April 2009


The first 5 star hotel (according to one news report) is now open in Savannakhet in Laos.

Check out their website, called TYCOONRESORT.COM.

It’s Lao New Year again so wishing you all a Sok Dii Pi Mai (literally Good Luck New Year).

The NYTimes has an excellent article on the water festivities of the New Year celebrations in Myanmar. It’s not quite Lao, but same same.

A friend told me an exquisite Lao fact that I’d never heard of before. Apparently during the Lao New Year festivities, where everyone throws water on each other, there is no need to use the toilet. If you need to go, you can just pour water over yourself while doing it. It’s perfectly acceptable for men and women to do this. What an ingenious way to combat the plague that is massive toilet queues at festival events.

The current political unrest in Bangkok, Thailand will surely be very damaging to the Lao tourism trade. Many people come into Laos through Bangkok, so any disruptions there will block one of the main avenues of tourists into Laos.

I hope that people wanting to travel to Laos will realise that there are many alternate avenues to Laos. Air Asia fly from Kuala Lumpur to Vientiane at very reasonable rates so there should be no reason why problems in Bangkok should stop you coming to Laos.

There are also flights from Vietnam, China and Cambodia to Laos so there are definitely many options on the table for those not wishing to come through Bangkok.

Over the weekend someone recounted to me their wedding photo experience in Laos. A wedding in Vientiane for the reasonably well off will include a wedding photo of the bride and groom. This is taken before the wedding day. It is placed at the front of the reception to greet guests. Signature features of a wedding photo are heavy photo-shopping and an ostentatious gold frame.

In this particular case the groom had hair artifically added to his receding hair line. “It was like standing next to a photo of a stranger”, was how he described it.

The photo store must have been very proud of their work because a few weeks later a friend called to say, “You’re on an 8 foot poster on Dong Palang Road!”. The couple were also printed on the photo store’s business cards. It was the Lao equivalent of being featured in a poster on Time Square.