Hi everyone. Its currently under one month before me and my girlfriend leave for 6weeks visiting the countries as stated in the subject heading.
The problem I am facing is to do with malaria. It will be the monsoon season (most destinations).
The places and length we are staying are:
Bangkok 5days (another 4 at the end, including bridge of the river kwai)
Laos 7 days - Vientiane, Vang Vieng, Luang Prabang (Phonsavan, Sam Neua & Na Maew to cross to Vietnam
Vietnam 14 days- Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hue, Danang, Nha Trang & Saigon (then crossing into Cambodia from Chau Doc etc).
Cambodia 6 days, -Phnom Penh,Siem Reap (then flight to KL airport Malaysia)
Malaysia - Kuala Lumpur, Kota Bharu (briefly for airport) & The Perhentian Islands. From then, catching train north back to Bangkok.
Is it really necessary to take Malaria tablets? I did some searching but I'm confused with which ones, and if I have to, will it not cost a fortune?!
I would be very grateful if anyone could comment on what they have done and experienced, and if so, what type to purchase etc. I will be taking a mosquito net with me. I guess its Laos, north Vietnam and Cambodia that would be worst for malaria. ANy help would be greatly appreciated.
#1 besty123 has been a member since 22/4/2006. Posts: 5
Im no expert but here's my opinion.
Malaria is a preventable disease so why take the risk. Ask an expert - Go to your local doctors, tell them your planned itinerary and see what they suggest. If it costs you a few quid, so what, better safe than sorry right?. You shouldn't have a problem in the major cities and urban areas, its the more rural areas and border points that can be the problem areas. If your really against taking the tablets, use your net, cover you arms and legs at dusk and dawn and dont scrimp and save on your mosquito repellent. Get one that contains DEET. I used Jungle Formula when I was away last year and didn't suffer from many bites.
Hope this helps but your best to get professional advice.
Getting professional advice is indeed a good idea -- particularly from a travel doctor rather than your local GP/family doctor, however, unless you're spending lots of time in remote areas, or planning on sleeping naked in a swamp, your chances of catching malaria are very low. In my personal opinion (and my Grandma's), prevention is by far the best type of cure -- use Deet, dress sensibly and use a mosquito net. The only spots I'd be particularly careful in (of the places you list) are Phonsavan enroute to Hanoi.
#3 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,652
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Thanks simeone and somtam, that advice is great to hear! I'm going to pop into the doctors, to see the travel nurse, see what her opinion etc is. I saw the price of one of the tablets, £2.10 per tablet, i think i'l just use common sense and use Deet. Such places as Phonsavan are literally a little stop over, such as 4 hours or so.
I'm hoping the buses are reliable in Laos during July, as I know tourism will not be quite as high. Getting to the border Na Maew on time with our itinerary would be very good!
#4 besty123 has been a member since 22/4/2006. Posts: 5
Not sure if this will be of any use to you, but I'm off to Thailand this week, I've decided not to take malaria tablets, as I'm already on other medication as I've been in hospital, but my boyfriend went to see the travel nurse at his dr's and he was expecting them to cost a lot, however, when he got back home, he told me that he only had to pay the prescription price which was 6 pound 75 pence - that was for vibrox capsules - he had just 1 prescription, to inculde tablets when gets back to u.k - 48 tablets (6 boxes) for 6 pound 75penc in total!!! He only got them last week. Just thought i'd mention it to you.
there is a pretty good mosquito repellent sold here in thailand called sketolene. it comes in an easy-to-use spray bottle, and you can get it at most drug stores. there are two types. the green bottle is a citronella- and eucalyptus-based spray. the other (yellow?) bottle is 20% DEET based. they sell for between 60 and 80 baht each.
i've lived and travelled in southeast asia for over six years, and have never taken anti-malarials. i always thought that the real risks of the prevention was greater that the potential risks of catching it. i think the prevention advice of somtam and others here is pretty good. best of luck and stay healthy. cheers.