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Thoughts on Laos

Thoughts on Laos

Length of stay: 21st September 2006 to 12th October 2006  

Old proverb: “Vietnamese plant rice. Cambodians watch the rice. Laotians listen to the rice grow.”

I almost took the same route as my first trip to Laos. It started from Vientianne and head towards to Udomxay. This time, I detoured a little bit here and there in search of adventure and gun-toting desperados.

To my dismay, I didn’t find much of either.

Instead, I saw profound excesses of inactivity. Laotians who sway languidly in their hammocks. Idle men lawn-bowl from morning to evening. In the villages, dust-coated children stared at me with blank eyes. Teenagers laze on raised platforms under their bamboo huts. The world was winding down and the second-hand on my watch ticked slower and slower.

Pieter (A Belgium whom I met in Cambodia) once told me, “The Lao don’t care. Once they have made their five dollars for the day, they’ll say enough. ‘I will sleep in hammock now. I don’t want to do anymore business for today.’ And they do that! They’ll turn away all opportunities to do business!” 

Perhaps it is true that Laotians are remarkably indifferent. But they are also one of the most hospitable people that I’ve met. During my stay, I’ve practiced English with young humble monks, had a ribald lunch with a bus crew (I don’t speak Lao, they don’t speak English), listened to a teacher-in-training expound on the glories of his home province (of course, I was invited to his home for dinner), celebrated Buddhist Lent with crazy crazy villagers, listened to life stories and ambitions from young do-gooders and grilled my guide about BIG OLD jars sitting helter-skelter on mine-ridden plains.

There probably is a lesson that can be learnt from the Laos people. But for the life of me, I can’t figure out what it is.

My Laos Itinerary 


Length of stay (days)



Ban Tha Heua




Vang Vieng




Luang Prabang


Nong Khiaow






Categories: Uncategorized
  1. February 28, 2007 at 12:49 pm

    Very good journey and impressed travel thoughts 🙂 Thanks for sharing your pictures.


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