Riding Tigers: REPORT #12
|November 26, 1999, Bangkok, Thailand|
Sorry to be out of touch people, but we have been in Laos. When you can find an email outlet, it is 8 times more expensive than in Thailand and a big line of users.
Huay Xai to
to Vang Vieng, then Vientiane, Bangkok
While friendly indeed, the Laotians
are a little more aggressive than Thais. I saw several shouting
matches between locals and watched two rickshaw drivers come
to punches, something that you would likely never see in Thailand.
Money is strange in Laos, the kip is just about worthless so one dollar will get you about 7500 kip. If you change 100 U.S. you are almost a kip millionaire and you need a plastic bag, like a grocery store bag to carry all of the bills out of the bank! You really need to rely on kip, baht and dollars. Take plenty of baht with you in small bills as you will not find it available. Prices are quoted depending on which currency you want to pay in. You basically need a calculator to figure out if the rate your being quoted is good or not. Motel rooms are mostly quoted in dollars, small items in kip...the kip is useless outside of Laos except as a firestarter or toilet paper so plan accordingly...We got a little sick in Laos nothing really bad but lets just say the cleanliness standard is not what it is in Thailand...Awesome scenery... huge mountains...amazing bus rides...great beer and bread...amazing butterflies (can't eat them) ..tough to see wildlife because they eat anything that moves from birds, to monkeys... if you are squeamish about animal abuse you better give Laos a pass...saw two pigs tied with a cable to the back of tuk-tuk screaming loudly as they disappeared in a cloud of dust...Never saw a cat the whole time I was there...wonder how they cook them...Dogs not nearly as aggressive as in Thailand, guess they know that if they act up they are likely to be supper...
Be careful about asking what something cost...that will mean the sky is the limit...watch what other locals pay then say what you will pay for a good or service...Asking a taxi driver "how much" will inflate the price by 10x. State what you are prepared to pay and go up in small increments until the guy says yes...
Lots of backpackers on the Laos trails so if don't expect to have the place to yourself.
In essence, we thought Laos was great. Our trip was cut short there for no other reason than we have been traveling around in the mountains and Mekong valley for two months and we are ready for some blue water, coral reefs and white sand...were headed south next.. stay tuned...
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