Photo: Classic scenery surrounds Vang Vieng.

Laos forum

safety/travel advice

Posted by azgrl on 29/5/2008 at 07:11

Can anyone offer some safety/travel advice for first time travelers to Laos and Cambodia? We expect to keep passports, money, and cameras with us and not leave things unattended. But if we want to go swimming what do we do with the gear? Should we carry our passports and money around our neck in safety pouch or is there a better method? Is there any “should of, would of, could of” advice a seasoned traveler could pass on to us? We have strong common sense and are tapped into the travel books and websites. We just want to be as prepared as possible. Any pieces of advice will be appreciated.

Thanks

#1 azgrl has been a member since 23/5/2008. Posts: 2

Posted by steviej on 1/6/2008 at 20:00

I always carry a laminated photocopy of the relevant passport page and enough money to see the day out.

You can always stash the rest in your room or at a push put everything in a sealed envelope (sign the back across the seal) and hand it to reception for lobbing in the safe.

Personally I'd stash it in the room.............
............but don't forget where you hid it!! ;-)

#2 steviej has been a member since 18/3/2006. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 265
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Posted by 2face on 2/6/2008 at 23:04

Laos is no problem: The look on people's faces there don't even hint at ulterior motives. If anything, watch for fellow foreign tourists.

So in Lao leave your stuff in your room; keep the key, I think.

Cambodia is a different matter, though not by much.

One thing you could do is swap money pouches. Perhaps try the ultra-thin one that goes around the waist. This is safer as you forget about it and less inclined to take it off.

Another thing is, when looking for rooms, try and find one where you can attach your own lock. This is hit-and-miss in the countries you mention, but they can be found. (In India they're everywhere.)

As you're traveling with friends, perhaps bring a combination lock for easy access between you, so as to not fiddle too much with keys.

look for a room w/ no windows, too, or ones you are sure you can secure the windows.

As to swimming, well...one time Sihanoukville, Cambodia I had only just left my towel and pack on the beach there, and hadn't yet reached the shore when I turned around to check and see if all was safe, but found that all was gone.

Caught the guy, though. Ran through the tall reeds there, and not taking the given path to the road, where I guess the guy saw me coming with some speed, and perhaps some determination as well because he
just stopped moving, and like waited for me at the road until I arrived. When I got there a second or
so later, he simply handed my bag back to me.

He wouldn't've got much, anyway - my Vaurnets, a frisbee, because I did what steviej advised and left my valuables in my room.

#3 2face has been a member since 8/11/2007. Posts: 25
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Posted by exacto on 3/6/2008 at 21:09

ironically, sleeply little laos is the only place i've ever been mugged, as snatch and grab can be a concern even in that generally safe destination (as it can in cambodia). be careful to wear your day pack on your back rather than place it in the basket if you hire a scooter or push bike. same goes for placing your back is a protected area when you sit at a restaurant. but as face says, it isn't an overly large problem and you won't be under seige. just use good judgement and common sense. cheers.

#4 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,659
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Posted by somsai on 4/6/2008 at 07:15

Exacto do you mean someone beat you up and took your money? As in mugged? It would have to be the first time I've heard of it in Laos, more common is bag snatch.

I don't have much of value other than passport and money and camera. Money and junk always under clothes, never in room, never in day pack. Camera is over shoulder, across chest, under elbow which is touching it.

Azgrl you say "we". One sits on stuff, the other swims. If you leave stuff in your room and it's gone don't even bother telling the hotel. It's your fault.

If I had ten kip for every time I read about thieving hotel employees stealing from the room I'd have a round trip ticket. Of course who knows who took it. Westerners, employees, people next door, maybe it was ghosts. One thing for sure, you'll never know.

#5 somsai has been a member since 1/3/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 568

Posted by exacto on 4/6/2008 at 10:27

somsai is right. it wasn't a mugging in the traditional sense, but rather a bag snatch that had gone wrong. i've mentioned in a few other posts how i'd foolishly tied my day pack to the basket of mt hired push bike and that when two teenagers zoomed past on their scooter for the bag snatch, the bag got caught on the basket and my arm and i was dragged along the street for a good ten meters. bummer. when it happened, the local shop keeps were quick to come out and help me up, offer water and first aid, and apologize for the incident, noting that this was unfortunately a new type of problem that had arrived in their city (vientiane). no doubt that had i been wearing the day pack on my back, like i would have done in a place like thailand where such things were much more common at the time, i wouldn't have been injured. hope that clarifies. cheers.

#6 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,659
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Posted by Rufus on 9/6/2008 at 14:27

On Saturday evening one of my acquaintances and her niece were mugged at knifepoint outside her house in Vientiane by a guy clearly on yabba. His accomplice was waiting nearby on a motorcycle. It is getting a bit more common here in Laos.

#7 Rufus has been a member since 22/4/2007. Location: Laos. Posts: 973

Posted by DameR on 9/6/2008 at 20:07

Hello All,

I'm wondering if any one can help. I am planning to travel to Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia on my own. I am a female of around 35. Would you say it is safe for me to do this?

Thanks

#8 DameR has been a member since 9/6/2008. Posts: 1

Posted by figenways on 10/6/2008 at 15:59

just be careful,stay in well populated areas,we travel as a group so no problems but a friend had his mobile and wallet stolen in cambodia yesterday.

#9 figenways has been a member since 10/6/2008. Posts: 5

Posted by somsai on 22/7/2008 at 11:06

Good to hear nothing worse exacto. Sounds like Vientiane becoming like a city.

#10 somsai has been a member since 1/3/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 568

Posted by Rufus on 23/7/2008 at 09:55

"Good to hear nothing worse exacto. Sounds like Vientiane becoming like a city."

Well its certainly already much more of one than that backwater Nong Khai.

#11 Rufus has been a member since 22/4/2007. Location: Laos. Posts: 973


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