LAOS: When Rushing is Totally Uncool

On August 29, 2013 by Niza Zainal


We were introduced to Laos laidback atmosphere almost instantenously as we stepped into the remarkably quiet Wattay International Airport.  And it became equally strange as nobody approach us when we walked out to the lobby looking for transport to the city.

Yes, we were being totally ignored. But not in a bad way. Laos general approach to life and its calm ambience was so intoxicating that  we yielded to its amazing charm and had ourselves loosen up. And this was how we first experienced Laotian’s time indifference.

Upon exiting the airport we walked to the main street in hope of finding a tuktuk to the town centre, and at the same time contemplating whether or not we should hire a taxi since the street was extremely quiet and no tuktuk could be spotted anywhere. Just about the right timing, we saw one heading in our direction. The tuktuk was with passengers, and eventually making its way to the airport.  Seeing us with backpacks and all the driver gestured us to wait for him. It was a long wait – both of us with our heavy load standing at what seemingly empty roadside and started to feel like idiots. Is he (the driver) coming back to pick us up? We were not sure. After seemed like forever we decided to look for another tuktuk, and as we were about to make our moves, the tuk tuk driver appeared with a big smile on his face that reads – “there’s no need to worry. We have all the time in the world”.


“The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it”  -  Sydney J. Harris


Again the same thing happened when were about to board the bus to Vang Vieng. We were supposed to be picked up from the bus agency (where we bought our tickets) to the bus station, and based on the time stamp the bus will be leaving anytime soon. But the pickup driver was nowhere to be seen, and when he finally arrived, he walked casually towards us, sat on one of the bench at the agency and lighted up his cigarette. Our bus supposed to be leaving in 5 minutes time and there he was, puffing his cig and not giving a monkey’s about us. He smiled when we raised our concerns to him, took all his own sweet time to finish his smoking before finally saying to us, “Let’s go!”. And guess what, the bus was still there even though we were like 10 minutes late. It only departed half an hour later although all the passengers were already on board. Then and there we learned that tardiness is really the ‘in’ thing in Laos.


Even the cats know how to relax in Vientiane.


I gave myself a stretch up, a morning yawning.. La di da di da…


Admiring the sunset and the lazy beauty of Mekong river.


Laos could also be the most forgotten country in Southeast Asia, next to Myanmar. Though the latter is due more to its repressive military junta and civil unrest. But Laos is forgotten for simply being itself  – a country where everything is so relaxed and easy going that not much could be heard about it. Simply ask yourself how many times that you ever read about Laos in the news.

So now you know what to do if you are in Laos.

Just sit back and relax cause Laos, or officially Lao P.D.R (Lao People’s Democratic Republic) is actually Lao, Please Don’t Rush.


P/S: We made the trip almost a year ago and were only able to finish the first part of the story. Apparently our embracing of the slow-pace life of the Lao has become a little bit too much.

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2 Responses to “LAOS: When Rushing is Totally Uncool”

  • Unexpected isn’t it? Unlike it’s neighbor Cambodia and Thailand where tuk-tuk drivers are bashing just to get a passenger. Laos has been on our list and want to visit their version of arc de triomphe.

  • avatar
    Niza Zainal

    Exactly. We were a bit culture shocked at first but it turned out to be one of our best experience travelling. It’s nice when nobody bothers us wandering around and get to let loose that cynical self-protect mode . Btw, the first picture is taken from the window of the Patuxai (Laos Arc de Triomphe) overlooking the Lang Xane Avenue :)

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