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.
|Firestation||sa tha ni dab phoeng||ສະຖານີດັບເພີງ|
|A ladder||pen khandai||ເປັນຂັ້ນໄດ|
|A helmet||muak kan kathob||ໝວກກັນກະທົບ|
|Police station||sa tha ni toa ruad||ສະຖານີຕໍາຫຼວດ|
|Police car||lod tamruad||ລົດຕຳຫຼວດ|
|Police officer||chao na thi toa ruad||ເຈົ້າຫນ້າທີ່ຕໍາຫຼວດ|
|Car accident||u bad ti hed thang lod||ອຸບັດຕິເຫດທາງລົດ|
|Helicopter||heli khaob toe||ເຮລິຄັອບເຕີ|
|Lifeboat||heu su sib||ເຮືອຊູຊີບ|
|Life jacket||seu su sib||ເສື້ອຊູຊີບ|
|Can you help me?||chao suany khony dai bo||ເຈົ້າຊ່ວຍຂ້ອຍໄດ້ບໍ່?|
|Where Is The hospital?||ohngmo yusai||ໂຮງໝໍຢູ່ໃສ?|
|Call The police||othha toaruad||ໂທຫາຕໍາຫຼວດ|
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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).
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).
First things first. How do you call the emergency services in Laos?
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.
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:
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.