Practical Advice for Visiting Villages in Laos
A visit to a village can be one of the most rewarding things to do in Laos. Imagine embarking on one of the last true frontiers of tourism – think Mexico in the 1950s or Nepal in the 1960s. There are some things you should prepare your travelers for, in order to make the most of their experience.
1. Culture is always changing and adapting. As the world becomes more interconnected and the incomes of the locals increase as they participate in the global economy, local people see and learn more about the outside world. Travelers’ shouldn’t be put off by their desire for modern ‘non-traditional’ conveniences and clothing. Consider it a cultural exchange. It’s not uncommon to see satellite dishes on bamboo huts or children playing with plastic toys in a remote village.
2. Guests should follow our guide’s instructions and familiarize themselves with cultural etiquette. Lao people are very forgiving, but you don’t want to leave a bad experience in their minds for future travelers.
3. Lao people speak softly and avoid confrontation. If visitors shout or raise their voice, they will only lose face and their request will be even less likely to be resolved. A smile and patience may not speed things up, but guests will earn respect. Our advice, look at any unanticipated event as an opportunity to further slow down and be aware of what is going on around us. The reward of patience is acceptance and respect.
4. The villages we visit are not always accustomed to tourism and accommodating western needs. Nevertheless, the people we encounter will be resourceful, friendly and generous with everything that they have.
By keeping these thoughts in mind, visitors’ travels in Laos can be both enriching and fulfilling, both for them and for the Lao people.
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