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brewster

Visit to Pakse & Ban Saphai in Southern Laos

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brewster

I spent the New Year in Pakse, in Champasak, Southern Laos visiting my girl's family, so thought I'd post a selection of photos. Pakse is easy to reach, being only an hours drive from the Thai/Laos border at Chong Mek. We flew from Bangkok to Ubon and from there it's just over an hour to the border.

 

As it's "illegal" for a foreigner to sleep with a Laos girl in Laos unless they're married, I stayed on my own in the Pakse hotel (thoroughly recommended) and forewent the chance to experience the full Laos hospitality, just spending the daytime in the village. My girl's father seemed very keen for me to stay and I doubt the cops would have come calling, even though one seemingly senior villager kept asking me, nicely, if I wanted to make a 'donation' to the police!

 

The village, Ban Saphai, is about 20km outside Pakse and a centre for silk weaving. In fact, the village girls that don't go down to Pattaya for the big bucks (and all the dangers that illegal work in Thailand entails - see my Bargirls Behind Bars thread) are likely to end up weaving silk for a few hundred thousand kip a day (not much!) and playing cards. Practically every house/shack in the village has a silk loom outside.

 

Most of the photos are taken at my girl's house in the village and at a Buddhist festival that was taking place on the day, with the last few in Pakse itself. I've previously spent time in my ex-TGF's Isaan village near Surin, but I found the Laos villagers far friendlier and even the more commercially minded folk in Pakse were less pushy than their Thai counterparts. As always the kids (and the girls!) are great.

 

While I'm not sure I could live there, I certainly intend to go back for a longer stay. And nothing beats drinking a 40 baht large bottle of Beer Laos at a bar on the banks of the Mekong watching the sun set...

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Edited by brewster

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pseasnain

I spent the New Year in Pakse, in Champasak, Southern Laos visiting my girl's family, so thought I'd post a selection of photos. Pakse is easy to reach, being only an hours drive from the Thai/Laos border at Chong Mek. We flew from Bangkok to Ubon and from there it's just over an hour to the border.

 

As it's "illegal" for a foreigner to sleep with a Laos girl in Laos unless they're married, I stayed on my own in the Pakse Hotel (thoroughly recommended) and forewent the chance to experience the full Laos hospitality, just spending the daytime in the village. My girl's father seemed very keen for me to stay and I doubt the cops would have come calling, even though one seemingly senior villager kept asking me, nicely, if I wanted to make a 'donation' to the police!

 

The village, Ban Saphai, is about 20km outside Pakse and a centre for silk weaving. In fact, the village girls that don't go down to Pattaya for the big bucks (and all the dangers that illegal work in Thailand entails - see my Bargirls Behind Bars thread) are likely to end up weaving silk for a few hundred thousand kip a day (not much!) and playing cards. Practically every house/shack in the village has a silk loom outside.

 

Most of the photos are taken at my girl's house in the village and at a Buddhist festival that was taking place on the day, with the last few in Pakse itself. I've previously spent time in my ex-TGF's Isaan village near Surin, but I found the Laos villagers far friendlier and even the more commercially minded folk in Pakse were less pushy than their Thai counterparts. As always the kids (and the girls!) are great.

 

While I'm not sure I could live there, I certainly intend to go back for a longer stay. And nothing beats drinking a 40 baht large bottle of Beer Laos at a bar on the banks of the Mekong watching the sun set...

 

Great photos of everyday life. Did you feel like the only farang in the village or are they used to seeing Westerners. I was in Beijing last year and was approached about 3 times a day by Chinese wishing ostensibly to 'practise their English'. However the conversation always turned to art galleries or tea houses where I was expected to buy a piece of art or an expensive (30 euros) pot of tea. I declined these offers of course.

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brewster

Great photos of everyday life. Did you feel like the only farang in the village or are they used to seeing Westerners. I was in Beijing last year and was approached about 3 times a day by Chinese wishing ostensibly to 'practise their English'. However the conversation always turned to art galleries or tea houses where I was expected to buy a piece of art or an expensive (30 euros) pot of tea. I declined these offers of course.

 

Pakse itself is a popular back-packer spot, so there were plenty of farangs about. However, I was the only farang walking around hand in hand with a 20 year old Laos girl and that drew some attention! The village is also on the tourist trail due to its proximity to Don Kho island and the silk weaving, so although there were no other farangs about while I was there they're not uncommon. The locals seemed genuinely friendly and no one tried to rip me off!

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Highlander

My TGF speaks Laos and wants me to take her there on holiday, wasn;t keen until now.

 

Great pics, thanks for sharing

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pseasnain

Pakse itself is a popular back-packer spot, so there were plenty of farangs about. However, I was the only farang walking around hand in hand with a 20 year old Laos girl and that drew some attention! The village is also on the tourist trail due to its proximity to Don Kho island and the silk weaving, so although there were no other farangs about while I was there they're not uncommon. The locals seemed genuinely friendly and no one tried to rip me off!

 

Ya it must be strange for them to see Cliff Clavin from Cheers walking hand-in-hand with a local girl ...did they ask about your buddy Norm? 555

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Shivers

I made it into Cambodia during my last trip, and will someday like to make it to Laos. Although I was thinking about crossing into that country more to the north (Golden Triangle area).

 

Looks like a pleasant enough place. Thanks for the pictures!

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Dr.Winston

Fantastic pictures. I've been to Laos a few times but not for many years and never down South. They still have some great unspoiled jungle down there along the borders with Vietnam and Cambodia which I'd love to visit. Thanks.

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niftynau

Enjoyed your report and photos brewster..

 

On my first village visit i tried to discuss the illegal aspect of a farang staying with a local with my girl and she said "no problem". However on the first day i was requested to report to the village head and his 6 cohorts..

 

After 30 mins talking to my GF and ataring at my passpoort the head guy says all ok and we can go..I fully expected (as would be the case in Thailand for any indescretion) to be asked for a donation (and possibly a substantial one or worse)..My girl reinterated she did not kinow it would be any problem for me to stay..

 

On my next visit it was just a matter of advising the village head that i was there and all was ok..

 

I think the friendship shown by the villagers is more genuine than in Thailand..An expat of 20 years(in Thailand) told me this is how it used to be in Thailand...

 

Yes the kids are great and their smiles get me every time, your village looks more affluent than the one i visit due to the silk weaving and certainly not so isolated..

 

All the best..

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brewster

Enjoyed your report and photos brewster..

 

On my first village visit i tried to discuss the illegal aspect of a farang staying with a local with my girl and she said "no problem". However on the first day i was requested to report to the village head and his 6 cohorts..

 

After 30 mins talking to my GF and ataring at my passpoort the head guy says all ok and we can go..I fully expected (as would be the case in Thailand for any indescretion) to be asked for a donation (and possibly a substantial one or worse)..My girl reinterated she did not kinow it would be any problem for me to stay..

 

On my next visit it was just a matter of advising the village head that i was there and all was ok..

 

I think the friendship shown by the villagers is more genuine than in Thailand..An expat of 20 years(in Thailand) told me this is how it used to be in Thailand...

 

Yes the kids are great and their smiles get me every time, your village looks more affluent than the one i visit due to the silk weaving and certainly not so isolated..

 

All the best..

 

I don't remember reading this when you originally posted it, but as I might be making a trip back to Pakse soon, it's good to read that maybe the issue of staying with a Lao girl in Laos isn't so cut and dried. My girl is very casual about it and doesn't seem to think it will be a problem. I'm not so sure. It would be interesting to know if other guys have had experience, good or bad, with this.

 

Are you still with your Lao GF - did you end up marrying her? (PM me if you prefer!)

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j_d66

I have been told that taking a lady to your hotel room is not a problem in Pakse as long as you are there by 11pm.

Would be interested in anyone else's take is on this.  Don't want to end up in jail or anything

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pointy stick

Thanks for your report. I've been the Laos before doing the usual - Vang Vieng etc - but always wanted to head down to southern Laos which I will do in June. It's a great change of pace from Thailand.  

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brewster

I have been told that taking a lady to your hotel room is not a problem in Pakse as long as you are there by 11pm.

Would be interested in anyone else's take is on this.  Don't want to end up in jail or anything

I didn't risk it. I stayed alone in the Pakse hotel while my GF stayed with her family. As the family home has no a/c, proper toilet/shower, and it's 3-4 to a room with kids running everywhere - and it's lights out at 8pm and everyone up at 5am, I wasn't unhappy!

 

Thanks for your report. I've been the Laos before doing the usual - Vang Vieng etc - but always wanted to head down to southern Laos which I will do in June. It's a great change of pace from Thailand.

It certainly is. I'm planning on going back next Christmas/New Year and trying to see a little more of the area.

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axl2000

I spent the New Year in Pakse, in Champasak, Southern Laos visiting my girl's family, so thought I'd post a selection of photos. Pakse is easy to reach, being only an hours drive from the Thai/Laos border at Chong Mek. We flew from Bangkok to Ubon and from there it's just over an hour to the border.

....................

While I'm not sure I could live there, I certainly intend to go back for a longer stay. And nothing beats drinking a 40 baht large bottle of Beer Laos at a bar on the banks of the Mekong watching the sun set...

 

 

Nice Pics from Laos.

 

I want to go there soon...

Edited by axl2000

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brewster

Nice Pics from Laos.

 

I want to go there soon...

 

It is nice there.  It's a big country, and Southern Laos (where I went) is very different from the North and Vientiene and Luang Prabang.

 

I'll be back there again for New Years.

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