Laos in the North: Poised for Change

“The idea of the Laos government is to become the battery of Southeast Asia,” Robert Zoellick, World Bank president, Time, 12/09/2010

 According to the teachings of the Buddha, life is comparable to a river. It moves from cause to cause, effect to effect, one point to another, one state of existence to another, giving an outward impression that it is one continuous and unified movement, where as in reality it is not. So does life. It changes continuously, becomes something or other from moment to moment.  (The Buddhist Concept of Impermanence)

Is Laos in the 19th century racing towards the 21st? Not since the 1970’s has this most relaxed of southeast Asian societies faced the prospect of monumental changes globalization is bringing to this ancient land. In a series of articles for Suite101 and the Examiner, I explore these shifting forces even as I experience centuries of tradition.


Muang Ngoi on the Nam Ou, Laos

Forested mountains and ethnic villages may dominate photos of northern Laos, but it’s the region’s swift rivers an energy hungry southeast Asia covets.

Visit northern Laos timeless scene before time runs out 

 

The Forest Retreat Laos cafe, Luang Namtha, Laos

In the misty mountain provincial capital of Luang Namtha in northern Laos, a mere 50 miles from the Chinese border, a traveler would not normally expect to enjoy a perfect grilled cheese sandwich, stuffed with banana, while sipping a shot of Lao Lao.

The Forest Retreat Laos cafe and bar makes a mean grilled cheese

the Nam Oh, upriver of Nong Kiau in northern Laos

For eons, Laos 270 mile long Nam Ou has cut a path of incredible beauty providing easy transport and fertility to the northern interior.

The Nam Ou: Laos Rice Bowl River Changing Course

al fresco lunch in the Nam Ha National Biodiversity Conservation Area

Roasting eggplant and tomatoes imparts an earthy flavor to these two quick and easy Laotian dips or spreads.

Roasted Eggplant and Tomatoes: Two Easy Laotian Appetizers

Nong Kiau Riverside Resort & Restaurant, Nong Kiau, Laos

In the far north of Laos, overlooking the swift flowing Nam Oh River as it cuts a path through towering forest covered limestone mountains, the Nong Kiau Riverside Resort and Restaurant melts into the lush countryside.

The view from Nong Kiau Riverside Resort and Restaurant is worth the trek

Mok Pa

An aromatic mix of onions, garlic, herbs and chili enveloping slices of fresh fish fillet may be the ingredients for Mok Pa, but the banana leaves are the secret.

Mok Pa: Laotian Fish Steamed in Banana Leaves

A relaxing ecotourism center spanning the Nam Ou, Nong Kiau is positioned to be a major player in Laos northern economic development.

Nong Kiau, Laos: Poised for Change

Ban Samsaath, Laos – a traditional weaving village

2 thoughts on “Laos in the North: Poised for Change”

  1. Laos still imports most of its electricity from Thailand and Vietnam. What it sells to both places it does at half the price it buys back. When the reservoir level is low — as last year — the generation stops and the whole capital (Vientiane) only has electricity from Thailand. That’s why Laos has just raised the domestic cost of electricity by 25% in 2012. Still quite some way to go before Laos gets to battery status. And those rivers and ethnic villages might not look quite so cute when they are on the power grid — unless one is really into pillons. Sure, it’s better than burning coal, but Laos exports far more mined coal power to China than it is likely to produce in hydro-power before the great goal of 2020. And China of course burns it — to power its factories. Unfortunately the idea of a battery is a bit missleading — you can’t just package up electricity.

    1. Thanks for reading. I can see why you may be confused by my blog. I have used my blog for the past year only as a teaser with links to my *published articles*. If you read the articles, especially the ones on suite101, you will see my approach to this development in Laos.

      Take care,

      *Marc*

      http://www.travelpenandpalate.com http://www.travel-with-pen-and-palate-argentina.com http://marcdentremont.suite101.com/ http://www.examiner.com/fine-dining-in-philadelphia/marc-d-entremont http://www.examiner.com/dining-in-national/marc-d-entremont

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