While our hotel was nearly full and milling with people, Pakse was not. We had arrived on a Saturday, our first weekend in Laos. I can’t speak for the rest of the country, but Pakse was like a ghost town – we were pretty much able to walk down the middle main road of the town with no cars to get in our way! Many of the shops were shut, and there did not seem to be many people around. Blissfully, there were also no horns – a common sound in many of the towns and cities we’ve visited.
Although we enjoyed the tour, it was a very expensive way of spending the day – we spent just over $20 each. In India, we could have chartered a private taxi for the day for that, but instead we had to tag onto a group! Shocking. Seriously though, we’re definitely noticing a hike in the transportation costs in Laos. Accommodation and food is comparable to Cambodia, but simple transport is hyper-inflated. It’s frustrating when you know that in comparison to food and everyday living, transportation costs so much – and that tour operators, taxi, boat and tuk tuk drivers are blatantly ripping tourists off. What is more frustrating is that many of these people are unlikeable characters, and that we end up paying them so much more money than those whose company we enjoyed so much more in other countries. I guess that’s just the way it goes, but so far these costs and people are putting a bit of a dampener on Laos for me.