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Women Travelers in Vang Vieng, Laos Be Warned: A Woman Traveler Got Free Whiskey, Drugged, and She Could Not Remember What Happened Next

A note from the blog owner, Jona: I haven’t been to Vang Vieng myself, but this was not the first time I heard about hostels offering free whiskeys to guests in aaos. Tobias and I stayed in Luang Prabang, Laos for three nights, and we personally had a nasty encounter with the police. Rape and victim blaming/shaming culture is terribly strong everywhere and even institutionalized in poor countries like Laos. So travelers, especially my fellow women out there, please be warned. 

Keshi who recently traveled to Laos originally posted the following in a travel group on Facebook. I asked her permission to have it posted here on Backpacking with a Book.


Hello ladies.

I would like to share a story which happened two days ago in Vang Vieng, Laos, and I really hope to reach those who are planning to go there or other similar destinations in SEA. Pleeease take this seriously! We are helpless, and this is the only thing we can do, warn all of you!

Vang Vieng has some sort of history considering party tourism. Travel guides like Lonely Planet say that these times are over but still, the hostels and the bars serve free alcohol each night, and in fact there is quite a lot partying.

Two days ago, a girl in my dorm room got drugged, robbed, and was found unconscious on the toilet room in Chillao Youth Hostel. She was wearing her dress inside out. She couldn’t remember a single thing from the last 8 to 10 hours. She was terrified, obviously, and we tried to recreate the whole night by talking to bartenders from the area and the guesthouse owners. The results were shocking and left all of us with the most helpless feeling and a furious hate in our guts.

The first bartender told us that the same thing happened to another girl 2 and a half weeks earlier, at the same hostel (Chillao Youth Hostel), while everyone was drinking the free whiskey. She was found with bruises on her arms on the floor in the corridor. Another bartender told us that the hostel has some sort of reputation for cases like that. Weird enough that hostelworld rates it as “great.” [Chillao Youth Hostel is rated four-star on Trip Advisor, primarily for its free whiskey].

So we went to the guesthouse where the girl was found to ask if we could watch the tape of the security camera. We hoped to find out with whom she arrived. The whole conversation with the man behind the desk made me so furious that I wanted to burn the whole damn thing to the ground and cry at the same time.

When the girl went to the police station later that day to get a report letter of the stolen things for her insurance, the police told her that they don’t have the time for small cases like hers. When she refused to leave, they wanted money. When she refused that too, they gave her a blanco formular to write it down herself.

He ignored the fact that one of his colleagues had already called his “boss” earlier that day who told us to come back an hour later (which we did). Then he suddenly said that the camera which they could have shown her is broken. Apart from that, his time is too valuable anyways (sitting there behind his desk in an empty room, sipping a juice), that he’s too busy and it’s not his problem if she can’t take care of herself (completely ignoring the fact that it IS HIS F***ING PROBLEM when a girl was found unconscious, robbed, and potentially raped in HIS damn toilet!).

After she repeated that she got drugged he asked if she could prove it, if she had seen anyone putting something in her drink (yeah sure… drank it anyways!). And when he was done insulting her, he repeated that the camera was broken anyways and even if it wasn’t, the room would be too dark. Meanwhile, the so-called broken camera happily blinked it’s red lights at us. When I told him again that we already had the boss’ approval to watch the tape of the so-called defective camera, he got agressive, asked me what my problem is in a “say something wrong and I hit you in the face” manner and told me that his boss is too busy. While I wanted to set something on fire the girl was smart enough to stay calm, even apologized and asked again, though she was close to tears. In the end, she had to follow him into another room (alone!) to watch the tape of the wrong camera.

All in all it was obvious that whatever could have been seen on this tape was not for our eyes. When we went back to our hostel to ask the same question they simply told us “broken.”

That’s it. No help, no sympathy, nothing. I never felt so helpless.

When the girl went to the police station later that day to get a report letter of the stolen things for her insurance, the police told her that they don’t have the time for small cases like hers. When she refused to leave, they wanted money. When she refused that too, they gave her a blanco formular to write it down herself.

That’s it, there’s nothing more we could have done. So, I don’t ask for advice, I simply want to warn you. And beg you: pleease be careful here!

That girl is a reasonable person who usually takes care of herself. It could have happened to everyone in that room full of way too drunk people. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good drink and definitely a good party. The only thing is look after yourself and others and never let those damn free drinks out of your eyesight!!

I wish all of you the most amazing experiences and safe travels!

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Jona | Backpacking with a Book

Hi, I'm Jona! I write stories and poetry and take a lot of photos, which I'm too lazy to upload. If you want to receive some photos that I don't share here on the blog, please leave your email here. I'm crazy about cats too. Feel free to browse through BWAB, and I would love it if you say hi! For collaborations, projects, and other things, please email me at backpackingwithabook@gmail.com For more stories about BWAB, check here. Connect with us through

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4 Comments

  1. Meshi Dobos says:

    Oh my…. thank you for sharing!

  2. Teja says:

    Thank you for sharing, I was planning to travel to Luang Prabang myself at some point. Huh, maybe it was the owner himself that did it.

  3. Elisa says:

    pfff, what a story! let’s hope that by sharing this post, somebody will do something with that hostel in Vang Vien. I had a wonderful stay in Laos but I stayed out of these party places

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