Visa Run to Laos 2016

Visa Run to Laos 2016

Visa Run to Laos 2016

We had to go to Laos again last week for visa reasons that I won’t bore you with. I am not a big fan of the country; I have never had a good trip there – not once in ten visits – although I have met many lovely Laotians in Thailand. I can only assume that those who stay at home are very poor, or are born thieves, but the ones who make it to Thailand either make more money or are deterred by the thought of deportation.

I want to apologise to all the decent Laotians living at home, but I haven’t met you yet.

Laos is boring, that is the first thing. Even in the capital, Vientiane, everything, pubs, clubs and restaurants, closes at nine to nine thirty. The second thing is that the food is boring and two to three times the price in Thailand; thirdly, service is awful, because most Laoations have never been anywhere and so don’t know any better, and fourth is that you have to double-check every transaction you make, because you will often uncover a scam – you can never let your guard down, because the second you do, someone will have you over.

Our first problem this time was at the border. The visa to Laos officially costs $36, but if you don’t have USD, and how many Aussies or Europeans do, you have to pay 1,500 Baht? However, $36 is only 1,152 Baht L

I aid 2,000 and waited for my passport back. While standing there, three American youths told the border guard that they had their passports but were 500Baht short on change. The guard handed the money over without a thought, although they had had their passports ten to fifteen minutes before. I had never seen a mistake like that before.

Ten minutes later, I was given my passport and I walked away. Normally, I would have just put it in my pocket or dropped it into my wife’s bag, but this time we needed the 500 change for the taxi.

There was no 500 note, so I went back and the guard gave me my change with no argument.

This has to be because they are stealing the money, but don’t want a fuss. Or not?

So, we got in our taxi, and took off. I had done my research and knew that the distance was 15km. I was happy with the fee, but how long does it take to drive 15km (<10 miles) down a motorway?

Try thirty minutes, then we stopped somewhere and waited. No explanation – the driver didn’t speak English or Thai. I was starting to build myself up to say something, because my Thai would never have done it) and he pointed at two young teen girls walking towards us. They got in. he was picking his granddaughters up from school!

Then, in the very same village, he ‘didn’t know’ where our hotel was and drove around and around.

In a village where his grandkids go to school?!

Pull the other one…

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All the best,

Owen

PS: Come back tomorrow to read about the hotel (it was good J ).

Podcast: Visa Run to Laos 2016