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Stay safe in hospital. Laos, Vietnam and the Gili Islands

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Major cities in Asia have excellent hospitals. But what if you’re off the beaten track and need to find a hospital in a hurry?

In our first post, we advised on how to stay safe in hospital wherever you are treated. Now, we take a look at what to do if you are sick in Luang Prabang in Laos, the Gili Islands in Indonesia and Hoi An in Vietnam, all increasingly popular destinations for travellers from Singapore. With Budget Direct Insurance Travel Insurance rest assured you will get the best treatment. 

First Tip

On a visit to any hospital or clinic always take cash, credit cards, passport and your insurance policy. Your online insurance policy should be accessible online. Also, accept that as a tourist you may be charged a lot more than locals. 

What to do if you are in…. 

Luang Prabang

This ancient capital of Luang Prabang Province in northern Laos is a pretty town attracting an increasing number of visitors. It’s known for its many Buddhist temples, including the gilded Wat Xieng Thong, dating to the 16th century and Wat Mai, once the residence of the head of Laotian Buddhism. 

If you get sick you’ll probably be more interested in knowing that the hospital most recommended for tourists is the Lao-China Friendship Hospital, around 5km from the town centre. This hospital may also be known as the Luang Prabang Provincial Hospital or just the Chinese hospital. 

Facilities are limited and if you are really sick it is recommended you leave as soon as you can and fly to Bangkok preferably, or Vetienne or Udon Thani. The flights take around an hour and there are several each day. 

Caution Two other hospitals in or near Luang Prabang, the Foreigners Hospital (don’t be guided by the name) and the Soldiers Hospital are not recommended for holidaymakers. 

Hoi An

Situated on Vietnam’s central coast this well-preserved ancient town is also popular for its nearby sandy beaches. With cheap flights from Singapore to Danang, just up the road, it’s no wonder this town has visitors flocking to its wooden Chinese shophouses, French colonial buildings and famed Japanese bridge. 

It is fairly well served for health care with some foreigners reporting good care at the Pacific Hospital in Hoi An, while expat prices tend to be cheaper at the Hoi An Hospital. There are also several pharmacies in the town. The 24-hour Family Medical Practice in Danang (around 30 minutes away by car) has English speaking doctors. For major emergencies they can organise an SOS evacuation. There is also the Fortis Hoan My Danang Hospital in Danang. 

The Gili Islands

A stunning group of three islands – Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air near the coast of the northwest of Lombok Island in Indonesia. Visitors are attracted by excellent scuba diving, snorkeling and the laid back lifestyle. 

Healthcare is extremely limited on the islands. If things become serious you must travel to nearby Lombok by speedboat (around one hour) and head for the city of Mataram where there are a number of hospitals. 

If you are in the Gilis for diving, check out the safety record of your dive school and the emergency aid they provide. It is highly recommended you have emergency air evacuation included in your travel insurance policy. 

Gili Trawangan has a 24-hour clinic, The Blue Island Medical Clinic, located at Hotel Villa Ombak (the biggest hotel on the island). This clinic can prescribe medicines and perform very minor surgery. 

Tourists report that this is the main place to go, although there is another clinic behind the Art Market (Pasar Seni). Be aware as a foreigner you will be charged a lot more than locals.

Their website claims to have English and Japanese speaking staff. www.blueislandclinic.com 

On the other two Gili Islands, Gili Meno and Gili Air, you will find only small local clinics. 

Wherever you go, whatever you do, remember it’s vital to have good travel cover.
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