Before travelling to Laos, or indeed any destination, it is good practise to check the travel advice pages of your own government’s website for up to the minute advice on travel and especially for specific threats to your safety based on your nationality, gender, race, religion or sexual persuasion.

It is important to carry your passport upon your person at all times. Checks by the authorities are common and Inability to show identification will result in a hefty fine.

Terrorism risks in Laos are low, with no domestically organised attacks.

Earthquakes are uncommon in Laos and occur largely along the borders with Myanmar, Thailand and China, usually of low magnitude, though the potential for a major event does exist. Flooding his periodically problem, particularly along the Mekong River during the monsoon from May to November. 

Unexploded mines dating back to the Vietnam War era are still a serious problem away from regular trails.

Tourist crime is unfortunately fairly common in Laos and consists primarily of theft of portable technology, handbags and luggage, purses, wallets and passports especially at busy tourist sites and markets. However there have also been a few violent muggings. To further compound the issue, police investigation of these crimes is often unsatisfactory.

Special attention is required with drinks, which should never be left unattended, as several instances of drugging foreigners as a prelude to robbery and rape have occurred. For the same reason, drinks offered by strangers should be regarded with suspicion and not accepted. In Vang Vieng, visitors should be particularly wary of ‘happy’ or ‘special’ meals, which are offered to the many backpackers drawn to the area, which contain unspecified drugs.

From the legal standpoint, drug use and trafficking are very serious offences, for which penalties are severe, and include the use of the death penalty.

Be careful where you point your camera. Never photograph the police, military personnel and installations, or demonstrations, which you should in any case avoid and particularly never participate.

When engaging in adventure pursuits, always use the services of a proper tour company, such as ourselves. Serious injuries and even death are commonplace among the unregulated operators providing these activities.

Visitors to Laos should be aware that it is illegal for a foreigner to have sexual relations with a Laotian citizen.

Homosexuality is legal in Laos, but it is nevertheless recommended to be very discreet and respectful of local traditional views for your own security.