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Is Laos as bad as everyone says?

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I have always enjoyed a few days in Vientiane.  It's quiet, laid-back and there is enough to see to keep you busy for a couple of days if you want to do the tourist thing.  If alternatively you simply want to kick back and enjoy some nice coffee, wine, Western food (particularly French), Vientiane makes a very nice change.  The city centre is small, flat and traffic is nothing like Bangkok so it's easy to get around on foot

 

If you don't like quiet or aren't looking for a quiet break then Vientiane might not be for you.

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Posted (edited)

I love Luang Prabang but for a break from my residence here in LOS.  Vientaine also was nice but we too were put into am overpriced crappo hotel, but not that one.  Perhaps it is a different world for those still trying to live their lives on b2b visas. I would not relish that lifestyle and am glad I have other options.  Good luck and always have a plan B and a plan C as a second backup.  

PS.  Taxi bribing goes on everywhere along with gift shop bribing and massage parlour and brothel bribing ( so I am told) 555.

Edited by The Deerhunter
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Why do people seem to think that having 20,000 in cash money at one time is some tremendous hurdle? There was a thread awhile back that was funny as hell. Some dude pretending to be rich but is the discerning type of millionaire that never carries cash.

 

So they kicked his "rich" ass out like some bum on the street. lol I guess he didn't have any credit on his phone to call some of his powerful friends. 

 

 

If you can't be bothered to carry $600 in real money you should just be banned automatically for a year. Maybe in that time you can scrape such large amounts together.

 

In all seriousness this is about as low as you can set the bar. Heck I even know some bars that would require that much cash in order to be welcome there. 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Is  Vientiane still a nightmare when it comes to queuing for the visa and all the queue jumpers? I went there once and swore never to go again. The city itself is very pleasant. Nobody forces anyone to use the tuk tuks as buses, cycling and walking are all good options.

Edited by edwardandtubs

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1 minute ago, edwardandtubs said:

Because it makes you an obvious target for robbery.

Is that really the going excuse these days? If you feel it is that risky to carry $600 in cash you probably are safer staying home anyway. lol 

 

As far as reasonable excuses go that is simply pathetic.

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Just now, JackThompson said:


Not at all pathetic.  Border-areas are magnets for scammers and thieves of every sort.  I carry traveler's checks instead of cash, and use a money-belt near any national borders.  My apparent "wallet" has nothing in it but enough cash to get a thief his next drug-fix plus some useless business-cards so it looks genuine. 

Now the thieves know we have to have 20K in Cash - a HUGE amount of money for people in Laos or Cambodia.  Why would that policy NOT be a mugger-magnet?  Now, thieves may not buy my "fake wallet" maneuver, because they know I have a many months total-salary (in their world) tucked away somewhere, so will have to show them my traveler's checks, which they will likely steal, making a hassle for me to get them reimbursed.

 

What exactly would be the problem with me showing the IOs 100K+ Baht in a Thai Bank book, instead of carrying around Cash like a sucker?  But if I try that, they will not allow me to go to an ATM and print a bank-balance to prove things (a few scant meters from the booth), and reject my entry under known-false pretenses.

 

The problem with that is that is not what they ask for. Can you refer me to the stories of people being robbed out of 20,000 baht at the borders?

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13 minutes ago, anotheruser said:

 

The problem with that is that is not what they ask for. Can you refer me to the stories of people being robbed out of 20,000 baht at the borders?

What is "not what they ask for"?  Granted, some borders are not enforcing the "show 20K Baht" policy consistently - but others (Sadao and now Pedang Besar), are.  Airports are also doing random-checks for cash, but at least there, the security is generally ok, so those with local bank-accounts could safely withdraw in the departing airport, then re-deposit in the destination-airport - losing only the ATM-fees in the process.

I am not aware of a database of border-robberies - probably not something either country on said-border would want disseminated widely.

 

It's a foolish amount, in any case - not enough to prove you can support yourself for the 60->90-day duration (Tourist,  Ed, Non-O types), but plenty-enough to get you mugged.  In case you haven't noticed, policy-changes, including this "show cash" trick, are not really about keeping out "too poor / riff raff" or "illegal-workers," who come mostly from China and border-countries, respectively; they are not affected.  Those who clearly have far more than 20K Baht accessible via plastic (how normal people carry money, since  the 1990s) are the ones usually hit with this.

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Just now, JackThompson said:

What is "not what they ask for"?  Granted, some borders are not enforcing the "show 20K Baht" policy consistently - but others (Sadao and now Pedang Besar), are.  Airports are also doing random-checks for cash, but at least there, the security is generally ok, so those with local bank-accounts could safely withdraw in the departing airport, then re-deposit in the destination-airport - losing only the ATM-fees in the process.

I am not aware of a database of border-robberies - probably not something either country on said-border would want disseminated widely.

 

It's a foolish amount, in any case - not enough to prove you can support yourself for the 60->90-day duration (Tourist,  Ed, Non-O types), but plenty-enough to get you mugged.  In case you haven't noticed, policy-changes, including this "show cash" trick, are not really about keeping out "too poor / riff raff" or "illegal-workers," who come mostly from China and border-countries, respectively; they are not affected.  Those who clearly have far more than 20K Baht accessible via plastic (how normal people carry money, since  the 1990s) are the ones usually hit with this.

 

Well there was a thread with some proclaimed "rich" guy who wasn't able to produce 20K and they denied him entry. It seems the 20K rule only really gets applied to people that are other wise somehow suspicious. That being the case I think it does it's job to a degree. 

 

I certainly don't feel nervous carrying enough in cash for what amounts to no more than a good night out in Bangkok for example. You may be on to something though, immigration should require you to swipe your card to verify you have sufficient funds on your credit card. 

 

I would feel much safer doing it that way. hahaha

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I disliked my time in Laos, went with my Thai wife to get a Non Imm B visa.

 

Food was terrible, bland & expensive compared to Thailand.

Transport by Tuk Tuk was expensive with no alternative.

Hotels are not anywhere near the same standard as Thailand.

Market by the river was basically about 30 stalls repeated over and over again selling the same things.

No shopping malls.

Such a long queue at the Thai Consulate.

 

On the plus side I did like Beer Laos and the ease of changing money everywhere albeit not the best exchange rate.

 

I will not be returning to Laos anytime in the near future unless I have to.

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Just now, colinthailand20005 said:

I disliked my time in Laos, went with my Thai wife to get a Non Imm B visa.

 

Food was terrible, bland & expensive compared to Thailand.

Transport by Tuk Tuk was expensive with no alternative.

Hotels are not anywhere near the same standard as Thailand.

Market by the river was basically about 30 stalls repeated over and over again selling the same things.

No shopping malls.

Such a long queue at the Thai Consulate.

 

On the plus side I did like Beer Laos and the ease of changing money everywhere albeit not the best exchange rate.

 

I will not be returning to Laos anytime in the near future unless I have to.

Many people that only visit VTE or Savannakhet share your opinion. If you are over all i city person Laos doesn't offer that much. If you like breathtaking landscapes Lao has a lot to offer.

 

Agreed on the food though Lao food is pretty bad, not quite as bad as Khmer food but an honorable mention is deserved. Who can they manage to be placed between Thailand, Viet Nam and China and only manage to make terrible laap?

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A inflammatory post has been removed.

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BANGKOK 24 October 2017 07:28
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