laos for those with physical impairment

My husband has mobility problems although NOT a wheelchair user.

We have just returned for 18 days in Laos and I hope you will find some of this information useful. Please feel free to ask any other questions.

Temples-you need to take off shoes to enter but there is not always someone to sit down to do this.

Toilets- when on the road in the countryside all the restaurants have toilets readily available. However, they are the squat type; there is a porcelain step about 8 inches high on which you stand. There will be no handrails to keep your balance and often there is a hosepipe running making the floors very slippery.

Hotels- beware of the mats laid out everwhere , a real trip hazard

LUANG PRABANG

Si Kuang Waterfalls- If you are in a private car, ask at the ticket office if the driver can take you up to the picnic site, from there it is approx.50 metres relatively flat walk to the viewing platform, where there are seats .. Otherwise it is approx. 300 yards uneven walk from car park.

Bear rescue Centre- approached by approx 60 metres slightly inclining track. A few steps up to the viewing platform but very low handrails.

Boat trips- the banks of the Mekong are very step with either steps or slippery banks. The access to the boats is either by a rickety plank of narrow wood or by clambering over other boats.

Royal Palace Museum and Wat Pra Bang- access is by steep steps with no handrails. No shoes are allowed in the Museum and there is nowhere to sit to take them off.

Wat Xieng- access via the Mekong side is by steeps steps, no handrail. Ask your driver to take you around to the other entrance.

Wat Visoun- ask driver to take the vehicle right up to the temple.

Hotels- Villa Chitdara- ground floor rooms are flat from street. However several steps down to the garden and up to the restaurant. However, they would serve breakfast on your balcony, Laotians are very helpful.

Ban Lakham – several steps up from the street but a gate post to hang on to. Again, breakfast can be served on your balcony overlooking the river.

PHONSAVAN

Plain of Jars – site 1- a slight incline of about 100 metres (no places to sit) to the jars from where you can view the whole site. No official seating but plenty of Jars to sit on.

Site 2- difficult ,uneven incline to see Jars

Hotel Anouleklao- ground floor rooms and lift but 3 steps to hotel entrance, no handrail. Only breakfast is served , nearest eating place is about 50 metres away.

PAKSE

Villa Sisouk, a few steps to enter hotel but it does have a lift and you can arrange to eat ,by advance booking , at the hotel in the evening.

Hotel Pakse- this has a great rooftop restaurant , unfortunately the lift stops short of one floor so the access is only by a winding staircase with limited handrails. However, they were very happy to serve us on the street terrace which is 2 or 3 steps up from the pavement.

Tad Fane waterfall- 150 metres walk from carpark to viewing point , the ground was damp and slippery.

Wat Phu- an electric trolley train will take you to the foot of the site but not back to the ticket office unless you ask. At the site there is a limited amount to see and nowhere to sit, although the local seller offered his chair to my husband whilst I visited the site. The site is only accessible to the fittest, the steps are high, uneven and very ,very steep. If you have already seen the Angkor complex in Cambodia , I would say not to bother with Wat Phu.

Khone Phanee waterfalls- for a few dollars per person return ,the golf trolley will take you to the viewing platform although there are a few steps on uneven ground to get up to the platform. Seating is available at the platform.

4000 ISLANDS- only Don Kong island is accessible by vehicle. To visit the rest of the islands and to find the Irrawaddy Dolphins involves steep river banks, unstable wooden boats etc. I would say the whole area is probably not worth visiting if you are impaired as you would be limited to what you can see.

Border Crossing to Ubon airport, Thailand- it is not necessary to get out of the vehicle. The border officers allowed me to fill in the relevant forms on behalf of my husband. Otherwise, it is approx. 200 metres to walk across the border and involves stairs down to an underpass