Seven Things You Must Know About Laos Tourism

You have to know that people in Laos thing to do are shy and modest and always cover their knees and shoulders and bath in public wearing all their clothes so the contrast with tourists is quite crazy. Many don’t make any effort to respect the local culture, just think to party and drink and wear very inappropriate clothes: there are heaps of women in mini-mini shorts, men bare chested, and we even saw women bathing in a waterfall wearing j-strings! Coming directly from West China, we are quite shocked to see so many tourists and the behaviour of some of them makes us feel a little bit sad and sick.

Prices are generally quite high and locals may not be as welcoming as in other parts of Laos. Tourism is the main (only?) source of income of this little town. It’s quite a charming city altogether and also a UNESCO World Heritage, were one can visit a lot of beautiful temples and see the strong French influence in the architecture and local culture.

Luang Prabang is a colonial town sitting on the edge of a very pretty peninsula at the merging point of the Mekong river and a lesser watercourse. One of our informations remains true though: the engine makes a hell of a noise! No local people, except for our drivers.

It looks new, with fancy curtains and soft bus seats and… 70 tourists! The boat is not at all what we were told! Until we realise the truth, just after buying our 250000kip tickets (US$30).

From what we know, we should be travelling on an old ship to Luang Prabang, with the noise and smell of the rattling engine, no seats, but bags of rice in piles, among the local people. Here, there is no road following the Mekong river on which to walk, so we choose to take a slow boat. The initiatives are enhanced with photos, maps, general travel information, and tips on local cultural practices.

Special attention is awarded to Champasak province. The region features the historic Vat-Phou temple complex, one of two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Laos, and the spectacular Si Phan Don (Four Thousand Islands), a natural archipelago in the Mekong River.According to Tim Gamper, Swisscontact’s Regional Representative in Laos, the most important element in creating a market identity has consisted of bringing together tourism sector stakeholders from the public and private sector, spanning different provincial borders and business marketing support provided includes a website and new guidebook featuring many activities and places of interest. The four provinces Salavan, Sekong, Attapeu, and Champasak have joined together and from now on will be marketed a single destination.

But the town, says Frichitthavong, has been utterly destroyed. Go two or three miles in any direction outside and the gentle, bucolic Lao lifestyle remains unchanged. But few places are such models of total self-implosion as Vang Vieng.

There are countless examples in Asia alone, from Kuta Beach in Bali to Angkor Wat in Cambodia to just about everywhere in Thailand.