Vientiane, Laos

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Hospitals & Clinics in Vientiane
Vientiane's hospitals are a far cry from those in the West or even Thailand. The city's Mahosot and Setthathirat Hospitals can treat common conditions. Anything more serious you're better off heading to Thailand where there are good private hospitals with well-trained doctors. For emergency dental treatment there is an excellent clinic in Vientiane, just behind the Wind West Bar in Sihoum.

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Mahosot Hospital is on the river but go to their "International Clinic" where you pay more and get more personal service, but are from the same doctors that work in the hospital. Setthathirat Hospital is away from the city centre on the T4 Road. With the support of the French Embassy in Vientiane, the “Centre Medical de l’Ambassade de France” provides primary health care services and is open to expatriates and tourists in the city. The Australian Embassy Clinic provides limited general practice services and has a small pharmacy and pathology department. Although primarily for its diplomatic staff and their families, Australian citizens may access its services for a fee.

Entrance to Mahosot Hospital by Torbenbrinker

Hospitals in Thailand
Recommended hospitals in Thailand that are close to Vientiane include 
Wattana Hospital in Nong Khai (just across the border), good for treating simpler cases. Aek Udon International Hospital in Udon Thani, has more facilities. An ambulance from Wattana Hospital can cross the border to pick up patients in Vientiane and can also take them to Aek Udon Hospital. The bridge across the Mekong River is open from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and outside these hours, the gates are only opened for emergencies upon telephone request from the hospital.

The city's waterworks are called "Nam Pa Paa", which some joke as to mean "water without fishes". Yes, the fishes have been removed but not everything else. Don't drink the tap water, no matter how long it's been boiled (it tastes very industrial) - stick to the bottled water available everywhere, though even that varies in quality. Some people have a major preference for clear plastic bottles.

Vientiane is free from malaria but dengue is a real threat, especially during the rainy season. Take the necessary precautions against mosquito bites by wearing DEET repellent - available at many mini-marts. It is common practice to request a mosquito coil at dusk for outdoor venues.

Don't follow the example of the locals who will bathe in anything that looks like water. There is a real risk of picking up parasites. Swimming in public pools is okay and hotel pools are also safe.

Mekong River in Vientiane by Perthite

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