Recently I was selected as an applicant for Jauntaroo a travel and tourism company that was making headline news with a campaign to find a chief world explorer to travel and blog. The coveted Chief World Explorer job was open for a month to anyone in the world to apply, with over 3,000 applicants I was selected to be one of them. The applicants are chosen on a few things, Who you are, what you have done, and your marketability. each applicant is to make a 60 second video. Mine is about my travels and philanthropic activities. You can vote for each applicant by clicking on their link. A screen shot of mine is pictured here.
The rumors are true, crossing the Lao Cambodia border has some hick ups, be prepared to pay a “STAMP CHARGE” of 2 USD not once but twice and an additional 1USD for some medical paperwork on the Cambodian side. All in the game of Travel my friends.
Even for the wise traveler seeking a visa prior to will have to pay. As “everyone pays my friend”. Oh and the folks who like to overstay their welcome the allotted time on your visa may be 30 days, remember that each day you overstay you will pay 10 USD. So be ready to pay.
Southern Laos Cambodian land Border check out.
I heard about the “stamp charge” and or “bribe” whatever you wish to call it. I wasn’t thrilled and even questioned it, however eventually forked over 2 USD like the twenty some odd other European sheep crossing over the border. Once you cross the no mans land on the other side you will be presented the “same same but different” Stamp fee.
As for the 1 USD charge I showed the lady my Yellow Fever booklet and said “No Thanks” to the extra dollar. I think she was confused as all the other herding sheep just paid out of their fat wallets. She had her boss look at my yellow fever booklet, I was waived through.
Hello Cambodia! In addition to the visa in my passport is the arrival and departure card.
So maybe you can show your booklet too and save a buck to eat your next meal in Cambodia too. A small price but it adds up after a while when you are on the road. Minor set backs like this seem like only 4 dollars here and there but when you are a world traveling backpacker for extended time away from making money every penny counts. So whether it is legal or not, right or wrong I had to respect both countries Laos and Cambodia because that is the way they handled the border, and quit frankly I didn’t want to miss my bus on the account of not paying a “bribe/stamp charge”. It’s all in the game of travel my friends. Enjoy.
I was invited into a hut to watch a local game of cards. Pretty interesting situation.
One of my last stories from Laos was one I’ll remember forever. Being invited into a dark hut never seems like a good idea when there are a bunch of small Asian men with machete’s squatting around smiling at you, waving you towards… This hut was used as the local corner store selling snacks and beer but today was the hangout where a group of village men sat around the floor playing cards on a dusty matte and old t-shirt as the playing field. I clearly was already standing out as the only white boy around for hectors, so I made the most of it, I weighed my options, I stepped inside to capture the moment. It was great, the sunlight found its way through the bamboo and thatch walls illuminating the small cramped space with enough light to play. With plenty of the local brew being sipped, voices pitched as cards were being slapped down. I was waved in closer; I squatted next to them and tried to learn the game. I wasn’t going to try and capture the moment with a few clicks of my camera, but then I felt compelled to share this with the folks back home. Cheers to all my Guy friends out there to one day we play a round of cards and think of the places in the world where there are people just like us living life, doing their thing while we do ours. The big picture is just that, Life is a gamble, no matter where you live in the world and we are all in it together.
Village ladies walking through a dry rice paddy. Southern Laos
My last destination of Laos happens to be a place called Four Thousand Islands a myriad or islands on the mighty Mekong river just before Cambodia. I heard many different things about this area such as it is a special area where fresh water dolphins migrate to. Pretty amazing place. Once you get off the beaten back packer path, you can find yourself in a very quiet rural village of the every day lives of the local Lao people. The in bed by 8 up at 4:30 am village folks that everything they need is in the fields and river around them. These are the people that live and die by the river, a calm an collective place to unwind and just live a quiet life of peace, or so it seems from my perspective. After a short week here I’ll be off on the rad again to north eastern Cambodia. Until then here are some photos of the area of where I’ve been staying.
I call this the Coconut Hut.
Long boats sit waiting on the bangs of Don Khon, four thousand Islands
A village home in the Four thousand Islands. Laos.
A bout with the distant mountains
The main road on Don Khon, the more sleepy little area.
Motorbikes get a ferry over the river. Laos
leaving the main landA hut on stilts in low rain season over the river bed.