Issued by US Department of State
Jul 11, 2004
This Public Announcement is being issued to advise U.S. citizens of continuing security concerns in Laos. This Public Announcement supersedes the January 5, 2004, Public Announcement and expires on January 6, 2005.
Since 2000 there have been periodic attacks on markets, two bus stations, all forms of ground transportation, border checkpoints and other public places. Between February 2003 and June 2004 there were bombings in Vientiane, Savannakhet and other cities and provinces throughout Laos (Xieng Khouang, Sayabury, Houaphan, Saysomboun). In addition, armed attacks on buses and other vehicles on Route 13 (Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang) and Route 7 (junction Route 13 to Phonsavan) between February and April 2004 killed at least 12 persons.
In light of these incidents, the Department of State recommends that U.S. citizens traveling or residing in Laos exercise extreme caution in public places and be alert to their surroundings, since the locations of future incidents is unpredictable. In particular, U.S. citizens should continue to avoid traveling by road between Vang Vieng and Luang Phrabang and on Route 7 from the Route 13 junction to Phonsavan town and in surrounding areas.
After some attacks, the Lao government has been known to shut down telecommunications and stop all transport on main roads for up to several days. Travelers should comply with requests to stop at checkpoints and roadblocks.
U.S. citizens, especially those considering travel outside urban centers, are advised to contact relevant Lao government offices, such as Lao Immigration Police Headquarters in Vientiane, local police and customs offices, or the U.S. Embassy for the most current security information. To avoid trouble with the authorities, U.S. citizens traveling outside of normal tourist areas or contemplating any unusual activity (including, but not limited to, engaging in business, extensive photography, or scientific research of any kind) should consider seeking advance permission from the Village Chief, District Head, Provincial Governor, or National Tourism Authority, as appropriate.
U.S. citizens are encouraged to consult the Department of State's Consular Information Sheet for Laos, and the Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, located at http://travel.state.gov. For further information, U.S. citizens may also contact the Department of State toll-free at 1-888-407-4747, or, if calling from overseas, 317-472-2328.