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Updated by Joanna James on Jul 13, 2023
Headline for Important safety tips to know before travelling to Laos – Ensuring Yourself a Good Time
Joanna James Joanna James
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Important safety tips to know before travelling to Laos – Ensuring Yourself a Good Time

Laos is generally a great region to travel to. Here there are some fantastic sights you can visit and some memorable adventures for you to experience. Still, it's always good practice to have an idea of what to expect when you travel somewhere and some general safety tips – here's five for Laos.


Respect the Monks

In Lao culture, monks are to be related with the utmost respect. They are seen as sacred members of society and as such, you are expected to behave in a certain way when around them. Most notably, it is considered to be extremely rude to touch either a monk or an initiate. This is especially true for women, so do remember to keep your hands to yourself. Similarly, if you need to give something to a monk, be sure to hand it over respectfully – normally with a slight bow of the head. Once again, it is considered to be taboo for women to hand over items directly – so it's best to do so through a male intermediary. The exception to all this is giving alms to monks in the morning. You can simply place your offering directly in the monk's bowl.


Get a Guide

There's a lot of trekking that you can get done in Laos. This is particularly true if you're staying at a hotel Luang Prabang has to offer – say, for example, the Avani+ Luang Prabang. Now, Laos itself is a relatively safe destination for exploration. Here the crime rate is quite low, especially when compared to its neighbours. That being said, certain unforeseen dangers are lurking about the region. For example, there were a number of explosives that got dumped in Laos during the 1960s and 1970s. Every year, some of these are discovered unintentionally and end up injuring people. As such, it is best to always have a guide with you when exploring the countryside.


Don't Argue with Law Enforcement

There's always the chance that you might get pulled over by the police for some minor offence or potential mix-up. If you do end up in such circumstances, it is advisable not to start an argument with the local law enforcement. The reality is that the police force is Laos is relatively underpaid, and individual members of the force may attempt to make up for this by extorting tourists. Simply put, you want to comply fully with the officers to ensure you place yourself in as little trouble as possible.


Keeping Quiet

After a bit of touring around Laos, you may have noticed that the people here are a distinctly quiet bunch. This isn't to suggest that they are rude or such – quite the contrary. Essentially, Laos' people tend to value silence and the quiet way of doing things. As such, you should be careful not to interfere with this peace. Always keep your voice down, be respectful when dealing with the locals, and take things a little slow during your travels.


Avoid Wildlife Products

There are plenty of great shopping opportunities to be had in Laos – from amazing local garbs to handcrafted sculptures. One thing that you'll want to avoid, however, is wildlife products. Illegal poaching of wildlife is an unfortunate occurrence in Laos, and the pelts and bones harvested during these end up being presented to tourists as souvenirs. You won't be able to take these out of Laos and it can net you some heft fines if you're caught with these products – so, simply avoid them entirely.