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Old 03-21-2014, 11:15 AM
 
601 posts, read 589,065 times
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So, I guess this might be kind of a longshot, but...I am traveling to Laos soon and have some questions.

1) Can you get cellular service while you're there? Are there pre-paid sim cards?

2) Are their places to wash clothes? Will primarily be in/near Vientiane.

3) What length of clothing is appropriate for women to wear?

4) Is it safe and normal to carry around a book bag or something of the sorts?

5) How much kip does traditional clothing, sinh usually cost...?

Also, kind of an odd question, but...I like to draw, in the states I'll sit in parks or cafes etc. and sketch people in the are. Not right next to me but in the same shop/area/etc, generally no one pays much attention to this here. How would people react to this in Laos? Would they be offended, or on the opposite end of the spectrum, start watching (I don't like being watched while I draw...hypocritical, I know, haha.)
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Old 03-22-2014, 02:31 AM
 
Location: American Expat
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1) Didn't use, but you can buy sim cards and add money for Internet etc.

2) Your Hotel

3) Anything

4) Yes, just keep it close

5) No idea

6) I'm sure some will stop and look.
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Old 03-22-2014, 06:57 AM
 
Location: Melbourne, Australia
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As for no 3, keep in mind some temples, monasteries and other buildings have dress codes forbidding shorts or singlets. A light cool sarong or pants made of light material and a long sleeve shirt is often cooler and gives more protection against insects anyway. Keep in mind Laos is a high risk area for malaria and other mosquito borne diseases too.
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Old 03-22-2014, 09:38 AM
 
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Thanks all. We are not staying in a hotel, so I was hoping there might be a laundromat or something.
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Old 03-22-2014, 07:00 PM
 
Location: American Expat
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Hostel? They offer laundry services, too. You can't just stay at somebody's place. That would be illegal. You would need the approval of the government.
And as long as the shorts are covering the knees, you'll get in anywhere. I always got in.
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Old 04-09-2014, 12:27 AM
 
601 posts, read 589,065 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glucorious View Post
Hostel? They offer laundry services, too. You can't just stay at somebody's place. That would be illegal. You would need the approval of the government.
And as long as the shorts are covering the knees, you'll get in anywhere. I always got in.
Pretty sure I'm allowed to stay at my grandmother's place, which I did, without any problems from immigration. I'm not a tourist and not interested in the overpriced touristy areas. Anyway, the trip went pretty well, thanks all.
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Old 04-10-2014, 02:54 AM
 
Location: American Expat
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If you are a foreign national, you legally can not. Unless your grandma is a foreign national, too. I'm not sure if it's still on the books, but having sex with a Laos national was/still is illegal.
Welcome to Communism.
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Old 04-10-2014, 12:22 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glucorious View Post
If you are a foreign national, you legally can not. Unless your grandma is a foreign national, too. I'm not sure if it's still on the books, but having sex with a Laos national was/still is illegal.
Welcome to Communism.
I'd heard about the sex law, had not heard about this one. I can't say for sure, but...I have a sneaking suspicion that it's one of those laws that's technically still on the books, but no one cares about? From what I was told from my relatives during my stay, there seem to be a handful of laws that no one follows in Laos. Again, this isn't official research or anything, but from my trip there:

1) My spouse and I told the visa officers we would be staying with family, who are citizens, while we are foreigners. They didn't bat an eye. It might have helped that my husband is of Lao descent, but he is still a US citizen and had never been to Laos before this point. (They even congratulated us on our recent marriage? lol.)

2) Saw plenty of foreign-lao couples at the Night market and Anouvong Park. My aunt told me this is really common, people have been intermarrying for quite some time...even as far as to say "Girls used to just marry any foreigner, today's girls are smarter, judge his reputation first."

3) Besides the normal level of family "when are you going to have kids?!?" pestering, we were quickly informed that mixed children are considered very beautiful, many become models...supposedly.

Other fun observations:

4) It is 100% illegal for all of those stoned tourists in Vang Vieng to smoke pot, as well as it is to sell it to them. Yet you know how insanely easy it is for them to get it. I saw a guy lighting up a joint in public, right on the side of a busy road, in the middle of the day.

5) I asked an uncle, how do you get a driver's license. "You take a test. If you pass, you get a license. If you fail, you pay the police...you get a license."

So anyway, I can't say for sure but that was my honest experience. We came for some family matters, and had no troubles from the law during our stay...they were surprisingly accommodating. We got to see a lot of the countryside outside of the city, and regular daily life, it was an wonderful experience... I hope others can be as fortunate.
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