I’ll start off with the boring stuff: costs. The 2 of us spent NZ$1,915 for everything during our 28 days in the country, equating to $68 a day. However a huge chunk of that ($360) was spent on the 2 day cruise at the beginning of the trip. If we hadn’t have done that we would have been looking at $57 a day. But that was the best part of the whole trip and worth every cent! If you ever decide to do it, look up Nagi of Mekong. Needless to say the budget went out of the window, but that’s what contingencies are for!
It’s taken me a little while to get around to this because I honestly don’t know how I feel about Laos. My overall impression was rather negative, yet I did not want to convey that while writing this. However, as I (and by I, I mean we!) want this blog to fully reflect the good and the bad of our travels, I shall attempt to put in words our feelings towards the country.
First the negatives that we found, the most surprising of which were that the people were far from the happiest we have seen during our travels. To see a Lao person smile was somewhat of a rare occurrence. Also, as has been said in several posts, it is a very relaxing place with not a whole lot to do. However we did get rather bored on more than one occasion – a first for us for any travel destination. Luang Prabang in particular just felt – as my brother aptly described – like one of those themed lands at Disneyland. Perhaps if we visited it after the rest of Laos it would have offered some style and sophistication that tired and travel weary travellers sometimes crave.
The positives? One of the negatives serves as a huge positive…everything is very relaxed. A favourite pastime of ours in Laos was watching stressed out foreigners try and get answers or demand to know why something was late! Once you get into the flow and adjust to Laos time things are very easy going. Never have i been so unconcerned about a 6 hour bus ride turning into 9 hours! Also, more so than any other country, Myanmar included, we felt like we really got to see the real country and the real people. We ventured across more than half a dozen remote villages and had the opportunity to observe real village life. Of course most of the villagers had seen foreigners before, but some certainly still found it a novelty…and it was these villagers that seemed to be the happiest in the country, incomparably more so than the average urban Laos person!
The beer was also exceptional.
As with Myanmar, I think it will take a few months for our experiences to settle in our minds before we truly know what we think. So perhaps a new post will appear when that happens!
I think that’s enough contradiction and switches between personal pronouns. There’s some exploring in Cambodia to do!