inconsistent news from southeast asia

Laos-Travelogue  |  Travel time: September 2005 - March 2006  |  by Matthew Audley

Cat's impressions of Laos.

I am really liking Laos so far- although truthfully, we haven't explored much of it yet. We probably won't either since the travel visas are for fifteen days only.
It's different from Thailand, but I can't really put my finger on why. There are the obvious reasons: the money, the language, the governement, but I think for me, the major reason is because Laos isn't so driven by tourists, so the cities aren't so much set up for our benefit. (The last town we went to, however, was too "beer" driven for my liking. The treking descriptions included phrases like "And then we stop for you to get drunk. Once you are drunk, we kayak some more".)

And although I don't consider myself to be a scenery buff, I can't help but marvel at the mountains, and the waterfalls and the natural beauty of this country. (I feel I must point out that Canada is certainly equally beautiful!!!)

I do get the sneaking suspicion that there is a "tourist" price for everything and a "local" price. We paid significantly less (1,000 kip vs. 15,000) for bananas when we bought them after a local person and saw how much they paid, then when we bought them with no idea what the price should be. Although I can't say that we didn't expect it - we have more money and they know it.

I continue to marvel at the children here (and in Thailand too); they are all so friendly, and happy, and so interested in the tourists that come through. They sometimes seem pleasantly surprised when they say "hello", and we actually respond with a wave and a smile. And even though they don't have all the fancy toys that North American children do, you hardly ever see them when they're not laughing and playing with their friends and family. And it never fails to put a smile on my face.

© Matthew Audley, 2005
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The trip
 
Description:
Leaving for bangkok on Sept. 12. Where we go from there is anyone's guess. Hoping to see Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos. Be back in six months or so if everything goes well. There really isn't much of a route planned - we'll see what happens.
Details:
Start of journey: Sep 12, 2005
Duration: 6 months
End of journey: Mar 19, 2006
Travelled countries: Thailand
Canada
Laos
Vietnam
Cambodia
Southeastern Asia
Malaysia
The Author
 
Matthew Audley is an active author on break-fresh-ground. since 13 years.
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