Medical Kit

Human Medical Kit:


The basic kit I carry for Laos:

  • Sterile Swabs / Cotton wool
  • Ethyl Alcohol (a big bot)
  • Betadine
  • Sterile gauze & dressings
  • Bandages & tape
  • Elastoplast
  • Antibiotic cream: Faucedin or Lymarin
  • Antibiotics: Augmentin (not sun sensitive), Azithromycin is a really strong anti biotoic, or Doxycycline (if you worry about malaria), but Doxy makes you sun sensitive & you can burn very easily.
  • Painkiller (strong): Tylenol with Codeine, Tramadol (for broken bones) if obtainable at pharmacy. Ponstan 500 works well for toothaches.
  • Anti diarrhoea / dysentery: Immodium & Disento. Immodium is just a “bung.” Disento works when you get a real bait – stomach cramps, vomiting, fever, and the general “runs.” It saved 3 riders on the same tour in Laos, in December 2001 (don’t eat barbequed porcupine!)
  • Insect bite cream: Esperson
  • Scissors & tweezers
  • Lip & Sun cream
  • Anti histamine (for allergies / hay fever)
  • Eye drops / Optrex.
  • Cold tablets: Tiffy or Napex.

Disento is an absolute proven winner for an upset tummy every time.

All of the above can be bought at the “right” pharmacy in Chiang Mai, without a prescription. This kit may not be 100% complete, but it has never been seriously tested after numerous trips into Northern Laos, the secret being to stay upright on your machine.

The best two pharmacies in Chiang Mai are Peera and Dara Bhasaj

Dara Bhasaj pharmacy has a huge selection of medicines.

Spare spectacles. I got caught out in Laos in March 2001, when a screw dropped out of my specs frame, a lens popped out & smashed on the asphalt – freaky. The next 4 days riding was somewhat more demanding.


I personally don’t worry about, but your local doctor might say otherwise. Your biggest worry is falling off the bike, patching yourself up and getting to a proper medical facility in time (especially in Laos.).

You can’t protect yourself 100% against the little mozzies, so just do whatever you can – wear long sleeves and long pants, put on your mozzie repellent and have a few whiskies to keep the blighters at bay. There is no one anti-malaria medication that can protect you against all the current strains; and the one evil mozzie that might get you, will probably be the one that you’re not covered for.

Serious riders in S E Asia don’t worry about getting bitten by mozzies; they worry about getting run over by a truck or bus, not by a mozzie.


The basic kit I recommend for Laos if going off road & roughing it

  • Spare key & tyre gauge.
  • Tools & rags.
  • Levers – clutch & brake.
  • Cables – clutch & throttle.
  • Fuses.
  • Oil & electrical spray.
  • Flat tyre kit: tubes / plugs / levers / pump / valves.
  • Spark plug & plug wrench / Allen key set.
  • Tape: duct & insulation.
  • Tow rope & wire.
  • Chain lube, if you don’t have a Scottoiler.
  • Glue: 5 min epoxy / Super glue / Adhesive.
  • Spare nuts & bolts.
  • Spare chain & link (only if your chain is on the way out when you leave, best put on a new one before you go.)

Read some more ideas from GT Riders here.

The GT Rider