Tourism And Development Threaten Laos’ French Traditions

It remains a jewel of French colonial architecture, you can savor some of the best croissants and baguettes east of Paris here, and even toddlers still learn the language of their bygone rulers. Luang Prabang, tucked into a river valley in the heart of Laos, survives as one of the last bastions of the old French Indochina.

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Mango Mania: Iconic Views and Soothing Entrees

Running water, its soothing white noise comforts and welcomes. This is the sound that greets customers as they enter the sanctum sanctorum which is the uniqueness of Mango Mania.
Mango Mania is a U-shaped greenhouse that appears more mirage-like than edificial. At the base of the U, framed by two bright red wooden doors reminiscent of …

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Seek Permission Before Flying Your Drone, Lao Ministry Warns

The Ministry of Post and Telecommunications has warned drone owners to seek permission from the relevant authorities before flying their drones – if not, the owners will face penalties.

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What Languages Are Spoken In Laos ?

Lao, also called Laotian, is the official as well as the dominant language in Laos. Migration and conflict have resulted in the present ethnic composition of Laos and to the geographical diffusion of its ethnic groups. 86 languages have so far been documented in the country as used by its various ethnic groups. French and English are identified as minority languages in Laos.

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You know you’re raising kids overseas when…

‘I wrote the list a couple years back and have gotten enough chuckles from other expats that at least some of them seem to reflect life for many of us over here!

You know you’re raising kids overseas when…
1. When you say, “We’re going home,” your kids ask, “Which one?”
2. It’s 27 C outside but your kids want a jacket.
3. Hundreds of total strangers have ……

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Aerial Sports Take Flight In Landlocked Laos

Bad roads, big mountains and dense jungle have gifted Laos a difficult and dazzling terrain — one that is now being enjoyed from the skies by a well-heeled new crop of pilots pursuing a passion for aerial sports.
The pastime, new to the tiny, poor Southeast Asian nation, was made possible by Ravansith Thammarangsy, a Franco-Laotian flight instructor who …..

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Laos Sees Dramatic Increase In Retailers Selling Improved Cook Stoves

The roadsides leading out of the main cities in Lao PDR are lined with numerous small retail shops, which are mostly owned by women, offering a variety of locally-made products, among them a selection of ceramic cook stoves. A vast majority of households in Laos cook on these portable stoves, using wood or charcoal.
Most of these small family businesses along the roadsides sell about ….

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Do Not Post Your Airline Boarding Pass Online

If you ever thought of posting a picture of your boarding pass online, especially in social media sites such as Facebook or Instagram, you better think twice.
Technology security expert Brian Krebs, who writes for a renowned cybersecurity news site Krebs on Security, took to his blog last month to warn travellers against posting a picture of their boarding pass online in a bid to …..

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J&C Services’ Special Package “Pi Mai Luang Prabang”

During the month of April J&C will celebrate Pi Mai Lao (Lao New Year) with a special promotion for our clients and readers:
Enjoy your Pi Mai holiday at the beautiful boutique hotel Hotel Villa Deux Rivieres in Luang Prabang at a very special rate of 59/room/night*. Located in the heart of Luang Prabang, the ancient former capital of Laos, this unique boutique hotel is situated in the centre of the UNESCO World Heritage area, with the main historical places …..

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Vientiane To Trial Pedestrian Zone Alongside Mekong

For nine days at the end of January Vientiane will have a designated walking area alongside the Mekong, designed to offer residents and visitors a peaceful place with a panoramic view where they can take an evening stroll.
“We will close the riverside road in the evening and turn it into a pedestrian walkway for nine days starting from January 24. If it proves popular we will consider continuing with it.”
The installation of temporary bollards to block vehicular traffic from 6 pm until midnight each day will create a pedestrian zone and allow people to walk in ….

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Architectural Masterpiece in Vientiane Available For Rent

One of Vientiane’s architectural masterpieces is available for rent soon. Designed entirely by a landscape architect, The Cube is a home that pushes the limits of modernity unlike almost any other in Laos.
Designed with practicality and leisure in mind, the architect has lent a unique use to every inch of space with all eventualities in mind whilst adhering to an almost scientific definition of beauty.
Its progressive design features a swimming pool as the central, focal point, with large glass window panes flooding the ….

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Transport Ministry Considers Bus Lanes, Walking Streets For A Greener Vientiane

A significant number of Vientiane residents have expressed their support for an urban sustainable transport system the Ministry of Public Works and Transport is working on.
The project aims to establish special Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lanes along 84 kilometres of Vientiane’s public roads, beginning with the Wattay International Airport to Patuxay route.
The Inpeng temple to Nam Phou fountain section of Setthathirath Road will be reallocated for public buses and non-motorised transport only, while François Nginn and Pangkham roads will be …..

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SABAIDEE Magazine Turns Two

Lifestyle and travel publication Sabaidee Magazine has celebrated their 2nd Year Anniversary in March 2014, holding a party for clients, partners and supporters at Smile Dee Restaurant in Vientiane.
Sabaidee Magazine is a travel and lifestyle English and Lao language publication. It features articles on Laos’ urban centres, lifestyle, arts, culture, and Lao and ASEAN travel destinations.
The event was also a timely occasion to launch the magazine’s latest publication March Issue 14, which marks the move from bi-monthly to a monthly magazine. The move to a monthly release has seen ….

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Email Hacked? Here Is What To Do

Your email account is not accepting your password. Your friends are asking how you got stranded in London and whether you got the money they wired. Your mother wants to know why you are sending out emails with nothing in it, but a link. Surprise, your email has been hacked.
Okay, so you are hacked. Now what? The first step is to regain control. If you are locked……

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Many Quitting Southern Provinces To Work In Thailand

The number of people from the southern provinces crossing the border to find work in neighbouring countries continues to rise despite the growing investment and economic development in Laos.
Most people in the south of the country cannot find work and, even when they do, the jobs are very poorly paid. Many of them live along the Lao-Thai border and crossing it is an attractive option, as they can earn significantly more there working on construction sites or in factories.

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Vat SiMeuang: The Liveliest Temple In Vientiane

“Mother, please help my son to pass the entrance exam and study in a good school. If he succeeds, I promise to give you two bunches of bananas, two coconuts, a wax castle and five pairs of lighted candles and flowers.”
This is a typical example of the prayers offered up at Vat Simeuang temple in Vientiane every day – a prayer to Nha Mae Simeuang, believed to be the city’s protector. People come here to make their heart’s desires known, and will return with offerings if their prayers are answered. Usually they bring coconuts, candles or money, all of which are laid in abundance at the main altar.
The temple was built in 1563 and houses the much venerated city pillar. Legend has it that the king at that time asked that a hole be dug to install the pillar and it must be large enough for …..

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Small Companies Left Counting The Cost Of Workplace Absence

Four in ten heads of small companies continue to work from their sick beds, as their business would collapse if they were to take time off.
It seems that employees may also be compounding the problem, as 46% of small and medium-sized enterprise bosses say that high levels of employee absence are estimated to contribute up to a 10% drop in turnover in small businesses.
Yet staggeringly, despite these pressures, 38% of bosses admit that they spend more on office stationery than on initiatives that support employee health and wellbeing, such as flu jabs, cycle to work schemes and subsidised gym membership.
These findings reiterate the impact that ill health can have upon a business…..

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Laos Holds First Gay Pride Event

Laos has held its first ever gay pride event in what supporters hope is a sign of softening social values in the small communist country.
Although homosexuality is legal in Laos, it is frowned upon by many among the socially conservative nation of around six million people, and event organisers decided against holding a parade as is common at global pride events.
Instead, around 100 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people gathered on a US embassy sports field in the capital Vientiane to watch performances relating to their marginalised position in society and sip beers provided by the capital’s handful of gay-friendly bars.

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Vientiane New World: Glory of Laos (II)

In the next six to eight years people will see a new face of Vientiane as Don Chan Island along the Mekong River develops into a modern urban area complete with a pedestrian zone.
CAMCE, the Lao-Chinese joint venture developing the area, plans to invest over US$600 million to turn 42 hectares of Don Chan Island along the Mekong River in Vientiane into the first international residence area, the first international business centre, as well as an international cultural and tourist centre where Lao people can take their family, friends and loved ones to shop, dine and enjoy local and international movies.

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Tails And Trails: The Hash House Harriers Of Vientiane

Are they a gang of reveling runner enthusiasts as their name implies or are the Hash House Harriers into something even more mysterious?
With their own argot, rituals, traditions, and leadership positions including titles like ‘Grand master’, ‘Religious Advisor’, and… ‘Hare’, one might expect something more insidious is going on, but in fact what they are at their core is a group of runners who enjoy a good nightcap.
They joke that they are ‘drinkers with a running problem’, but others emphasize that they are more like a tight family that helps each other. Some groups and people focus more on the running, while others are more into the social aspect, but every hasher expresses that all people are welcome as long as they have a good sense of humor and believe it if you are told to bring a dry bag.

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Chokdee – A Taste Of Belgium On The Mekong

I’ll come clean and say that I don’t have much familiarity with Belgian cuisine, but fortunately the general manager and chief investor in the cafe, Vincent Wirtgen, was there to take me on a culinary journey.

It doesn’t take long looking in from the street to see that the place is bustling with activity and an inviting warmly lit atmosphere with icons of Belgian popular culture and a view of the Mekong. What’s remarkable in this location is that the vast majority of his clientele are residents rather than travelers a fact that sets it apart from many establishments in the area.

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Rashmi’s Plaza Hotel

For a long time I would drive past the construction site of Rashmi’s Plaza Hotel every day watching the massive megalith slowly take form. Suddenly one day it opened, replete with flashing silver spirit houses guarding the front entrance and sparkling tower adorning the top. After often wondering what the interior would be like, J&C was lucky enough to receive a guided tour just last week.

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Empty Talat Sao Mall Officially Opens

When reading in the local newspaper that the Morning Market Talat Sao mall 2 was officially opened on Friday, 11 November 2011, I was curious to see for myself if the new mall would meet everybody’s high expectations.
Visiting the mall this Saturday, I was rather disappointed, as only a few stores on the first and second level of the mall are occupied; everything else is still vacant or under construction. The “official opening of a shopping mall still under construction” would have been more appropriate as a headline.
However, looking at it from a more positive angle, once the mall is complete and functional (meaning all stores are occupied and open to the public) it will definitely be “the” place to visit in Vientiane

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Internet Providers In Laos: What Comes Next ?

Laos has currently four telecom operators (Lao Telecom, Unitel, ETL and Tigo/Beeline) and one “internet only” provider (Planet).

3G internet is available for computers through USB 3G wireless Internet modems and for mobile phone users through 3G simcards. Lao Telecom and Unitel have offered 3G for several years, while ETL just recently launched its 3G services.

In telecommunications, 4G is the fourth generation of cellular wireless standards. It can provide at-home or mobile Internet access across entire cities or countries. Planet Computers is currently the only 4G provider, with connections being offered to Vientiane customers only

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What Happens to Plastic Bags in Vientiane?

A 2008 research study by SERCASIA estimated that the 600,000 inhabitants of Vientiane use 20 plastic bags a month each, adding up to 144 million bagsa year. It is also estimated that nearly 95% of users don’t know where theirplastic bags wind up and less than 15% of used bags were recycled. Going beyond the numbers, SERCASIA has produced “From Banana Leaves toPlastic Bags” to focus discussion on how plastic waste impacts the health of individuals and the environment.

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Roundtrip to Nam Ngum Lake

The usual spots for tourists to see in Laos are Vientiane for one night, then Luang Prabang and maybe Pakse. But there are many more places to visit. For example, Nam Ngum lake.
Leave Vientiane on Highway 13 east and follow then Highway 10. On the way, you can make some nice stops.
First is the Lao Zoo. It might be not as big as the ones in your home country, but it is actually worth a visit. They have crocodiles and deers, gibbons, bears, many different species of birds.

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