Laos: Rainforest, Rapids and Remote Villages…and asking myself the question: “Is backpacking bad?”

7 thoughts on “Laos: Rainforest, Rapids and Remote Villages…and asking myself the question: “Is backpacking bad?””

  1. Good question Lisa i have been in that ignorant frame of mind of oh yes we are helping them .When may be we are just being colonist , Good article


  2. Sabadee Lisa, Shukran 4 sharing ur thoughts w/ ur readers + asking the good questions. Look frwd 2 further discussion whn back at Cowley. Found a piece of red rag cum carpet 2 lay down upon ur return. Enjoy rest of trip. Ali


  3. I appreciate your thoughtful and ethical approach to travel, and I share many of your concerns with the exploitative aspects of travel. I’m always annoyed by travelers who pretend that there is something culturally appropriate or authentic about doing drugs in the golden triangle, and the shit-show of places like Vang Vien are really disturbing. One thing I am a bit surprised at, however, is the way you are dressed: bare knees and shoulders are very rarely seen in SE Asia, especially in more rural and traditional places. For me, dressing that way seems fundamentally disrespectful, and encourages young people to dress that way.


    1. hi Bryce!
      thanks for your comment. you’re right – dressing like that isn’t really acceptable…i think i wrote about it in my next blog post when i visited Muang Ngoi. The only photo of me in this blog post is on the motorbike – and you see the scarf round my neck? i was wearing that to cover my shoulders (though it proved more difficult on a motorbike!!) as i had hitchhiked and taken the trans-siberian all the way from England and didn’t need to be so concerned about covering my shoulders/upper arms until Laos. Luang Namtha (where this post is written) was my first stop in Laos. the other photos are of my travel companions who i met in Namtha.
      I was careful to cover my shoulders throughout the whole of Laos by using my scarves, but ended up replacing the scarves with t-shirts. I always wore trousers, and didn’t even bring any shorts with me on this trip. I bathed in the river in my clothes.
      Seven years ago, though, when i first travelled in SE Asia, i travelled with bare shoulders…i didn’t realise that i was being disrespectful. So i think it’s a learning curve for a lot of young travellers.
      happy travels and thanks for reading 🙂


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