Health

rice field

Rice field in Don Det during the monsoon.

Mosquitoes & malaria

There are a few mosquitos in Don Det in the early morning at 6 am, and in the evening between 5 and 7 pm. You can avoid mosquito bites by wearing long sleeved clothing and optionally socks (compatible with your flip flop shoes), or by using efficient mosquito repellent (cream or spray).

Malaria is reported in Laos and there's only a few areas spared in the country. The malaria species are P. falciparum 65%, P. vivax 34%, P. malariae and P. ovale 1% combined. However, according to the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the estimated relative risk of malaria for travellers is very low, even lower than in Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia and Vietnam.
You may feel really safe by taking prescription medicine as Atovaquone-proguanil or doxycycline, but statistically infections are very rare in the 4000 islands and the province of Champasak.
Read the Health Information for Travelers to Laos.

Hospitals & pharmacies

To call an ambulance everywhere in Laos, compose the 195.
Lao Red Cross Emergency Ambulance Service
More emergency numbers

For little injures or allergies, there's a small medical dispensary in Don Khone, near the bridge, 3 km from Don Det center, and another one in Nakasang near the market place and the banks, 500 meters from the Mekong.
To heal headaches or stomach diseases, you may find basic medicines at Phouvanh guesthouse, next to BABA guesthouse in the center.
Three pharmacies are established in Nakasang.

From Don Det the nearest hospitals are in Pakse (148 km), and Stung Treng in Cambodia (247 km).
The standard of the main hospital in Pakse is quite weak and the staff not very good English speaking. Some travellers say it's much better at the International Hitec Poly Clinic of Pakse, just next to the hospital. Your medical care might be more expensive there, but this Poly Clinic seems to be one of the most prestigious institutions in the city. You can join them by phone 031 214 712 or email .

health-pakse-hospital

Champasak hospital, Pakse center © Google Map

For quality health care matching the western standards, go to the Ubonrak hospital in Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand. Tel +66 45 260 300 Contact (see the Ubonrak hospital on Google map)

Before ordering a «happy» drink / dish

Be informed that nearly all the drinks and dishes called «happy» in Don Det are prepared with marijuana. So don't be surprised if you feel like stoned one hour after your happy meal...
The weed can be very strong, then, take all your responsibilities before a try. Some unexperiment travelers get very pale and paranoiac as they suddenly suspect their cooker of having added a poison or another drug inside their milkshake, whereas it's just the effect of a powerful grass they don't know.

Apart from alcohol and grass commonly tolerated, there are no hard drugs in Don Det nor Don Khone, and luckily it seems that the police work to keep the twin islands away from this danger.

Warnings / other dangers

One foreigner per year in average drowns in the river in Si Phan Don. Avoid beers while tubing, and remember to go out of the water before the French bridge, because there are dangerous rapids after, with fatal waterfalls.

If the island may seem peaceful, safe and secured, be aware there are burglaries sometimes in some wooden bungalows of the island. Keep your precious belongings with you.

Remember to drink enough water everyday in Don Det to hydrate yourself, especially if you absorb alcohol. The weather is particularly hot and rude on the island, and some tourists get headaches or fever after a while. Don't panic if you meet this disease, it's more frequent than you'd imagine. But drinking regularly enough mineral water while your stay may prevent you from being sick. We recommand the Tigerhead mineral water, or the Dao mineral water, both better than the cheap 1-liter bottles.
Try to stay away from the sun rays for the same reason, since you might become more pale than suntanned !

There're a few snakes in Don Det, but only really few dangerous ones. The bite might be painful, but most likely not serious. Scorpions and tarentulas are also present although rarely spotted, and not dangerous.

If you go out in the evening, on foot or by bicycle, bring a flashlight to find your way back !

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