Vietnam Cambodia Laos

These are developing countries, each with their own fascinating history, geography and culture. Common itineraries in Vietnam include Hanoi, Ha Long Bay on a junk boat, the ethnic minorities in the mountainous north around Sapa, the coastal towns of Hue, Hoi An, Da Neng and Nha Trang, Ho Chi Minh, the Mekong Delta floating markets and Cu Chi tunnels. The prime attraction in Cambodia is the ancient overgrown Angkor Temple complex near Siam Reab. Visitors to Laos head to the old Royal capital of Luang Prabang in the north, the spectacular limestone mountains of Vang Vieng , the Mekong river , and 4000 Islands near Pakse in the south.

We often see school groups travelling to these countries combining aid work with a remote trek or cultural experience.

The following information provides some broad and general guidelines about health risks and recommendations for travel to Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. This should not be taken as a substitute for a personal consultation with one of our travel health doctors, whose advice will be specific for you and your trip and may include some things not mentioned here.

  • Plan Head - Calendar/Itinerary?

    Six to eight weeks out from departure is a good time to have a travel health consultation. You may need blood tests to check immunity to diseases or need a course of vaccines like rabies for example, and this gives you plenty of time to get everything completed. If you are travelling sooner however it's not too late for an appointment, simply make one as soon as you can.

  • Mosquito's and Bugs

    Mosquitoes transmit a number of diseases which have been on the increase due to global warming, changing environments and human travel. While there are vaccines for Japanese encephalitis and medication to reduce the risk of malaria, mosquito avoidance is the only way to prevent many of these diseases.

  • Eating/Drinking

    Travellers diarrhoea, giardia and dysentery are just some of the illnesses caused by contaminated food and water. Tap water in these countries should be avoided.

  • Vaccine Recommendations

    Everyone should be up to date for routine childhood immunisations and may need adult boosters for such diseases as tetanus, measles and hepatitis B.
    Additional vaccines may also be recommended depending on your individual medical history, current itinerary and the likelihood of future travel.

List of Common Health Issues

  • Hepatitis A

    Hepatitis A is usually recommended for travel to Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.

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  • Typhoid

    A food and water borne disease, typhoid vaccination is often recommended.

  • Malaria

    This mosquito borne parasite occurs deep in forested areas. The need for preventative medication should be discussed with one of our doctors.

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  • Rabies

    Consider pre-travel rabies vaccination (at least three weeks before departure) for longer trips, those at risk or anyone wanting lifelong protection. Avoid animals (particularly dogs, monkeys, cats and bats). Thoroughly rinse and disinfect any animal wound and seek prompt medical care for post exposure management (whether or not pre-vaccinated).

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  • Travellers’ diarrhoea, giardia and dysentery

    There are a few things you can do to reduce the risk of gastro spoiling your trip, including taking a water filtration drink bottle and one of our customisable medication kits with guidelines for self-treatment.

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  • Japanese encephalitis

    It is important to understand how to avoid this rare but potentially catastrophic mosquito borne disease. For those at significant risk there are a couple of vaccine options.

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  • Influenza

    Influenza is one of the most common vaccine preventable illnesses in travellers. In tropical climates there is no 'flu season', risk being all year round.

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  • Sexually transmitted illness

    Either abstain or pack condoms and use them. Avoid sex workers. See a doctor on return for testing if you have put yourself at risk, and abstain until you are given the all clear.

  • Dengue fever

    Best avoided by taking precautions to avoid mosquito bites, particularly during the daytime in urban areas. Increasing in incidence in many parts of the world, dengue is a serious mosquito borne disease.

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  • Accidents

    Be sensible. Avoid motorbikes, especially without a helmet. Don’t swim when intoxicated and take advice from locals and signs. Carry a first aid kit.

Latest Health Alerts

  • COVID 19 (Coronavirus)

    March 29, 2020

    As there is no non-essential overseas travel at this time this article will simply remain as an information resource for COVID-19. See our main COVID-19 page for more detailed information. We hope to be able to inform our travelers once again after this crisis passes. The links below remain trustworthy

  • Sri Lanka – Dengue Fever

    January 9, 2020

    Over 48,000 cases of dengue fever have been reported in Sri Lanka since 1st October 2019, a significant increase in incidence. Travellers should observe strict mosquito avoidance measures, particularly during daylight hours.

  • Solomon Islands – proof of measles vaccination required

    December 19, 2019

    As a result of recent outbreaks of measles in various countries, the Solomon Islands' will be requiring arriving travellers from/via American Samoa, Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, Philippines, Samoa, or Tonga to show proof of measles vaccination, effective December 28th 2019. Vaccination needs to have been at least 15 days prior and