Traffic in Vientiane

Sorry, this second post about Laos comes little late because I can’t while at work anymore.  Damn IT people must been filtering blog sites and had block it. LOL   I guess they want me to do some work when I’m at work hahahahah.

I’ve mentioned on previous blog that it is been 4 years since the last time I was in Laos.  Wow!!! As we drove out from Wattay Airport and I’ve notices the different right away.  So many cars, trucks and motorcycles are sharing the same tiny little roads.

this is middle of the day traffic.. see the two ladies trying to cross the road?? lol

good luck trying to turn left.. hahhaha notices not all bikers are wearing helmets even they pass the law..

those ladies pushing the carts are very brave.. eventually the cars and bikes have to stop. hahah

One thing I’ve notices that Vientiane are filled with nice luxury cars.  Which raise the question how most of these folks can afford such a car.  Almost all cars are being paid in cold hard cash and these cars aren’t cheap to begin with.  For example, if a car cost about $50,000.00 in the U.S., one will expect to paid almost double that price and in cash.  A friend had told me that some of those nice numbers plate cost as much as half of the price of the car itself.  Always makes me wonder what kind of businesses are these folks running to afford such items.  Also, the price of gas in Vientiane is really expensive comparing to the U.S..  I did some converting and their price of gas is almost $5.30 per gallon.  It is understandable because the gas is being driven in from Thailand or Vietnam.

Here are the pictures of all the nice luxury cars I captured during my visit.

this nice Lexus 570 SUV was illegal park on a sidewalk..

just park anywhere even is a sidewalk.. totally lao style.. hahah

one of the most popular SUV in Laos..

Toyota Vigo is one of the most popular truck in Laos..

speedy range rover.. almost didn't captured it.

i wonder if this rice rocket ever top over 70 mph(110 kmh).. since the roads are so bad around the city and no super highway

Z 350

convertible bmw.. i wonder how many time this owner took the tops down and drive around town.. nice hot sunny day with all the dust.. hahaha

nice benz sedan.. this one easily will cost close to $100,000

i'm kindda shock to see this late model of camero in VTE... good luck finding parts in Laos. lol

This last picture is priceless..  I didn’t think that any Sarm Lor (3 wheels) is still around.  We were waiting for the traffic light and I spotted him speeding off.  I’m glad that I was quick enough to captured this photo.

sarm lor(3 wheels).... what a hard way to earn a living.. i dare lance armstrong to give it a try around VTE. hahahha


21 thoughts on “Traffic in Vientiane

  1. Jeffrey

    Yeah, what’s up with all these luxury cars in Vientiane? What’s your take on this and how certain people can afford them? And why?

    I sure as heck wouldn’t want a luxury car–just think about the added expense and headaches.

    Nice to see some pics of Vientiane, too. I will be there in August!

    1. seeharhed Post author

      Jeffrey – Everything boils down to one word “corruption” that most people are living on denied. Let’s do some simple math. The average government workers makes around $ 100.00 U.S. per month, $100 x 12 = $1,200 per year. How can one even afford to pay for the foods but let alone buying nice cars.

      If I were to live in Laos, I’ll probably buy myself a tiny little car that will gets me from point “A” to point “B”. It doesn’t happen to be like those rice rockets, as long it will protect me from the dusty roads.

      I bet you’re counting down the numbers of days you’ll be in Laos.

      1. Lat

        Hello Sir,

        I don’t know how long are you staying here in Laos and if you really understand Laos context and development paradigm. We are not only relying on monthly salary as Lao peoples are not state worker.
        There are many marchant, business men, and also neo Lao peoples with Chinese or Vietnamese in origine within 3 generation who assisted the most on trading and business.

        To compare with foreign countries, the number of luxury cars is very limited, you should mention the number of cars importation increased.
        And to compare with other developed countries such as US, France, England, or else there is also poor peoples, event poorer than Laos.

        Related to the corruption, please make a calculation who did it more? And the amount black money who have it more than Laos?

        We cannot make any jugement without any prove or only with what we have seen. There must be some reason.


  2. Nye

    seeharhed, is all the government vehicles still with blue tag?

    Out of all your car photos, I like the sarm lor(3 wheels) best, very classic. 🙂

    1. seeharhed Post author

      Nye – That’s correct and red plate is also government vehicles. I was there for almost 5 weeks and that was only time I saw the sarm lor(3 wheels).

  3. Kim

    Jeffrey and Seeharhed:

    I like to think that not all government workers are corrupt. There are some business men and women who are successful in Laos.

    Flaunting their wealth is something that many people in Laos like to do. They have to have a car that is better than their neighbors, a house that is bigger, etc…

    When I was there in the late 90, my relatives tried to give me some gold jewerly since they only saw me wearing my wedding ring. I must have looked so poor to them. I told them that I am more practical when traveling so they left me alone.

    1. seeharhed Post author

      Kim – Yes, I agree not all government workers are corrupt but good portion of them are. Otherwise, it is almost impossible for them to be driving those kind of vehicles with government salaries.

      Also, at the same time.. There are so many rich business men and women in Laos these days. As most of you guys know, laotian folks love to show off anyways and especially in Laos. You want to be the first one in VTE to be driving around with certain car.

  4. Cambree

    I didn’t even know the Camero is still around. I remember back in the 80’s they were awful looking.

    I like seeing the people riding their scooters, especially when there are whole families in them.

    It would be nice to see better transportation system that requires no gasoline. 🙂

    1. seeharhed Post author

      Cambree – Camero came out a year or so ago of this re-make of old body. I didn’t really care for it then and even now:-).

      I did take some pictures of 3 or 4 people on one scooter.. Stay tune, I’ll try to post it later.

  5. Zekki

    That is an amazing contrast. The gap between the rich and poor is great. Hopefully the gap becomes small soon. Back in the old days if you had a car like these, your new home will soon be the concentration camp. Concentrate on being equal.

    For some, the cars could be shocking, but look at it on the bright side. The rest of the world is modernizing while Laos is still in the dark ages. These cars will help speed people into the modern age because if people can see it, they can dream it. Many people will struggle to get one…not exactly these ones but a something more affordable or they’ll buy other useful things like refrigerators, air conditioners or public transit. The only recipe to make this progress happen is to have a free market and a free/freedom of education, where everyone can afford private education. The government provide the roadway and prevent crime. If they can’t afford a road, they need a toll road system. If they don’t stop crime, then a private investigator or a private uncorrupted security can do it.

    1. seeharhed Post author

      Zekki – I was shock to see so many cars and bikes on streets of VTE. From what I’ve learned, car dealerships do allow folks to make monthly payments. Therefore, the number of people owning cars jumped within past couple years. I’m not so sure if it is good or bad thing. Perhaps, this will created more debts for people and soon will be like the West.

      As far as education goes.. if you have $$, your kids most likely attend private schools…

    1. seeharhed Post author

      Satan – Thanks for stopping by… Yes, rice rocket!!! What I meant by that is… mostly only Asian people likes to drive that car and that’s why I refer it to as “Rice Rocket”. I’ll take your word for it as far as the fastest car out of all those I posted it. I never really own any of the sport cars due to the fact that I just can’t afford it.

  6. EereNoon

    Traffic in Vientiane is way much better than in Vietnam. Their traffic are totally messed up and to cross even a small road, we need to think twice. But so far, we never seen any accident there while we were there.

    I always go back to Thailand through Vientiane and I do like it a lot. 20 Baht per DVD in Talat Sao and the duty free area near the Friendship Bridge…. Way cheaper than the one in Thailand.

    1. seeharhed Post author

      If you live not too far from Nongkhai, it is probably best going through Laos. It is not as crowded and they have buses services from Talat Sao to the Friendship Bridge for cheap. But, I’m not sure if airfares to Laos is any cheaper coming from where ever you at.

      1. EereNoon

        I live in Udon Thani. Bus from Talat Sao to Udon is just 80 Baht. The airfare from Malaysia is cheap. I have to book months before I travel and can go as cheap as 500 Baht including airport tax.

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