Lao Phrases For Emergencies: 26 Important Phrases

Here at Ling, we highly recommend taking a trip to Laos. However, the first step to having fun is being safe. And to be safe, it is crucial to know Lao phrases for emergencies just in case the worst does happen. Here are some basics to get you started: Fire (fai) ໄຟ Call The police (othha toaruad) ໂທຫາຕໍາຫຼວດ

Have you heard about Ling? It is the app taking the language learning scene by storm. Ling is doing for lesser spoken languages like Lao what Duolingo and Rosetta Stone did for gigantic languages.

Ling wants to make language learning as informative as it is fun, which is why it is a perfect blend of quizzes, games, flashcards, and word jumbles.

Lao Phrases For Emergencies

EnglishLaoLao Script
Firestationsa tha ni dab phoengສະ​ຖາ​ນີ​ດັບ​ເພີງ
Firefighterdab phoengດັບເພີງ
A ladderpen khandaiເປັນຂັ້ນໄດ
A helmetmuak kan kathobໝວກກັນກະທົບ
A hosethoທໍ່
Police stationsa tha ni toa ruadສະ​ຖາ​ນີ​ຕໍາ​ຫຼວດ
Police carlod tamruadລົດຕຳຫຼວດ
Police officerchao na thi toa ruadເຈົ້າ​ຫນ້າ​ທີ່​ຕໍາ​ຫຼວດ
A radiovithanyuວິທະຍຸ
Ambulancelod suksoenລົດສຸກເສີນ
Car accidentu bad ti hed thang lodອຸ​ບັດ​ຕິ​ເຫດ​ທາງ​ລົດ
Helicopterheli khaob toeເຮລິຄັອບເຕີ
Lampokhm faiໂຄມໄຟ
Lifeboatheu su sibເຮືອຊູຊີບ
Life jacketseu su sibເສື້ອ​ຊູ​ຊີບ
Sirensai renໄຊເຣນ
Can you help me?chao suany khony dai boເຈົ້າ​ຊ່ວຍ​ຂ້ອຍ​ໄດ້​ບໍ່?
Where Is The hospital?ohngmo yusaiໂຮງໝໍຢູ່ໃສ?
Call The policeothha toaruadໂທຫາຕໍາຫຼວດ

What Is The Crime Like In Laos?

Lao Phrases For Emergencies


As a Westerner, the chances are that the most extreme crime you’ll encounter is petty crime such as bag snatching. There’s an easy way to avoid this. Buy a bag with a solid strap that can’t be cut with a penknife, and carry your bag on the side of your body that isn’t facing the traffic.

UXO- Unexploded Ordinance- Bombs

Laos is a peculiar country in many respects. Its jungles are stunningly beautiful, but they can be very dangerous, particularly on the border with Vietnam. During the U.S war with Vietnam, the Americans dropped an unbelievable amount of ordnance over Laos in an attempt to destroy Viet Cong supply networks. The campaign didn’t work and left ton after ton of unexploded bombs that still kill 50 people a year. If you are in the countryside, it is highly advisable to stay on well-worn trails.

Are The Roads Safe In Laos?

Overall, no. Sometimes it’s difficult to tell what’s worse the roads, the driving, or the condition of the vehicles. We would definitely not recommend traveling at night where the risks are increased(many drivers don’t drive with lights on.)

The New China-Laos Highway

If you read our blog on Lao transport, you’ll know about the exciting new China-Laos highway. However, although the road surface itself is high quality, the concept of a high-speed highway is new in Laos, and the drivers aren’t yet used to it. Sometimes, you will find people on motorbikes coming the wrong way down a carriageway. Not to mention that cattle often seem to find their way onto the road.

Is Riding A Motorbike Safe?

If you do rent a motorbike, be very careful. Technically it’s illegal without a license, but it’s still how most ex-pats get around. Always make sure you wear a helmet and take your bike out to a quiet stretch of land where you can become better acquainted with the steering and brakes. The number to report road accidents is +856 20 5666 9090 (we don’t know if it works).

The truly terrifying thing about driving a motorbike in Laos(and the thing that ‘almost’ put me off) is that if you crash, you’ll probably have to pay compensation even if it’s not your fault. 

As always, check your travel insurance documents closely (note: some travel insurance doesn’t cover motorbike accidents).

Travel in Laos

Is River Travel Safe In Laos?

Not really. But much better than it was in the past. There have been many horror stories of tourist boats sinking on the Mekong; however, providers are improving their standards with increased scrutiny by authorities.

As usual, use common sense, something I didn’t do when I traveled to Vang Vieng in 2014 and went on the infamous tubing trip(which I’ve been informed is now a lot more sensible than what it was).

Emergency Numbers, Just In Case

First things first. How do you call the emergency services in Laos?

Fire- 1190

Ambulance- 1195

Police 1191- (The Uk Government also lists:) 241162, 241163, and 212703

Tourist Police- 021-251-128

However, I have serious doubts that anyone other than the tourist police would have a good level of English. However, I have serious doubts that anyone other than the tourist police would have a good level of English. At least you’ll have Lao vocabulary and phrases to help you in emergencies.

Learn Lao With Ling!

Learn Languages Ling App

The Lao language is a must-have for those of us who only speak English and want to visit a foreign country. The official language of Laos is kra-dao. The most commonly spoken is the Vientiane dialect spoken in the capital Vientiane.

Our basic course includes everything you might need to know, such as:

  • Where is the toilet? Hong nam yu sai
  • Can you lower the price? Lud dai baw?
  • How much does this cost? laka tao dai
  • It’s an emergency Suay khoi dai bor
  • I’ll take it khoi si ow
  • I don’t want it khoi seu baw dai

There has never been a better time to learn a new language.

Note: If you enjoyed this blog why not check out some others that have been making waves recently such as accommodation vocabulary in Lao.

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