Three Mesmerizing Examples Of Laos Tourism
Landmines or unexploded ordinance left over from the Vietnam War maims or kills hundreds of people every year as Laos is the most bombed country in history.
In Vientiane the Thai ID card is usually accepted, but prepare your passport as well. You may be asked to show ID at any time, and a fine (100,000kips) will be imposed if you do not produce documentation on request. Avoid allowing hotels to scan or photocopy your passport, as these digital scans or unmarked photocopies can easily be sold by the hotel Information for Tourist in Laos extra money, and used in illegal money laundering operations.
When checking to a hotel, it is convenient to carry a photocopy of your passport and write over it what hotel you’re giving it to, to ensure that it can’t be reused. Copies of your passport and visa are acceptable, and it is recommended to travel with a copy rather than the original. Identification When in Laos, it is important to always have your passport.
NOTE: If you are taking the direct Khon Kaen to Vientiane bus and you require a visa for Laos, the bus company will not sell you a ticket unless you have a visa already issued. Given that a visa for many countries can be had for USD20-42 at the border, getting a visa at the border is cheaper and quicker. They may take US dollars but it will likely be more expensive than a visa-on-arrival.
Officially, visas can be picked up the next day (or pay an additional THB200 to have the visa issued within 1 hour). Visas for Americans, Britons, and those from several EU countries cost THB1,400 baht/USD45, Australians and New Zealanders pay THB1,200 /USD38, Canadians pay THB1700 /USD54 while Chinese pay THB600/USD20. It was ripped and torn and tattered and hidden away in the corner of a noodle shop, half covered over by a calendar.
I spotted only one ‘Threatened Wildlife in Lao PDR’ poster. Everywhere I look I see posters for health and literacy and cultural sensitivity. Lao public awareness campaigns are in evidence all over town.
I am amazed that there are no signs at the airport or in the hotels or guest houses or restaurants telling the public that this is illegal. The tourists have no idea that purchasing wild animal products and transporting them across borders is illegal. Except, of course, this market, in the middle of Southeast Asia, also sells wild ungulate horns and heads and wild boar tusks and elephant teeth and tortoise shell bracelets and pictures of Buddha painted on the backs of possibly endangered turtles, and pangolin and bear paws and cobra and python skins and peacock feathers — a treasure trove of endangered species body parts.
In all such cities street markets sell similar goods to the same buyers. Camden market in London, Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco, Plaza Mayor in Palma. I could be anywhere in the world.
It is similar to every tacky street market found in some section of any Western city where tourists abound.