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Author Topic: Going to Laos... For Dummies (Like Me)  (Read 160709 times)

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Gawmp

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Re: Going to Laos... For Dummies (Like Me)
« Reply #30 on: September 05, 2012, 11:59:26 AM »
I was there in 2009 and there were a few travelers both Lao-Americans and Hmong-Americans that did their visa upon arrival. My take is, get it done prior traveling as boO said, it will ease your mind. Also, I don't see myself standing there waiting to fill out the form, pay and get my pictures taken while those that have theirs prior can get through customs and get out of the airport ASAP. I had mine prior and i got through in less than 5 minutes. The customs agent was talking to me in Laotion, but since I don't know the language, i spoke to him in English telling him that I don't know how to speak their language. He basically asked what i was there for.

I have heard first hand from a relative of a BIL that lives where I live. His account with the customs agent costed him almost $100 even though he had his Visa prior. The customs agent pulled him to the side and into his office and asked him to buy one of the expensive bottle of wine he had for them to drink. All this was because that relative brought with him a camera and the camera was in question as to what he was planning to do with it. It was also because the agent wanted to scam him for money...after he paid for the bottle of wine, the agent gladly let him through without further question. Now this is an account from the BIL's uncle....

i have also heard that the luggage attendant will require you to give them a tip for helping you with your luggage from the conveyor belt. I tell you, as you come downt he stairs from above to below, the conveyor is right there and your luggages (if you have anye) are there too. You really don;t need anyone to help you, but there are attendants there waiting. On that note, I would travel light if I was you.



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couchpotato

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Re: Going to Laos... For Dummies (Like Me)
« Reply #31 on: September 05, 2012, 09:06:51 PM »
So general consensus seems to be to get your visa beforehand if you are going to Laos.



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Offline SummerBerry

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Re: Going to Laos... For Dummies (Like Me)
« Reply #32 on: September 06, 2012, 03:33:59 PM »
Unless you can speak and understand Chinese pretty well, or know someone who can show you around China I would not recommend going to (mainland) China without a tour group. This is especially true if you plan on going to more remote regions of China.

Neither the Chinese in Hong Kong or Taiwan particularly like mainlanders. Given the history, it's not much surprise. I think you can go to both Hong Kong and Taiwan. The flight between Taipei, Taiwan and Hong Kong is fairly cheap and is only about an hour and a half. While you are in Hong Kong, you can take a boat to Macau, the gambling center of Asia. :) The best part? You don't have to get your visas ahead of time and they are free for all three places. Mainland China on the otherhand....:(





My husband does want to do Macau but like the guy said only if were gambler then worth going there otherwise there is not point.  I seen enough of Macau on youtube and just another Vegas so forget it. 

I'm kind of scared of traveling to the country side and everything but since the guy is familiar with the Miao people over there he would lead the way for us on this trip.  When my husband went to China as a tour group......... .it did look boring from photo he took and from what he share that it like you can't break away from your tour group and what sound interesting listed as the trip is not what it is.  He did get to go to Shanghai as part of the package. 

Our next door neighbor his parent visited him every 3-4 months and stayed for 1-2 month long and they said they resided close to Hong Kong area too.  They have broken English so it hard to communicate with them about China because their son is a student at UC Merced and been here in the US for 6 year.  The house his parent paid cash for it along with 2 cars.  He pretty much just have roommate to collected money for his own personal spending.  The father is good friend with one of the restaurant owner here but I haven't found out who or which restaurant.

My husband promise me China but just haven't been able to make the right time to go and I already feel like going to Vietnam to see the Hmong there because we never got people to go with us to China and then all of a sudden that computer tech guy .............. ....

Our passport expired so we need to do a new one since we've been traveling for the last 10 year to China, Europe, Thailand, Canada and Japan but they are never more than 2 week. 



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Offline LonelyHmgGuy

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Re: Going to Laos... For Dummies (Like Me)
« Reply #33 on: September 06, 2012, 06:09:09 PM »
Gawmp, I can vouch for your statements about bribery. My parents traveled to Laos back in 2008 and they were detained by customs without any reason. A few hundred dollars later they were let go. They both speak excellent Lao.

There are crooks in both high and low places.

I have heard there is alot of corruption in Laos.. call it what you want, palm painting, gifts, leverage money, bribes. I hear it is the norm for them. Even school kids are "allow" to increase their grades and traffic tickets can be "forgotten" if you have enough money... but this is another subject and we're off course. For this trip, I will probably get my VISA before I go, just so I can get out of there faster. Thank for the input all!



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Offline LonelyHmgGuy

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Re: Going to Laos... For Dummies (Like Me)
« Reply #34 on: September 06, 2012, 06:13:13 PM »
My husband does want to do Macau but like the guy said only if were gambler then worth going there otherwise there is not point.  I seen enough of Macau on youtube and just another Vegas so forget it. 

I'm kind of scared of traveling to the country side and everything but since the guy is familiar with the Miao people over there he would lead the way for us on this trip.  When my husband went to China as a tour group......... .it did look boring from photo he took and from what he share that it like you can't break away from your tour group and what sound interesting listed as the trip is not what it is.  He did get to go to Shanghai as part of the package. 

Our next door neighbor his parent visited him every 3-4 months and stayed for 1-2 month long and they said they resided close to Hong Kong area too.  They have broken English so it hard to communicate with them about China because their son is a student at UC Merced and been here in the US for 6 year.  The house his parent paid cash for it along with 2 cars.  He pretty much just have roommate to collected money for his own personal spending.  The father is good friend with one of the restaurant owner here but I haven't found out who or which restaurant.

My husband promise me China but just haven't been able to make the right time to go and I already feel like going to Vietnam to see the Hmong there because we never got people to go with us to China and then all of a sudden that computer tech guy .............. ....

Our passport expired so we need to do a new one since we've been traveling for the last 10 year to China, Europe, Thailand, Canada and Japan but they are never more than 2 week.

My only problem with Mainland China is this and Summer hit it pretty good on the nail. It is such a vast country with such diverse sub groups, that unless you have a tour guild, you're SOL. Physically, it is a huge country so it would be hard to just go to one location unless one knows what he/she wants to do. Kudos for those that have the courage to go, but as for me, I will stick with Laos and Thailand. They have the asian feel I like and just enough adventure to pull me in. I love the food, I know some of the people and language. Above, it is where I was born.



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Offline SummerBerry

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Re: Going to Laos... For Dummies (Like Me)
« Reply #35 on: September 07, 2012, 03:51:28 PM »
I haven't been to Laos in years.  When I went, we entered from Thailand without any problems. However, my cousin was just in Thailand and she had a terrible experience trying to cross the border.  :-\

Why hard to cross the border?  My sister spend 1 year in Thailand as an exchange student.  She would cross the border to Laos and Cambodia for just a day and back without a problem.  She was lucky to spend one day with uncle and his family.  She even bought one of the little cousin a baby doll and she drag the doll all ragging and everything when my parent went to visited one year.  I almost wanted to donated all my daughter baby doll to them but think the shipping cost is not worth it. 



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Offline SummerBerry

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Re: Going to Laos... For Dummies (Like Me)
« Reply #36 on: September 07, 2012, 04:00:29 PM »
My only problem with Mainland China is this and Summer hit it pretty good on the nail. It is such a vast country with such diverse sub groups, that unless you have a tour guild, you're SOL. Physically, it is a huge country so it would be hard to just go to one location unless one knows what he/she wants to do. Kudos for those that have the courage to go, but as for me, I will stick with Laos and Thailand. They have the asian feel I like and just enough adventure to pull me in. I love the food, I know some of the people and language. Above, it is where I was born.


I wouldn't trust just 3-5 people having a tour guide over there.  When my husband went it was part of the Chamber Of Commerce.  There was probably about 30-40 of them as a group but from photo it just seem so boring from seeing the Great Wall, etc.  The Great Wall is just a moment like Grand Canyon and nothing very special beyond it but just that you got to see it and talk about your experience. 

I have share photos of his trip in here many time in older thread along with Europe.  I think the trip to Europe was much better because it touch base with every historic place most people would visited and getting there was not a problem.  It just that their high cost of living make foods and everything over there expensive.

Laos is a country that I do want to go back to visited my birthplace at least 1x but my husband is not up for this trip at all.  He just like everybody else so scared of foods, killing, mistreat, etc.  He has a brother that died in Thailand in 95.   I know if I was to go with my parent I would feel safer because my parent been there a few time and know what they are doing.



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Offline LonelyHmgGuy

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Re: Going to Laos... For Dummies (Like Me)
« Reply #37 on: September 11, 2012, 01:52:58 PM »
UPDATE ***** 

Visa Information for Laos... Please remember that you will need to use 2 months after date of issue and you may stay up to 60 days on one visa.

http://www.laoembassy.com/visa%20form.12.pdf

Please also remember to send it certified mail with a returned paid postage so you will get your passport back. The application is in both Laos and English. I will be sending mine off in a couple of weeks from now.



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Offline LonelyHmgGuy

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Re: Going to Laos... For Dummies (Like Me)
« Reply #38 on: September 11, 2012, 01:56:42 PM »
I wouldn't trust just 3-5 people having a tour guide over there.  When my husband went it was part of the Chamber Of Commerce.  There was probably about 30-40 of them as a group but from photo it just seem so boring from seeing the Great Wall, etc.  The Great Wall is just a moment like Grand Canyon and nothing very special beyond it but just that you got to see it and talk about your experience. 

I have share photos of his trip in here many time in older thread along with Europe.  I think the trip to Europe was much better because it touch base with every historic place most people would visited and getting there was not a problem.  It just that their high cost of living make foods and everything over there expensive.

Laos is a country that I do want to go back to visited my birthplace at least 1x but my husband is not up for this trip at all.  He just like everybody else so scared of foods, killing, mistreat, etc.  He has a brother that died in Thailand in 95.   I know if I was to go with my parent I would feel safer because my parent been there a few time and know what they are doing.

I don't know how "safe" Laos is or how "safe" anywhere else in the world is right now... but at the same time, we can not let our fears get the best of ourselves. I don't mean we should just abandon all common sense, but at the same time, if thousands of people go to Laos every year, I am pretty sure, it is somewhat safe. Life is short and precious, don't let fear ruin a good time and a chance to do those things you love.



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Offline LonelyHmgGuy

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Re: Going to Laos... For Dummies (Like Me)
« Reply #39 on: September 11, 2012, 02:00:56 PM »
Why hard to cross the border?  My sister spend 1 year in Thailand as an exchange student.  She would cross the border to Laos and Cambodia for just a day and back without a problem.  She was lucky to spend one day with uncle and his family.  She even bought one of the little cousin a baby doll and she drag the doll all ragging and everything when my parent went to visited one year.  I almost wanted to donated all my daughter baby doll to them but think the shipping cost is not worth it.

I am also a motorcycle rider... Street Bikes. I currently own a CBR600. One of the things I wanted to do was to rent a bike in Laos and ride up to Vang Vieng. But so far I have not been able to locate any street bikes for rent in Laos. There are street bikes in Chiang Mai, which is where I may have to go to. Rent the bike in Thailand and ride into Laos. Not sure yet of the logistics of getting this done... but anyone with info, please help. Your stories of the border crossings scares me a bit...



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Offline SummerBerry

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Re: Going to Laos... For Dummies (Like Me)
« Reply #40 on: September 13, 2012, 04:32:47 PM »
I am also a motorcycle rider... Street Bikes. I currently own a CBR600. One of the things I wanted to do was to rent a bike in Laos and ride up to Vang Vieng. But so far I have not been able to locate any street bikes for rent in Laos. There are street bikes in Chiang Mai, which is where I may have to go to. Rent the bike in Thailand and ride into Laos. Not sure yet of the logistics of getting this done... but anyone with info, please help. Your stories of the border crossings scares me a bit...

Maybe I can asked my sister for you since she stayed in Thailand for 1 year as exchange student and cross the boarder to Laos, Cambodia, etc. when she can for just a day.  If it just a ferry maybe you can paid a little fees for them just to take it on the boat. 



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No regret

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Re: Going to Laos... For Dummies (Like Me)
« Reply #41 on: September 14, 2012, 12:57:13 PM »
UPDATE ***** 

Visa Information for Laos... Please remember that you will need to use 2 months after date of issue and you may stay up to 60 days on one visa.

http://www.laoembassy.com/visa%20form.12.pdf

Please also remember to send it certified mail with a returned paid postage so you will get your passport back. The application is in both Laos and English. I will be sending mine off in a couple of weeks from now.


how does this work?



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Offline LonelyHmgGuy

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Re: Going to Laos... For Dummies (Like Me)
« Reply #42 on: September 14, 2012, 05:05:32 PM »

how does this work?

Sorry... I should have been more clear. http://www.laoembassy.com/visa%20form.12.pdf

1.DOCUMENTARY REQUEREMENTS
One application form filled out.
Two photographs (COSTCO is very cheap for members and takes 1 Hour)
Original passport(which requires at least six months validity).
A copy of passport(the page contains your information).
If applying by mail, enclose prepaid return envelope.

2.VISAFEES
$ 50.00-US citizens
The visa fees must be in the form of money order or certified check.

3.VALIDITY OF VISAS.
All types of visas are issued for one entry and must be used within two months after the date of issue. (So, don't send for your visa until just a month or two before you leave for Laos)

4.THE LENGT OF STAY
60 days from the date of entry and can be extend by the Laos Immigration office.

5.Mail via Certified mail to:
Embassy of the Lao P.D.R
2222 S Street, NW
Washington, DC 20008

6.Be sure to include a pre-paid self Address envolope for the Lao Embassy to send your passport back.

If you need more information please contact the consular office at
Tel: (202) 667-0076 or (202) 332-6416 Ext: 203 & 205
From 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon only, Monday to Friday.



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No regret

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Re: Going to Laos... For Dummies (Like Me)
« Reply #43 on: September 14, 2012, 10:23:47 PM »
This is nice.

but how about going there and doing it there, i heard it's even cheaper, like 30 dollars.  BUt i supposely it's nicer to have done ahead even before u enter laos.  that u don't have to worry it anymore.



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Offline LonelyHmgGuy

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Re: Going to Laos... For Dummies (Like Me)
« Reply #44 on: September 24, 2012, 12:20:07 PM »
Before we left, we were weighing the total package cost.  It is much cheaper if doing it in Laos.  However, whatever floats everyone's boat, I guess. 

In our stay in Laos, we also ran into a young, single white girl travelling by herself.  If she can do it, anyone can do it.  Laos has become very touristic.

Shade, thank you for the reminder.

As Shade stated... for those with little or no international travels. It is different from domestic flights. Remember you would want to arrive at the airport at least 2 hours before your flight and your luggage must be within the airlines policy.

Korean Airline: 2 Checked Bags, 1 Carry-On and One person item (laptop, purse, backpack... etc.)
Checked Bags: Max. of 50 lbs each. 61 inches total (height, width, and length combined)

Of course, DO NOT bring Combustible/Flammable substances such as paint, lighter fluid, Pressurized gas containers such as oxygen tanks, butane gas cans, Weapons and/or explosive materials such as firearms, firecrackers, etc.

Each airline is different, so be sure to check with your airline before packing. **** A good tip is get to the airport early and if you have overweight luggages, you can always repack and move things around.


« Last Edit: September 24, 2012, 01:43:31 PM by LonelyHmgGuy »

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