Growing Pain

It is been 4 years ago since the last time I was in Laos.  As soon as I left Wattay International Airport and right a way I’ve notices changes in the streets of Vientiane.  The traffic was the first thing I’ve notice, so many cars and motorcycles shares the same small roads.  I can’t believe my eyes that once a sleepy town are now clogged up with all kinds of vehicle.  Yet! The only major road construction I’ve seen is along MeKong River just north of Don Chan Palace Hotel.  The Korean firm is the lead on this flood protection/road.

project sign..

looking south at Don Chan Palace Hotel

throughout the years.. the mekong river wahes the thailand banks and deposited all the sand on laos side..

you're looking at the current shoreline road.. soon to be part of inner road

as you can see the other side of river.. the thai already finished their bank protection project..

it is so common.. always see people seeking the shade under the tree..

The Department of Public Works and Transportation have a lot of work ahead of them.  Traffic in Vientiane is getting worse by the day, therefore they need to fix the current problem and plan for the future as well.  Eventually some type of public transportation to move people in and out of center of town.  Widening the existing roads and build some type of express ways around the city.  It will comes down to who’s going to pay for it?


7 thoughts on “Growing Pain

  1. Jeffrey

    I first visited Vientiane in 2008 and in the two years since, I have also seen the traffic getting worse. There could be any number of reasons for this–more people driving and able to afford inexpensive cars (especially ones from Korea like Kia) as well as more tourism (the last time I was there, felt that there were more than the usual number of tour buses).

    I saw the same thing in South Korea. In 1990, when I first came to Korea, the traffic was bad but not as bad as it would get in three years. Why? Korean auto manufacturers came out with the affordable Tico which put more cars on the roads–not only for people buying their first car, but families wanting a second car.

    You are so right, someone is going to have to pay for all of this.

    I would hate to see Vientiane lose some of its charm by widening roads and perhaps causing more traffic but right now, the city has to contend with narrow roads with a lot of traffic.This could be another case of Catch-22.

    1. seeharhed Post author

      Jeffrey – You’re so right about the Korean cars dominating Laos market and also the Chinese cars. As of right now, people can purchase a car with a monthly payments. This is unheard of 4 or 5 years ago, everything was purchase cash only.

      I would hate to see them widening some of those old roads too. But, something has to be done to minimize some of traffic nightmare. The Department of Public Works and Transportation have a lot of works on their plates. Well, you’re heading there soon and I’m sure you will witness the situation. Maybe you can take pictures and blog about it :-).

  2. Nye

    The roadway situation in Laos is kind of sad. I was surprised to see water buffaloes on the HWY and told his to the cab driver in Thailand and he started laughing. I didn’t think I was being funny, and he was like “for real?”

    You seems to know a lot about transportation, perhaps there’s a job waiting for you in Laos. 😉

    1. seeharhed Post author

      It is a pretty common thing to see a herd of water buffalo on most major highways throughout Laos. During my trip to Pakse, I can’t count how many times we had to come to complete stop and avoid hitting the animals.

      LOL.. I know a little thing or two about transportation, getting people from point A to point B :-). hahahah I’d love to go back and work in Laos for few years. Must be a foreigner company with a decent perks in order for me to leave. I came close to make the moves about 10 years ago but the $$ is not attractive enough. Plus, the job will be in the middle of the jungle and will be station there for about 9 months out of a year.

      1. Nye

        seeharhed, you’re being too modest. I think you can run the whole department of transportation in Laos. 🙂

  3. Dallas

    The 4th picture of a glass building is a bar (Sakuran)? Have you been inside?

    Did you see any beggars. When I was there last time there was 2 adults female with 1 baby and a young boy bothering tourists all day long. They know exactly who to ask too. I thought I could pass for another Laotian but they spotted me.

    Just wondering if the government did anything to curb it.

    1. seeharhed Post author

      Dallas – I believe that glass building is a bank on the bottom level and studio apartment above. Although, I walked by few times but never been inside of it.

      As far as beggars, I saw few of them here and there but never really got stop by any. Although, there were few occasions where I been hassled from this group of kids to buy chewing gum from them. The locals told me that someone would used these kids to push products, if they sell them all then those kids will most likely be punished. These kids would be roaming the city late at night trying hard to sell stuffs at bars and restaurant areas. One time I ran into the same kid whom I help bought chewing gum from the night before and he wants me to buy some again. But, the employee from Joma chase him out.


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