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Want to Go to Jail in Laos?

Speak out against the Government. These and 11 other Top Things This First-time visitor to Asia Learned in Laos

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1) The Lao people call the Vietnam War the American Secret War or the CIA War.
The Lao people were and continue to be HEAVILY effected by the Vietnam War, which they refer to as the American Secret War or the CIA War. (Also known as the Second Indochina War). The U.S./ CIA supported the Lao Monarchy, which was abolished in 1975.

2) The Lao royal family went the way of the Romanovs after the Vietnam War.
The king, queen and crown prince of Laos were sent to a re-education camp in 1975 when Laos became Communist, never to be heard from again.

3) U.S. bombs from the Vietnam War are still killing Lao people.
. From “2008 to 2017, one person was killed almost every two weeks" by the 80 million un-exploded cluster bombs that failed to explode during the Vietnam War, giving Laos the distinction of having “more post-conflict cluster munitions casualties than any other country in the world.” Source: The UXO Museum in Luang Prabang (LP). U.S. bombers en-route to Vietnam would have to unload their bomb cargo before landing and Laos was the very unlucky recipient of many bombs that were not necessarily meant for them.

4) Don’t speak out against the government of Laos if you know what’s good for you. Even though it’s called the Laos People’s Democratic Republic, “Democratic” is a misnomer, and citizens that speak out against the government can be punished.

5) When France colonized Laos, they taxed Lao citizens, whose children were taken and killed if a family was unable to pay taxes.

6) Christianity and Muslim religions were outlawed for a time after the Communist government took over in 1975, and today Buddhism and Animism are the top two religions in Laos. (Read more about religion in Laos here.

7) We noticed a large amount of hammer and sickle flags throughout the city of Luang Prabang (LP).

8) Laos is a VERY affordable place to visit. Our fine dining dinner the first night, including 2 drinks each, was only $27 and included several courses, including dessert.

9) Inflation is really bad here. Eggs, beef and pork are double to triple the price they were three years ago, and one teacher we heard about earns the equivalent of $90/ month compared to $220 three years ago. Read more about that here.

10) The air quality in Laos is really bad. The constant smell of campfire lingers, the result of most all households cooking food over open fire and using fire to burn household waste and debris. Some months, the smog is so thick that planes can’t even land. A quick Internet search revealed that Laos had 5.5 times the particulate matter in its air than World Health Organization standards in 2022, likely a key contributor to the very short life expectancy of many Lao people (68.5 years compared to 77.3 in the U.S.). Leading cause of death is upper respiratory illness.

11) Redtail catfish in the Mekong River are huge. They can weigh up to 400 pounds. (This one’s for Scott.)

12) Russia and China are Laos’ two biggest allies, and Laos voted to support the War in Ukraine along with Vietnam and China but sat out the second UN vote a year after the war began.

Posted by GardenLeave 13:08 Archived in Laos Tagged buddhism laos luang_prabang vietnam_war hmong inflation hmong_tribe american_secret_war redtail_catfish laos_people’s_democratic_republ laos_pdr

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