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Laos Travel Warning

Issued by US Department of State

Jan 06, 2004

This Public Announcement is being issued to advise U.S. citizens of increased security concerns in Laos. This Public Announcement supersedes the August 28, 2003, version and expires on July 8, 2004.

In Laos, there have been attacks on public markets, transportation facilities, and all forms of ground transportation. Between March 2000 and January 2001 and, more recently, between February and November 2003, Vientiane and several other towns throughout Laos experienced a series of bombings, generally in public places, including markets and transportation facilities frequented by foreign tourists and U.S. citizens. In September 2003, two bombs detonated outside a market in Vientiane and in Savannakhet province. U.S. citizens traveling or residing in Laos are advised to exercise extreme caution in public places and to be alert to their surroundings, since the locations of future incidents is unpredictable.

There have been sporadic attacks by heavily armed groups at selected points along the Lao-Thai border and in a number of northern provinces. More attacks could occur. Provinces that are most prominent in reports of attacks are Xieng Khouang; Luang Prabang; Houaphan; Sayaboury; Saysomboun Special Zone and north of Vang Vieng in Vientiane Province (not to be confused with the separate municipality of Vientiane).

In light of the Vang Vieng-Kasi area attacks, especially along Route 13, the Department of State recommends that U.S. citizens avoid road travel between Vang Vieng and Luang Phrabang and on Route 7 from the Route 13 junction to Phonsavan town. The Lao government has characterized these attacks as "banditry," but given the extreme violence of the attacks, political motives are likely. Due to these security concerns, U.S. Embassy personnel are not permitted to travel overland in this area.

U.S. citizens are strongly encouraged to consult the Department of State's Consular Information Sheet for Laos , and the Worldwide Caution Public Announcement , located at . 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.

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