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An update from Evaneos

Security in Laos, a safe country

Although dishonest people are found the world over, it's still a rare occurance in this secure and peaceful country. If you follow the basic guidelines you'll be sure to have a trouble-free trip to Laos.

Potential dangers

Laos is, without a doubt, one of the safest countries in Asia. Unlike neighbouring Thailand, Vietnam, China and Cambodia, Laos is a newcomer to the world of tourism. The country is authentic and unblemished, meaning that petty crime is not considered an issue.

Attacks and pickpocketing are rare occurences. You do find petty thieves working the public transport system or markets, but it's still rare.

Indeed the only annoying thing you're likely to encounter during your trip to Laos are prices being hiked because you're a tourist. If you don't pay attention you could find yourself being charged between 5 and 10 times more than local customers.

A word about drugs. Laos is one of the world's biggest opium producers. Towns like Vang Vieng are well known for attracting thousands of tourists who go there in search of a high. Believe it or not, restaurants will often offer magic mushrooms, opium or even heroin alongside their menu! Don't be suckered into thinking that everything goes in this town. Possession, use and the sale of drugs will result in a £500 cash fine and that's only if the police are feeling generous. If you're caught by a policeman who can't be paid off, you could even risk the death penalty.

This drink has some bite

How to stay out of trouble

Just because Laos is a safe country, it doesn't mean you shouldn't watch how you behave. Don't show of any signs of wealth and don't be the naive tourist who wanders around with wads of money in their hand and a camera hanging from their neck.

In the unlikely event that you are robbed, don't resist and try to remain as calm as possible. Don't put all your money in the same place; keep a small sum in an accessible pocket, as it may be enough to appease any thief.

To avoid being ripped off, check out costs in advance and always stick to your guns when negotiating a price.

And as for drugs... there's only one piece of advice. Don't let yourself be tempted particularly if you're in Vang Vieng.

David Debrincat
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