Has anyone been to Laos?

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fax
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Re: Has anyone been to Laos?

Post by fax » Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:23 pm

I went to Vientiane which was a ladyboy infested shithole
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Re: Has anyone been to Laos?

Post by phuketrichard » Mon Feb 11, 2019 9:25 pm

Brody wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:12 pm
I have been thinking about a trip to Laos for many years now.

I really, really want to see the Plain of Jars.

Maybe it's time to stop thinking and start doing.
do it and combine it with a visit to the "secret city" of Long Tieng which has recently opened to travelers.
FYI; best to have ur own transport in laos as it makes the country more entertaining :beer3:
also travel way south to 4,000 islands near the Cambodian border

Menu in Vang Vieng in 2012

https://phuket.zenfolio.com/p409010745/ ... #h4cc75006
pot, opium, mushrooms :beer3:
In a nation run by swine, all pigs are upward-mobile and the rest of us are fucked until we can put our acts together: not necessarily to win, but mainly to keep from losing completely. HST
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Re: Has anyone been to Laos?

Post by Brody » Mon Feb 11, 2019 9:44 pm

Brody wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:12 pm
I have been thinking about a trip to Laos for many years now.

I really, really want to see the Plain of Jars.

Maybe it's time to stop thinking and start doing.
A semi-humorous anecdote to add as addendum.

Years back, at work we had a new lad hire on. My best mate told me that this guy had traveled extensively through Laos and that I should ask him about it and all that he got up to whilst there. The last bit my mate said with a wink.

So, I started chatting this bloke up and he was affable and amiable. We got on like a house on fire and he filled my head with wondrous stories of exotic, secluded Laos, what to see, what to do, etc.

I was sure I'd latched onto a kindred spirit. So I naively went in for the kill. I commenced to ask him about the forbidden night life and how to negotiate around the staunch laws governing conduct between foreigners and Lao women and how to go about acquiring some seductive, body heat companionship to liven up a solitary evening.

It was at this point that he recoiled from me in horror and made a face as if I had just dumped a brimful of boiling chai onto his lap.

Our conversation evaporated soon there after despite a few awkward segue attempts and I was left standing alone, bereft if not a bit confused.

Confused that is until I noticed my mate giggling to himself across the room, from whom later I learned that our new workmate was one of the most devout and resolute Mormons this side of the Salt Lake.

Things turned out alright in the end. The Morman and I became chummy once again, he even showed me the magic undergarments they are required to wear.

He eventually moved on to greener pastures in the hopes of locating more amenable prospects for religious conversion.

I wished him well.

phuketrichard wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 9:25 pm
Menu in Vang Vieng in 2012

https://phuket.zenfolio.com/p409010745/ ... #h4cc75006
pot, opium, mushrooms :beer3:
Holy Shit! I hope that's still an accurate menu once I make my way there.
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Re: Has anyone been to Laos?

Post by shnoukieBRO » Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:28 pm

Jamie_Lambo wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 7:33 pm
shnoukieBRO wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 12:51 am
Was first there like 13 years ago. Was nice.

Now it's busier. Vang Vieng is almost unrecognizable since the foreigners have taken over. Still lots of nice stuff to see and do.

Chill ax vibes too
i was there early 2013 and it seemed nice, has it changed much since then?
Image
Vang Vieng got built up quite a bit and the wild side has been mostly tamed down.
The rest I saw of Laos looks busier and less interesting than before . That's tourism I guess.
Better hip beach days on Ko Rong!
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Re: Has anyone been to Laos?

Post by RickyBobby » Mon Feb 11, 2019 11:50 pm

Is it true you cannot be in a hotel room with a woman who is not your wife? (legally) And how would that work if you traveled with your Cambodian 'wife' who is not legally your wife.
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Re: Has anyone been to Laos?

Post by hanno » Tue Feb 12, 2019 4:19 am

RickyBobby wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 11:50 pm
Is it true you cannot be in a hotel room with a woman who is not your wife? (legally) And how would that work if you traveled with your Cambodian 'wife' who is not legally your wife.
It is true but only enforced if one of the persons is Laotian.
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Laos Excerpt from "The Book"

Post by Cinnamoncat » Tue Feb 12, 2019 4:33 am

Here's an excerpt from the book I'm writing. We traveled through Laos. That was twenty-five years ago now.


Laos


Ken and I watched the Mekong River like we were thirsty cattle. It paralleled main street in Chiang Saen. Giant slab-like steps led down to the water, and we sat and watched. The water was a muddy chocolate brown, unusual to us. In Eugene, Oregon, the Willamette River ran through town. The Willamette River never looked brown like this. I grew up in Canby, Oregon, where river waters—the Molalla, Willamette, and Pudding—were dark blue, blackish, or jade green. The milk chocolate brown water was different. This river was tremendous, deep and wide. A lot of water flowed cold and fast.

Ken’s plan was to cross the Mekong River from Chiang Kong to Ban Huay Xai, in Laos. It was time to head down south again, and why not Laos? We hadn’t been there yet. Maybe we would see the Plain of Jars, and we planned to visit Luang Prabang and Vientiane. We could take a journey down the length of the Mekong River, exploring the river and some parts of Laos.
Other Westerners didn’t seem to be making this trip at the time, but it seemed plausible. We’d heard that banditry existed on some of the roads in Laos. We could travel by boat to Luang Prabang, and then continue on a bus to Vientiane. From there, we’d take a public bus from Vientiane to Savhannaket, Laos. We’d cross into Vietnam via Laos Baos at the DMZ.

I was unafraid, and if Ken was nervous, he hid it well. We made journeys together that we wouldn’t have done alone. We slept in a guesthouse on the Mekong, and had sweet coffee with eggs in the morning. We didn’t talk much when we were embarking on an adventure. Every morning, we embraced for a minute, kissed then checked under beds. Then, we were out the door.

After we crossed the Mekong River, we found a guesthouse and later went to eat. Ken ordered from the menu at an open-air restaurant. The waiter shook his head, “Bad idea.” Ken insistently pointed at his choice. When the order arrived, it was a bowl of fish eyes. We laughed pretty hard. That restaurant worker understood foreign aesthetics.

Our backpacks weren’t big frame packs we used on our Cascade Range hikes. They were the small daypacks we used at university, big enough for basic toiletry items, a change of clothes, a pair of flip-flops. No one had cellphones back then, or iPads, or anything like that. My heavy item was my Canon AE1. I tried to keep from damaging it, wrapping it in a heavy T-shirt.
Travel in the exposed longtail boat in driving rain was numbing, and our bodies cramped from holding our knees with our arms and hunkering down. Ken carefully stretched a little, up ahead of me, and then quickly grabbed a calf or a thigh, beating it with his fist. I did the same to my own cramping legs. He was absolutely drenched, water streaming down his back as he sat in a tight little ball. Quick dry pants? No. We wore light cotton trousers.

Elephants worked along the banks, moving logs for mahouts who rode them with bare feet and checked scarves tied around their waists. The occasional elephant sightings interrupted hours of sitting in hunched positions in the canoe-like boat with the deafening outboard motor. It was monotonous, difficult travel, and our Columbia rain jackets didn’t keep us dry.

Ken and I traveled in the long tail boat down the Mekong River over a period of two days. There is a photo of me starting out the second morning, with my long, light-brown hair falling down my shoulders, staring straight down. Ken later reminded me that I was angry with him. He could be short-tempered when he was under stress, and the boat caused him some anxiety. In the photo, I’m clearly unhappy, but those who don’t know me wouldn’t see it.

I didn’t express anger. It wasn’t acceptable for me growing up, and I got quiet when I was mad. I retreated inward, preferring to let time pass rather than fight. I was probably angry about the helmets, thinking back. The longtail boatman had given us ridiculous broken helmets without straps that fastened. I wore it for a while, but it wouldn’t have helped. Hours went by. I felt my 34-year-old body stiffening. I sat on my butt, with my knees up, as Ken did. There was no backrest, and the seat was hard. The rain was heavy.

The guy in back operated a noisy outboard motor, and we seriously flew down that river. I remember thinking of how screwed we would be if we hit a log. We finally reached Pak Beng. We disembarked at a muddy bank, and a few Laotian children soon disappeared to reappear a few minutes later with what looked to be the entire population of the village. Men, women, and children lined the banks in sarongs and dirty shirts, and some of the toddlers on the bank were naked. The muddy bank, rich brown in color, was so slippery that we slipped and slid our way up. There was nothing graceful about our arrival, and we were muddy, drenched clones—both in dirty khaki pants, matching rain jackets, and our mud-streaked white skin. We weren’t used to being stared at like this, either.

A hundred eyes watched our every move. A hundred ears keened to hear our muttered curses, as we had to put our hands down to keep from falling. We gave in to the situation and just started laughing. At the top of the bank, our boatman pointed ahead, plodding forward to lead us to a hotel. He walked through the main street, a muddy track with potholes filling with water, and led us to a hotel. The entire community walked along with us.

We got a room for perhaps five dollars and unpacked, washed up a bit in a bathroom with a stunning view of the Mekong River—which I photographed—and put on dry clothes, after rinsing out our mud-splashed pants. We were used to getting wet and dirty, but this was hard travel. Our rinsed out clothes hung throughout the small room, and we left the room to look for food and beer.

We walked back toward the river, to a cafe near the bank. We sat down and a Laotian who spoke English approached us. We were delighted to have some company. He asked if he could join us, and of course we said yes. As with most bilingual people, he had an intelligent and inquisitive mind.
“Do either of you speak Lao?” he asked.
“No, we don’t.”
“Do either of you speak Thai?”
“No, just some basics.”
“Where exactly are you going?”
“Probably Vietnam, after we see Luang Prabang and Vientiane.”

He explained the attention we got on arrival, “Most of the people here have never seen foreigners.” He was concerned about our lack of language skills. The waiter approached, and he helped us order chicken with rice, our go-to meal. We had a Lonely Planet SE Asia, and would’ve fumbled around with ordering, so it was helpful he was there.

We also had beer, Beer Laos! We’d earned that. Nothing cheered Ken up like a successful journey. His long, brown hair was slicked back into a ponytail, and as we chatted, he took his glasses off and wiped them occasionally, as it was moist and they steamed up. His beard and mustache at that time were a rusty-red color, and the short bristle of hair under his lower lip was light blonde. People of Southeast Asia were fascinated with the mix of colors, and the children would sidle up to him to lightly stroke the hair on his forearms. This evening, though, we enjoyed our meal without children trying to touch him. Later, the hotel presented some challenges.

Ken was a light sleeper, and I’d experienced a stressful day. I lost $70.00 in the boat. Somehow it worked its way out of my soaking wet jeans pocket. We carried quite a bit of money, but not so much that I could throw it away. I didn’t tell Ken. I didn’t want to get harangued for losing money. With the financial hit on my mind, I struggled to sleep.

At 10 p.m., a nearby occupant and his friend returned from the restaurant. They talked, clinked glasses, and laughed loudly. Ken was stirring a bit. I couldn’t fall asleep, and finally got up. Ken mentioned they were keeping him awake, and thought I’d be a good diplomat for the situation. That was all the encouragement I needed.

I lightly tapped on their door, and a Laotian guy opened it. He and his friend were sitting in the tiny room surrounded by beer bottles, and a bottle of whiskey. Cigarette smoke wafted out. How could they party in this wretched space? I explained I wanted to sleep—making a sleep gesture with praying hands folded under my tilted face and shut my eyes. Unfortunately, I could not sleep because of the noise! My hand signal for “noise” was kind of an exasperated movement with both hands around my head. The noisier of the two snorted and laughed, and the hotel proprietor came down the hall. The man from the restaurant who spoke English also showed up.
Our friend said, “This guy says that you want to sleep with him!” So much for my sign language abilities. Around this time, Ken came around the corner and heard what was going on. He was amused. After we nervously laughed, the hotel manager ushered us down the hall to a large room with bunk beds. There, an old nun rested. A round, soft-looking woman with a shaved head, she smiled at us, and poured us some tea, the pot making that soothing gurgling noise. We went to bed there.
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Re: Laos Excerpt from "The Book"

Post by fax » Tue Feb 12, 2019 4:51 am

Cinnamoncat wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 4:33 am
We also had beer, Beer Laos!
You mean Beerlao
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Re: Laos Excerpt from "The Book"

Post by hanno » Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:34 am

fax wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 4:51 am
Cinnamoncat wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 4:33 am
We also had beer, Beer Laos!
You mean Beerlao
And they now do a few new, very nice beers. On my last visit, I tried the White Lager and the Amber lager. Both very nice, next time I will try the Hoppy lager.
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Re: Has anyone been to Laos?

Post by simon43 » Tue Feb 12, 2019 7:12 am

Is it true you cannot be in a hotel room with a woman who is not your wife? (legally)
As mentioned, this is true if the woman is Lao.

However, when I was working in Luang Prabang around 2013, I found a place jut out of town stuffed full of horny women where the rule book went out of the window.

I enjoyed my stay in LP :)
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