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brewster

New Year in Ban Saphai (Laos)

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brewster

Three years ago I posted a brief trip report and photos of my New Year in my GF's village of Ban Saphai, which is about 20km from Pakse in Southern Laos. 

 

http://www.pattaya-addicts.com/forum/topic/68977-visit-to-pakse-ban-saphai-in-southern-laos

 

This New Year we did it again, so here are a few more photos.  It was a quieter visit this time, as just over a year ago my GF's father died, and there was no Buddhist festival to bring out all the villagers.

 

We flew from Bangkok to Pakse on Lao Airlines.  After the horrible crash of a similar Lao Airlines flight which was attempting to land at Pakse a few months ago, I was a little apprehensive, but the flight was fine.

 

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The first stop was at Pakse market, which is huge. 

 

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My GF's mother was joined by some other Lao ladies, keen to go market shopping with the farang!

 

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Whatever this was, we didn't buy it (offal?).

 

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The trip from Pakse to Ban Saphai takes about 45 minutes and it's damn hot in the back of a pick-up if you don't have shade!

 

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The family home is simple but has a roof.

 

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There's an open living area, but no one seems to spend any time there.

 

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The kitchen is simple (to say the least).

 

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The "shower" and hongnam are not for the faint-hearted.  I only stayed one night (I escaped to a hotel in Pakse for the other nights!) and avoided taking a shower and doing anything elaborate in the toilet!

 

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The views of the Mekong from outside the house are beautiful.

 

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A duck was slaughtered in my honour and "barbequed".

 

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The most popular pastime is playing cards, for money.  All Lao currency is in notes and when a million kip is only about 4,000 baht, and 2,000 kip is only 8 baht, it's not exactly high stakes.

 

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Apart from playing cards, the rest of the day is spent eating and drinking copious amounts of Beer Lao.  At around 40 baht for a large bottle, it's money well spent!

 

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There's very little work apart from rice farming and silk weaving, so it's no wonder that many of the village girls make the relatively short trip across the border into Thailand and then on to Pattaya.

 

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Laos is still a conservative country and the schoolgirls wear cute uniforms, even in a tiny village like this.

 

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This girl featured a lot in my TR from 2010.  A cutie for sure.

 

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Three years later, she's still cute!  I wonder if she'll eventually follow her cousins to Pattaya.  I rather hope not.

 

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Finally, some may recognise a few of the family as 4 of the sisters have worked the gogo bars in Pattaya over the last 5 years or so.  I'll let you decide which ones.

 

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My GF has bought her plot of land a few metres from the family home and plans to build a house there in the next few years.  Whether we stay together remains to be seen, and, although I enjoy visiting, I doubt I could live there. But who knows?

Edited by brewster

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blondknight

Nice report Brewster ... thanks for sharing..

 

Have visited Issan various places and some are remote with no contact with falang... couldnt live there myself. 

Hope all goes well for you and your lady.

Happy 2014.

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Edge

Thanks for the report - it looks like Isaan and beyond, which obviously it is.

 

I once thought I could live out there, but I realised I could not.

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learningthaihelp

If you enjoy Laos, have you ever been in Vang Vieng?

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Zauberfee

Great TR, love it

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redfred

Nice report there brewster

If you doubt that you could live there...you probably won't. :GoldenSmile1:

fred..

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THAJEC

I applaud Brewster. Very interesting. Laos by me personally attracted more than Cambodia. One time I met Laos girl and she was very beautiful.

Thanks for sharing.

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brewster

I applaud Brewster. Very interesting. Laos by me personally attracted more than Cambodia. One time I met Laos girl and she was very beautiful.

Thanks for sharing.

 

There is something about Lao women.  The locals have a certain innocence about them and when I was on my own in Pakse, enjoying Beer Lao on the banks of the Mekong, virtually every girl who saw me gave me a sweet smile.  I chatted to a few, but never got the feeling that anything else was on offer!   I think it would take a lot of work to get "close" to a local Lao girl. 

 

Nice report there brewster

If you doubt that you could live there...you probably won't. :GoldenSmile1:

fred..

 

You're probably right!

If you enjoy Laos, have you ever been in Vang Vieng?

 

Nope.  Been to Vientiene on a couple of visa runs, but other than that I've only spent time in Southern Laos / Pakse.

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catlover

Great report - great photos - and your friend is quite the beauty - with a warm, sincere smile.  Best wishes to both of you.

Edited by catlover

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mr21

I enjoyed your pics very much, thanks for sharing

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felix the cat

Nice pixs...thanks for sharing :Grin3:

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Karmachewy

Thanks for taking the time to post your report and for the photos.

 

I have yet to go Lao, but I do have some trips planned and will make it there in the next few years. It will probably more of a sightseeing trip but hopefully I can get a glimpse of the village life also, like you have been so fortunate to see.

 

I agree that the Lao girls are lovely. I've met a few/three both in BKK and Pattaya, really nice girls and lovely.

 

Thanks again.

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Apex

Great pics and cool report...thanks for sharing

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onemansplan

Cool.pics, sounds like a nice trip but you know every bargirl or gogo dancer was 12 at one point right?

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brewster

Cool.pics, sounds like a nice trip but you know every bargirl or gogo dancer was 12 at one point right?

 

Indeed they were.  In the tiny hamlet where my GF is from, which is not even part of the main village, almost every girl makes the trip to Thailand for work at around 17.  Some begin in factories, but few stick to this!  The majority gravitate to Pattaya or Bangkok and then move on to the karaoke clubs in Rayong or Chonburi, only to be replaced in Pattaya by their younger sisters from the village.

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angrykiwibird

Nice clean farming pics to show what a simple life we could have...still makes me appreaicate what I have here in oz.

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brewster

I am speechless.

 

Really?  That's unusual!

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boxershrimp

I've never been to southern Lao, but I have been to Sisaket and Ubon Ratchatani. And to be honest, there's not that much difference from your accounts of rural life, once one gets out in the sticks. They seem to have more pointless gadgets, like tablets and the like. And nicer cars, there's a disproportionate amount of new SUVs on the roads. But housing remains pretty much the same (and toilets/showers, for that matter). Maybe an option for those who aren't sure Lao is for them, sort of a Lao light? ;)

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brewster

I've never been to southern Lao, but I have been to Sisaket and Ubon Ratchatani. And to be honest, there's not that much difference from your accounts of rural life, once one gets out in the sticks. They seem to have more pointless gadgets, like tablets and the like. And nicer cars, there's a disproportionate amount of new SUVs on the roads. But housing remains pretty much the same (and toilets/showers, for that matter). Maybe an option for those who aren't sure Lao is for them, sort of a Lao light? ;)

 

You're exactly right.  My ex was from a small village near Surin (near the Cambodian border) and there isn't much difference between the houses in her village and the Lao ones in my TR.  Funnily enough, outside my GF's village, along the main highway to Pakse, there are some very nice houses and many SUVs on the road, in amongst the ubiquitous motorbikes, tractors, tuk-tuks and pick-ups.  There is definitely some serious money in Laos, it's just not very evenly spread around (despite it being communist)!

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boxershrimp

Maybe I should add that even though I've only been to the northwestern parts, and only for about two weeks, I really liked it. Never been to a more relaxing country ever. Sure it's no mongering destination, but far from all of my travel is centered around available distractions of that kind anyway. (Too bad about that, though, Lao women have the most awesome smiles, and sometimes an unaffected beauty that you'll struggle hard to find in more touristy places.)

 

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PukiPirate

Thanks for the report and photos.  I haven't been to Laos yet but plan to visit within the next couple years.  I've met some Laos girls in Pattaya and they were sweet.

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