Risky Roads in Laos
Travellers are warned to not travel overland from Vang Viang to Luang Prabang as a safety precaution, according to the latest Smartraveller advisory issued by the Australian government, Monday.
The Australian advisory did not elaborate other than to say it was recommending travellers avoid overland travel on highway 13 beyond Vang Vieng.
However, a recent Canadian travel advisory advices travellers to exercise a high degree of caution due to ongoing security concerns related to “banditry and unexploded munitions”.
It identified Xaisomboun province and portions of Road 13 and the “new road” between Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang as the risk areas.
Global Affairs Canada said portions of Road 13 and the “new road” between Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang were risky due to “the tense security situation and recent random shooting incidents.”
The Australian advisory recommends travellers to travel by air from the capital Vientiane to Luang Prabang.
However, Vang Vieng a riverside resort halfway between Vientiane and Luang Prabang is a popular destinations with budget travellers.
They travel the 168 km to Vang Vieng, chill out for a few days and then board local buses for the 170 km trip to Luang Prabang. The trip follows a mountain road crossing two steep passes before descending to the Luang Prabang valley.
While the travel advisory does not identify the threats to safety, there have been reports of shootings, ambushes by armed gangs.
The travel advisory also warns visitors to be vigilant when using ATMs and credit cards as there have been reports of ATM fraud, including the use of skimming machines in Laos.