Laos 2015: Notes from an Occasional Visitor

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Laan Yaa Mo
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Laos 2015: Notes from an Occasional Visitor

Post by Laan Yaa Mo » June 29, 2015, 7:13 pm

The flight from Toronto to Bangkok via Helsinki, Finland on Finn Air passed without incident. I left Toronto on the 26th at 10:30 p.m., and got off the airplane at 7:40 a.m. The flight was made more pleasant by the young very attractive Finnish student sitting/sleeping beside me. By 8:10 I was through customs, collected my luggage and on my way to the bus station. At 9 I was headed to Khon Kaen where I arrived at 4:30 in the afternoon. The bus company served quite a bit of food, which was a very sweet, as my blood sugar reading rose to 14.3, which is not good. Diabetics will understand what that means.

The other bad thing was that I nicked someone else's bag when I got off the bus. I discovered this by the time I reached the Roma Hotel and could not open the luggage. Stupid me! The bus company tracked it down on the bus headed to Udonthani. At 9:40 last night, a female employee of the bus company delivered it to me at my hotel. Who said Thais are inefficient and not friendly toward foreigners?

This morning I got my visa from the Lao Consulate and will be headed to Viang Chan (Vientiane) tomorrow morning via Nong Khai.

In addition, I noticed that I failed to pack underwear and my umbrella so I walked over to Central and back from the hotel. It sure was hot.

The worst part of the trip so far is finding out that the Canadian dollar has fallen from 31 baht to 25 baht. Thus, the usual $15/night room at the Roma has risen to $20/night, and the Lao visa has gone from $65 to $78.

Most of my time in Khon Kaen has been spent sleeping.

So it goes.


ເຮົາຈະລ່ວງພັ້ນຄວາມຕາຍໄປ່ບໍ່ໄດ

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Laos 2015: Notes from an Occasional Visitor

Post by jackspratt » June 29, 2015, 7:43 pm

It is very difficult to get a reliable weather report from Nong Khai.
As you pass through, would it be possible to pause for a moment, and bring us up to date with the latest?

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Laos 2015: Notes from an Occasional Visitor

Post by Laan Yaa Mo » June 29, 2015, 8:57 pm

I would only be too pleased to provide a reliable weather report from Nong Khai. It seems no-one can get it right to date. By the way, are you changing your avatar? Nothing shows from the area one would expect to view your iconic image.
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Laos 2015: Notes from an Occasional Visitor

Post by jackspratt » June 29, 2015, 9:07 pm

No change in my avatar, Uncle. [-(

Just some dunderhead has decided to hijack it - much to the astonishment of a number of members who have contacted me, and expressed their surprise that UM management would allow it. ;)

Strange fellow, that!

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Laos 2015: Notes from an Occasional Visitor

Post by Laan Yaa Mo » June 29, 2015, 10:13 pm

Downunder, if that is who is doing this dastardly deed, is breaking the Map's copyright laws, and should face the severest penalty. Silly man.

Well, we all hope to see you up and walking about soon.
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Laos 2015: Notes from an Occasional Visitor

Post by 747man » June 30, 2015, 2:04 pm

jackspratt wrote:It is very difficult to get a reliable weather report from Nong Khai.
As you pass through, would it be possible to pause for a moment, and bring us up to date with the latest?
A Very UN-Reliable weather report for you......Its Gonna be 38c in Nongers Today,With SNOW Showers & A Heavy FROST Tonight...... [-X [-X [-X

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Laos 2015: Notes from an Occasional Visitor

Post by GT93 » June 30, 2015, 2:27 pm

I love these threads where the porridge is stirred with great humour.

If I find a photo of Klinger's arse I might change my avatar. Zids will now be trying to hunt that down.

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Laos 2015: Notes from an Occasional Visitor

Post by Laan Yaa Mo » June 30, 2015, 8:19 pm

The day got off on the wrong foot. I went out to Bus Station #3 in Khon Kaen to get the bus to Viang Chan only to learn that it had left at 8 (I was there at 8:30), and the next bus did not depart until 3 in the afternoon. So, I took the 10 a.m. bus to Udon, went to Central for lunch, and hopped on the 2 p.m. bus bound for Laos.

I was supposed to provide an accurate weather report for Nong Khai but as soon as the bus left Udon, I fell asleep and was only woken with people walking by me on their way to Customs.

A few people remember me at the riverfront market, but most surprising of all is that I was propositioned by a young lady outside her apartment around 8 at night. Before I could say anything I got the one hour rate, the two hour rate and the all night rate, which were all the same. 55+

Earlier the hotel supervisor advised me he could bring me a young lady for the night. What has happened to Laos?
This did not happen last year. The hotel is under new management, but the lady on the street is a welcome change from the ladyboy brigades that hit the streets last year as soon as the Sun went down.

As far as I could tell, having just woken, the weather in Nong Khai was quite hot but it was breezy with a blue sky and many clouds floating around the sky. I think a more qualified individual who actually lives in Nong Khai had better take responsibility for future weather reports.
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Laos 2015: Notes from an Occasional Visitor

Post by Laan Yaa Mo » July 17, 2015, 4:43 pm

It looks only about 100 kms from Hanoi on a map LYM? Are there many Vietnamese living there? Nong Khai might feel like Paris compared Sam Neua? 555+ GT93

I'm curious LYM, I know that some Lao and Thai words are similar. Does Sam Neua (สามเนื้อ) mean "three meat" in Lao? Or, am I totally out in left field? I'd be interested to know the Lao meaning of the town name. Shado

Yes, most of the people here are Vietnamese, and signs are posted in Lao and Vietnamese. There are very few Lao, but quite a few tribal people none of whom I recognise.

I am not sure what Sam (Xam) Neua means. The Nam (river) Sam flows through the town so that might have something to do with it.

There are many signs of wealth in new homes, new hotels, and government buildings. But fashion looks dreary and dated.

I lost my guidebook which might have had the meaning of the town.

People are curious about the falang. And, they are very friendly, young and old. I have only seen 3 other falangs pass through two of which were nice Christian missionaries who liked to clutch their Bibles and Beer Laos.

Mostly, I communicate in Lao.

There are some interesting sites in and around the city.

Although flights are advertised, none take place. This means a gruelling 8-hour bus ride from Xiang Khouang with lots of hairpin turns when you don't know if anything is coming the other way.

* mods perhaps this and the two questions should be moved to my new Lao thread.
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Laos 2015: Notes from an Occasional Visitor

Post by Laan Yaa Mo » July 17, 2015, 5:03 pm

Are there many police and soldiers around in Sam Neua? Are you free to move around at night or do safety issues make you wary of this? - GT93 » July 16, 2015, 3:03 pm

I have rarely seen any police in Laos. So, I was surprised the other day in Sayaboury about 2 in the afternoon to see a police car roll by and stop at a karaoke place. Out stepped a beautiful lady followed a bit later by a police officer. When I returned to my hotel a few hours later the police car was still parked in the same spot. Of course, they may be married and that may be their residence.

In the capital, Viang Chan, I have seen a few officers manning booths that control the lights at corners.Those are the only police I have seen.

I have seen army camps in Sam Neua, Vieng Xai and on the road between Luang Namtha and Muang Sing.

Yes, one is free to move around at night but most places outside the capital are closed by 9 or 10, and the lamposts are turned off around 9. This made me uneasy the first time I was in a taxi at night from the bus station in Savannakhet going to the Hoongthip Hotel. From the lights of the station we were plunged into total darkness and I wondered if this is it, the cabbie is going to stop the taxi get out and rob me of everything and leave my body for the insects to devour. 555+

Laos is really safe although there have been a few reported incidents of muggings against foreigners in the capital. I walked around Sam Neua in total darkness last night for an hour or so with not a worry in the world. I feel totally safe here.

By the way, I think I mentioned somewhere about losing my travel book on my first night in Sam Neua. Last evening around six when the main market was closing a young lady spotted me and called out that she had found my guide book. I need help like this. Last week when I was getting on a tuk-tuk for the bus to take me from Luang Prabang to Xieng Khouang (Phonsavan) the mae baan (hotel maid) came running to me with my camera that I had left behind.


And, for the really curious, here is a song about Sam Neua from 10 years ago.

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Laos 2015: Notes from an Occasional Visitor

Post by Laan Yaa Mo » July 17, 2015, 5:22 pm

A few days ago I visited Vieng Xai and wrote this about my little adventure,

I returned from an interesting trip to Vieng Xai. There is no bus station and one gets off the bus and walks the kilometre or so into town. On the return to Sam Neua I waited at the crossroads like Robert Johnson for the bus. A kind store owner, who was shelling corn, gave me a stool to sit on during the 45-minute wait. The bus was packed to the gills when it arrived with passengers sitting on rice sacks in the aisles as they had run out of small plastic chairs. I got a rice sack up near the driver and the ticket collector. It was a hair-rising twisting and turning ride through the hills with many hairpin turns. The many curves caused a number of females to throw up, which is why Lao bus companies have a plentiful supply of plastic bags to supply the passengers with weak constitutions. We all arrived safely in Sam Neua although there were a few times the bus made a sharp turn and has to hug the side of the road owing to oncoming traffic that had ventured onto our side of the narrorw road. And the lady who had fallen asleep with her head resting beside me on the rice bag woke up on a daze right on time. 555+
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Laos 2015: Notes from an Occasional Visitor

Post by 747man » July 17, 2015, 6:14 pm

Well Uncle, Sounds a bit like Dementure is setting in ???

By the way, I think I mentioned somewhere about losing my travel book on my first night in Sam Neua. Last evening around six when the main market was closing a young lady spotted me and called out that she had found my guide book. I need help like this. Last week when I was getting on a tuk-tuk for the bus to take me from Luang Prabang to Xieng Khouang (Phonsavan) the mae baan (hotel maid) came running to me with my camera that I had left behind.

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Laos 2015: Notes from an Occasional Visitor

Post by Laan Yaa Mo » July 17, 2015, 6:23 pm

I think you hit the nail on the head. 55+ And, in Khon Kaen, I took the wrong luggage while mine made a solo trip to Udon. Luckily, the bus company shipped it back to me and had it delivered to me at The Roma Hotel that evening.
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Laos 2015: Notes from an Occasional Visitor

Post by GT93 » July 18, 2015, 11:18 am

Great thread uncle. You're an adventurous spirit to be doing this. I should do some trips like this before I too get forgetful. :D

Be careful. If you take the wrong bus you might end up in Hanoi. :D

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Laos 2015: Notes from an Occasional Visitor

Post by 747man » July 18, 2015, 1:30 pm

GT93 wrote:Great thread uncle. You're an adventurous spirit to be doing this. I should do some trips like this before I too get forgetful. :D

Be careful. If you take the wrong bus you might end up in Hanoi. :D
Or God Forbid, Nong Khai,Even..... :lol:

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Laos 2015: Notes from an Occasional Visitor

Post by Laan Yaa Mo » July 18, 2015, 4:47 pm

747man wrote:
Or God Forbid, Nong Khai,Even..... :lol:[/quote]

I already passed through Nong Khai with the intent of doing a proper and accurate weather report from that fabled burgh. However, I slept through it, and was startled on wakening to find people were filing out of the bus to check through Thai and Lao immigration.
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Laos 2015: Notes from an Occasional Visitor

Post by 747man » July 18, 2015, 7:39 pm

Laan Yaa Mo wrote:
747man wrote:
Or God Forbid, Nong Khai,Even..... :lol:
I already passed through Nong Khai with the intent of doing a proper and accurate weather report from that fabled burgh. However, I slept through it, and was startled on wakening to find people were filing out of the bus to check through Thai and Lao immigration.[/quote]Jeezus............After Me Bleedin' Job Now !! :lol: :lol:

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Laos 2015: Notes from an Occasional Visitor

Post by GT93 » July 19, 2015, 2:42 am

Stand easy 747 man. Uncle is a bit forgetful and I doubt his reports would be as reliable and regular as yours. You've also built up a reputation the envy of many of udonmap's finest posters. Uncle would need to lengthen his stride to match that.

Commiserations on the Toffees loss to the Gunners but at least your mob got a goal. if that's what it's called, in their second game in Singapore. :D

The Toffees?

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Laos 2015: Notes from an Occasional Visitor

Post by the-monk » July 19, 2015, 7:18 pm

This September i might go to Vientiane then proceed to Vang Vieng in Laos.
Any up-to-date info about public transportation from Vientiane to Vang Vieng ?
Hotels and activities recommendations in Vang Vieng !!
I will come back to UD via Friendship bridge ( Nong Khai ) for visa renewal.
Thanks in advance.

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Laos 2015: Notes from an Occasional Visitor

Post by fantom » July 19, 2015, 8:34 pm

Last year bought tickets in Vientiane for VIP bus to Vang Vieng next morning. What happened was 2 songthaews rounded up those travellers who had bought tickets, went and waited at side of main road North from bridge hoping to intercept a bus from Thailand, eventually gave up on that and took us all (about 2 dozen pax) to the northern bus station of Vientiane where they started negotiations with drivers of 2 or 3 empty buses. We eventually departed Vientiane in an ordinary, very ordinary, bus, 2 hours and 45 minutes later than the departure time we had expected. VIP bus was a myth. However, in Udon Thani recently I saw a bus on which was painted "Udon Thani to Vang Vieng", suggest you make enquiries at Udon bus station.

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