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Being Grateful For What You Have

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If there is one lesson that living in Laos can teach you it has to be “be grateful for what you have” as demonstrated by the local people. Here even if people are sick or really poor or have had something bad happen to them they will never fail to offer you a smile and words of kindness even if they have never met you before.

The Daily Commute in Luang Namtha

Commuting to work in Luang Namtha

We recently discovered that one of our staff members was living in less than great conditions so immediately offered for her to move into our Forest Retreat House.  This is a house we have for any staff who need accommodation to live in.

She thought about it for a day, and then came back to us:  Yes, she wanted to move in, but she was worried about something.  The conversation went something like this:

Returning To Life Lao-Style

Beautiful Laos; always good to come back to.

Every time we leave Laos we seem to step instantaneously into the hustle and bustle of a shiny, more developed country that has things like supermarkets, trendy clothes, movie theatres and fast food chains. At first these things are exciting and new (again) but then the novelty wears off after a while and you are just in a concrete jungle and rat race again…

The concept of time in Luang Namtha

Luang Namtha northern Laos

When we come from a country where pretty much everything is on time, you phone your boss to apologise and explain if you are running 10 minutes late for work, and appointment times mean you turn up on time or miss out, it can be a little mind-bending at first to understand how time works in Luang Namtha.

Now we are used to the ways of the world in northern Laos, in the beginning though it was a steep learning curve.

Being Grateful For What You Have

P1110357 (Large)

If there is one lesson that living in Laos can teach you it has to be “be grateful for what you have” as demonstrated by the local people. Here even if people are sick or really poor or have had something bad happen to them they will never fail to offer you a smile and words of kindness even if they have never met you before.

The Daily Commute in Luang Namtha

Commuting to work in Luang Namtha

We recently discovered that one of our staff members was living in less than great conditions so immediately offered for her to move into our Forest Retreat House.  This is a house we have for any staff who need accommodation to live in.

She thought about it for a day, and then came back to us:  Yes, she wanted to move in, but she was worried about something.  The conversation went something like this:

Returning To Life Lao-Style

Beautiful Laos; always good to come back to.

Every time we leave Laos we seem to step instantaneously into the hustle and bustle of a shiny, more developed country that has things like supermarkets, trendy clothes, movie theatres and fast food chains. At first these things are exciting and new (again) but then the novelty wears off after a while and you are just in a concrete jungle and rat race again…

The concept of time in Luang Namtha

Luang Namtha northern Laos

When we come from a country where pretty much everything is on time, you phone your boss to apologise and explain if you are running 10 minutes late for work, and appointment times mean you turn up on time or miss out, it can be a little mind-bending at first to understand how time works in Luang Namtha.

Now we are used to the ways of the world in northern Laos, in the beginning though it was a steep learning curve.

One Day In Our Life

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Yesterday was not a particularly unusual day for us here in Luang Namtha.  In fact, it’s the kind of day we now consider pretty normal.  It wasn’t always a normal day for us though, and when we think back to only 2 and a half years ago, it would have seemed like a dream come true… so as a reminder to ourselves to appreciate every day, here is a record of our adventures from yesterday.

Conversations in Luang Namtha

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This post has been inspired over the past few days when all of these conversations actually took place.  They are so different from anything we would say or hear in our daily lives living in a western country, that we thought it might be good to share them!

Luang Namtha vs. Sydney: Renting a property

House hunting in Luang Namtha

The pace of life here in the sleepy small town Luang Namtha, Laos couldn’t really be more different than the pace of our former lives in the ‘big city’ of Sydney, Australia.

This was demonstrated to us yet again in the past few weeks as we have been trying to rent a property.  So we thought we’d put together a brief analogy to show the vast differences between life here and in a large city in the western world.

Taking time to smell the roses

The slow life in Luang Namtha

So we’ve been a bit remiss lately with writing blog posts for this site. Life in Laos just makes you that way. You have intentions to do something, but if it doesn’t happen today, or tomorrow, or next week, it’s no big deal.

A wake up call for us as to how “Lao” we’ve become has been the realisation that it’s been a whole month that we haven’t blogged here. Really? It only seems like a few days or a week….

Mission Of The Day #1

Forest Retreat Laos Luang Namtha

This week we have had several comments from travellers in Luang Namtha encouraging us to write about the very different things that we are sometimes doing in a day.  It is so vastly dissimilar to our former western-society lives and yet these days we are pretty used to it so take whatever today’s mission is, as it comes.

I am talking about the weird and wacky, kind and fun, or just plain funny things that we get up to here.

We Always Want What We Don’t Have…

Beautiful people of Luang Namtha northern Laos

So, just because you are living in Laos doesn’t make you entirely exempt to the huge influence of media advertising to make you want what you don’t have; the global advertising monster reaches even here (although to a much smaller extent to anywhere else we know of – simply because most people still don’t have tv’s or radio). Media still reaches Laos by way of products though, with posters to go with them.  For example the huge majority of skincare products here have skin whitening agents to make your skin more white because that is believed to be more attractive in this part of the world.