Mar 31st, 2013, 06:22 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 19

We are planning a 2 week trip to Laos-Cambodia in January. We would like to see areas where tribal life still remains unchanged as well as the usual "must see sights".
Do you have any advice for that kind of an itinerary? We will fly to destinations if it helps to save time. We are also considering Mekong River part of the way. We are interested in history, archaeology, learning about tribal people.
marinab is offline  
Mar 31st, 2013, 06:38 AM
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good luck finding unchanged people
rhkkmk is offline  
Mar 31st, 2013, 07:05 AM
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There are places you can go in Cambodia and Laos where people are living in more traditional ways, but don't expect you will find peoples that have not been impacted by our changing world. The places where you will find people living in more traditional lifeways are remote, hard to get to and have no tourist infrastructure - no hotels, no taxis, no restaurants, etc. Generally, you have to trek to those areas.

One of our regulars here, offwego, posted a trip report several years ago about going to remote areas of Cambodia. I'll try to find it for you.

There are companies in Laos that will take to to more remote areas, but sine they have set up places to stay, etc, the people there are more impacted by tourism. There are a number of reports here about such trips.
Kathie is online now  
Mar 31st, 2013, 07:08 AM
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Here is the trip report I referred to above:
Kathie is online now  
Mar 31st, 2013, 07:26 AM
Original Poster
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Thank you for your help.
We were in Burma 15 years ago and hiked into the mountains to see many different tribes. Is it different now in Laos?
marinab is offline  
Mar 31st, 2013, 07:50 AM
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Remember that Burma was effectively cut off from the rest of the world for nearly 50 years. While Laos is relatively unvisited, it has not had that kind of isolation. You can visit tribes living in traditional ways, but they have still been impacted by our changing world.

A decade ago, I was able to visit a Hmong village celebrating the new year near Luang Prabang. Things have changed a lot in Laos since that time. You would have to go farther north to get to tribal groups like that now.
Kathie is online now  
Mar 31st, 2013, 09:55 AM
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Pull the little orange button down to the last tour, "Ratanakiri". This might be interesting for you.
lcuy is offline  
Mar 31st, 2013, 11:33 AM
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Thank you. I know that Cambodia has fewer well preserved tribal areas but where in Laos can we still find more isolated tribal life?
marinab is offline  
Apr 1st, 2013, 12:56 AM
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I did some trekking in the far north of Laos a few years ago near Luang Namtha and stayed at a Lanten village where they were still living traditionally, but, and its a big but, the fact that a local trekking company was using one of the huts in the village suggests that the villagers were being impacted upon to some degree by the outside world. I trekked with Green Discovery but there are other possibilities. Also its an interesting part of Laos without many tourists.
silverwool is offline  
Apr 1st, 2013, 01:19 AM
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Like silver wool I also did some trekking in Lao a few years ago and had a great time. We visited and stayed in a number of towns and villages in the far north including Phongsali, Muang Sing, luang Nantha. Ban Bountai. In the south, the Bolavens plateau is also worth considering but more for the scenery than the minority people's villages. The islands of Si Phan Don in the Mekong are a great place to chill out for a few days.

The far north of Lao will most probably provide what you are looking for but even there, I am sure has been affected by tourism and trade to some degree. We first visited in the mid nineties when the area was little visited and travel was very basic with no creature comforts. In 2007, the area was showing signs of increased development mainly because of the roads being built by the Chinese which I am sure has impacted the area a lot by now.

Visiting and staying in the villages and trekking around the region was one of the most magical experiences I have ever had in my travelling life but I hesitate to go back now for fear that that way of life has been changed for ever. Much of the travelling was done by boat in the north which was then through untouched forest and real " Heart of Darkness" type country.

Green Discovery, as recommended by silverwool has a good reputation and whilst it is possible to travel there independently, I would strongly recommend a guide to get the most out of it.
crellston is offline  

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