalls in Laos. I've been advised that it wouldn't be a good idea to enter or swim in lakes or waterfall ponds in Laos due to the danger of getting sick because of doubtful water quality. I have even been advised that in the hoteI I should use bottled water for teeth brushing! This is weird for me:-) I saw videos on the net and liked them as well as read several posts with experiences of people having fun in waterfall ponds in Laos and even in the river. Especially water in Kuang Si falls looks so clean and fresh. Is it really that dangerous to get infected or the people usually advising others about these matters are just hypochondriac? (knowing of course that hygiene standards in Laos are not the best in the world) ;-) maybe there are specific places that water is not good (?) I would just like to have your opinions. I'm not the greater swimmer in any case but I would love to enter the falls ponds.
My second question has to do with weather. I know that nobody can be a meteorologist but going to Laos in August during rainy season means entire days of non stop rain? I check from time to time the weather and i see that there are storms and usually rain possibility is around 40% per day. Should we be concerned of too much rain? I wish we get some good weather too. Anybody with August experience in Laos?
If anybody can enlighten us on any of the above would be appreciated. Thanks in advance!
Jul 12, 2013 10:53 AM
1Whoever advice you obviously never been to Luang Prabang's many waterfalls, and probably reading from script. I've taken few dips in the waterfall ponds during both low & high water level, and never experience any problem or attract any fresh water microorganisms.
Typical tropical rain, later afternoon heavy at time and 1-2 hours and sun/cloud.
Jul 12, 2013 11:29 AM
2I use bottled water, which is avalable most everywhere, for any non-boiled water going into my mouth. For me this includes tooth-brushing. There are some travellers who are less careful, but I'm a fan of tryuly - and reasonably - minimizing risk. Laos is not like India where fresh and waste waters are so readily mixed - but water systems are not in place to assure western standards for cleanliness.
Longer-term travellers build up good resistance to the "bugs" in the water (not withstanding the bugs that cause giardia or amoebic dysentary). Those travelling for 2-3 weeks only seem most susceptable to water-born stomach issues. I do think our bodies get used to many of the "bugs" over time, but I'd hate to derail a specially-planned 3 week adventure with one week of cramps and a case of the "muddy waters" because I chose to brush my teeth with tap water, which might be usually safe...
As for splashing in the rivers and waterfalls? - I've never gotten sick from such, but I also don't deliberately drink water I'm swimming or washing in. But I'm not neurotic about water splashing across my face.
Usually monsoon season yields daily, predictable rains with lots of non-rainy times. Usually. Bring a collapsable umbrella and flip-flops. The rain usually feels delicious as it cools the thick, humid air. Only be concerned if you are trying to get a long way on a dirt road/path or if you are dissolvable.
Jul 13, 2013 3:36 PM
3That sounds a little dated
Back 10 and 7 years ago I do know people who did get sick from brushing teeth and open mouth in shower - Luang Prabang - I believe significant water quailty improvements have been made - BUT DONT TEST it - using bottled water for brushing ones teeth sounds sensible if not sure.
I would not advice swimming in the Mekong, but if you do take a shower afterwards - waterfalls have already been covered above.
Jul 14, 2013 1:29 AM
4Should be OK swimming in the falls. Fresh rainwater heavily flowing, little chance of contamination. But I wouldn't do too many duck dives in the Mekong. Think of all those Chinese folk and their animals crapping in it upstream ;-)
Brushing teeth with bottled water seems a bit excessive, but agree if you're just here for a brief visit it pays to keep your belly happy. Just don't be paranoid like that gal from Sex and the CIty movie ;-)
Jul 16, 2013 9:37 AM
5I wouldn't get too concerned about it, the Mekong has very little industry along it and is relatively clean. Large rivers like that tend to clean themselves naturally, unless you are near a major population center and sewer outlets. Try not to swallow too much water though. There is supposedly a risk of schistosomiasis in the 1000 islands area though.
I've swam in the Mekong many times, and in the Ganja at Benares myself and never suffered any ill-effects.
Jul 17, 2013 1:11 AM
Jul 17, 2013 11:08 PM
Jul 28, 2013 2:20 AM
8I've swam at Kuang Si waterfalls in the dry season,, no problems.
I've been brushing my teeth with tap water here in Laos since 2003,, still of this Earth to tell the tale.
Aug 1, 2013 1:59 AM
9Thanks so much about the information provided!
I have read about schistosomiasis that is mainly in the southern parts of the country.
Hmmm... this is something to be concerned about.
Regarding weather I've seen on the news that it has been raining so bad these days that there were floods in Thailand. Is it really so bad? Anybody living in Laos can tells us if there is the same situation...
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