Official advice for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas

  • Reviewed: 3 October 2014, 11:25 NZDT
  • Still current at: 9 October 2015

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Some Risk

There is some risk to your security in Laos due to isolated incidents of civil unrest and we advise caution.

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Civil unrest
Isolated incidents of violent civil unrest have occurred in the past in Laos, resulting in deaths and injuries.  New Zealanders in Laos are advised to exercise caution, monitor the media for information on potential safety risks and comply with any instructions issued by the local authorities.  We recommend you avoid all demonstrations and protests as they have the potential to turn violent.

Violent crime
Violent crime such as robbery, mugging and sexual assault is on the increase.  Petty crime, including bag snatching from passing motorcycles, is prevalent in cities and towns.  Local law enforcement’s response to crime is often limited.  We recommend paying close attention to your belongings and personal security and avoiding unlit roads or areas at night.

Local travel
Unexploded landmines and ordnance pose a significant threat in Laos, particularly in Xieng Khouang Province (Plain of Jars) and the Lao-Vietnamese border area along the Ho Chi Minh Trail.  We advise you not to stray off well‑used roads and paths in rural areas.  Mined areas are often unmarked.

There are regular reports of clashes in Xaisomboun district involving the Laotian military.  Travel there requires a permit.  The area near the border with Myanmar is a known drug smuggling route, and there have been small-scale skirmishes between anti-government groups and government troops in isolated areas along the Thailand border.  We recommend exercising a high degree of caution in all of these areas.

General travel advice
There have been several drug-related deaths among foreign nationals visiting Laos. Some tourists have had their drinks or food spiked with drugs and have subsequently been assaulted. We recommend you take care not to leave your food or drinks unattended. 

It is a requirement under Lao law to carry identification at all times.  Police undertake frequent checks and failure to provide suitable identification may result in a fine.

New Zealanders travelling or living in Laos should have a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place that includes provision for medical evacuation by air.

New Zealanders in Laos are encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Travel tips

The New Zealand Embassy Bangkok, Thailand is accredited to Laos

Street Address M Thai Tower, 14th floor, All Seasons Place, 87 Wireless Road, Bangkok Postal Address PO Box 2719, Bangkok 10500 Telephone +66 2 254 2530 Fax +66 2 253 9045 Email Web Site Hours Mon-Fri 0800-1200, 1300-1630 hrs

See our regional advice for South East Asia

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Accredited New Zealand Embassy Thailand

Street Address
M Thai Tower, 14th floor, All Seasons Place, 87 Wireless Road, Bangkok

Telephone: +66 2 254 2530

Fax: +66 2 253 9045



Hours: Mon-Fri 0800-1200, 1300-1630 hrs

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