Travel Warning: Laos

Contributed By RealAdventures

August 18, 2000
The U.S. Embassy in Vientiane reports that a number of bombings have occurred in public places frequented by tourists in Vientiane since March 30. Several foreigners and Lao citizens were injured in separate explosions in the Morning Market and in a restaurant near the Nam Phu Plaza area, two of the most popular gathering places for tourists and locals in Vientiane. At the end of July, a bomb exploded in the Vientiane Central Post Office, injuring several Lao nationals. Police also discovered a small explosive device in the domestic terminal of the Vientiane Airport. Other incidents involved an explosion in Vientiane's Central Bus Station near the Morning Market, the detonation of an explosive device on a bicycle in a restaurant parking lot, an explosion near an outdoor restaurant, and the accidental detonation of a grenade by a gang of youths. In addition, there have been credible reports of other explosive devices found in Savannakhet and Pakse cities.

While there is no evidence that this violence has been directed against American citizens or institutions, American citizens should be aware that more such incidents could occur in the future. American citizens traveling to or residing anywhere in Laos are advised to exercise caution in public places and to be alert to their surroundings.

The U.S. Embassy also advises U.S. citizens in Laos to avoid travel to Xieng Khouang Province, including the Plain of Jars. The U.S. Government has received credible reports of violent incidents throughout the province, including increased military activity. In addition, at various times, the Lao government has restricted travel to parts of the province. Persons traveling overland on Route 7, or to other areas of Xieng Khouang Province, particularly Muang Khoune and Paxai Districts, run the risk of ambush by insurgents or bandits. U.S. citizens who, nevertheless, decide to travel to Xiang Khouang Province should check conditions with local authorities or the U.S. Embassy in Vientiane before undertaking such travel.

Finally, the U.S. Government has information of unknown reliability that a group or groups may attack tourists in the Bolovens Plateau region in southern Laos sometime within the next two months.

U.S. citizens planing to visit Laos are advised to consult the Department of State's Consular Information Sheet (CIS) for Laos before commencing travel. The CIS is available at any U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate abroad and through the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet home page at U.S. citizens planning to visit Laos are encouraged to visit the consular section of the U.S. Embassy in Vientiane upon arrival in order to register and obtain the most current travel and security information. The U.S. Embassy is located at Rue Bartholonie (near Tat Dam), tel (856-21) 212-581, 212-582, or 212-585. The Consular Section fax number is (856-21) 212-584.

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