What to expect during the Challenges of Volunteering Abroad

What to expect during the Challenges of Volunteering Abroad

So, you have decided to go volunteering abroad?

Good on you, because from a personal achievement, you’ll never receive more satisfaction in life than lending a helping hand to those in need by doing some volunteer work abroad. It’s an experience in life that is highly challenging but also high rewarding, especially when you return home and recount with self-pride your voluntary work back to your family and friends.

However, voluntary work abroad in an unfamiliar country is not without its challenges. In many instances you are out of your comfort zone, away from your favourite gimmicks at home, the comfort of your own bed and your favourite meal at dinner time. All little things at the end of the day, but they all add up over a period of time. Therefore, let’s run through a list of what to expect when volunteering abroad.

 

teaching English

Teaching the primary kids is a challenging reward.

 

What to expect during the Challenges of Volunteering Abroad

 

You won’t change the world, so don’t expect to

Remember these words before any volunteering assignment, you are not a superhero, you are merely a volunteer. Therefore, during your time abroad you will not change the world or the community you are involved in for that matter, so don’t attempt to. Volunteering is meant to be a positive experience, so Relax, go with the flow and give the best effort you possibly can.

 

Volunteer in Laos

Meet interesting people volunteering abroad.

 

Volunteering Abroad is not cheap

You will need to pay significant fees when volunteering your services abroad. Nothing is free and that is including giving up your time and money to do a good deed. Different organisations offer various fees and from my experiences I can highly rate International Volunteers Headquarters for a worthy experience volunteering abroad.

With the fees you will have accommodation, food and a few day tours learning about the country’s culture and magnificent attractions. On top of the regular fees, most organisations will require that you purchase your own airfares, visas and travel insurance, so be prepared before for what you need before you sign up.

 

Get ready for a challenge

I doubt you would want to experience such a rewarding adventure if volunteer trips wasn’t a challenge to begin with. Good news, on a daily basis you will face different levels of challenges, whether it is keeping kids motivated while teaching a class, or constructing a wall in humid conditions. Remember to keep calm and think your way through any problems that will arise.

 

teaching English

The challenge of keeping the kids focused.

 

You can’t choose your room mates

When you sign up and choose the dates for your services abroad, the big unknown is who else around the world has volunteered their time during the same dates. Of course, you may choose to volunteer with your spouse, partner, family or friends. But who else is going to be joining you on the adventure will not be known until your arrival at your destination.

There will different age groups and different nationalities, so be prepared for various personalities. In my volunteering trip to Laos, I was the oldest volunteer by about ten years and I am not that old (at least in my books). It surprised me, I expected various age groups, yet here I was having the time of my life with great young people who were still in university and in Laos for same common cause as myself.

 

Volunteering abroad

Great memories with fellow volunteers.

 

Be prepared to Live in third world conditions

Perhaps suggesting third world conditions is a little steep, but it still will be a far cry from the luxuries you are afforded in the modern Western Civilisation. Dorm style sleeping without air-conditioning, basic and repetitive meals and limited gimmicks, such as television, WIFI and other modern-day luxuries we take for granted.

At times, it may get frustrating to live without those things that come second nature to us, but at the end of the day it will only be for a short time. Just remember when you are experiencing withdrawals from your favourite devices that the locals live this way all the time.

 

The Green Lion

Sleeping arrangements volunteering in Laos.

 

Expect the Unexpected during volunteer vacations

Expect the unexpected during voluntary work, a great motto for any aspects of life. The same can be said when volunteering abroad, especially when in unfamiliar environments around the world and cultures can clash. Go with the flow and don’t let those little things disturb your experience. At the end of the day that’s all it will be, little problems, that are easily solved.

 

Cherish those little rewards

A kid opens and says that difficult word in English, a class room clicks during the singing of a nursery rhyme or you finish a hard day’s work constructing that building in putrid conditions. It is all little steps in the life of volunteering and those little rewards need to be celebrated.

Remember you are volunteering abroad for right reason, it’s not an easy, it is not at all a cheap exercise and at times homesickness will kick in. Embrace the challenges ahead of you and at the end of each day, sit back and relax full well knowing that today, you did a good thing in life and that was to international volunteer programs.

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Volunteering abroad

Cherish the moments of volunteering abroad.

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Five Reasons Why you Should Visit Undeveloped Countries

Five Reasons Why you Should Visit Undeveloped Countries

Undeveloped countries aren’t those that are necessarily unheard or lack any familiarity for travellers around the world. These so-called third world countries still get their fair share of tourist who is eager to get a glimpse of a country not often thought about as a holiday destination.

When it comes to the recognition it deserves, the underdeveloped countries don’t match it with the popular tourist destinations like Thailand, Singapore or Hong Kong to mention a few. It shouldn’t always be the case, or neglected for a vacation. 

However, inspired by a trip to Laos, a fascinating and cultural, although an underdeveloped country in South East Asia. It had me thinking why such a country was not talked about more often in a tourist sense.

Sure, it lacked theme parks, astonishing water-parks and booming attractions that has kids excited.

However, there is much to discover in a country like Laos such as lavish temples, historic buildings and unheard history which was at times was genuinely heartbreaking or even inspiring.

There are many more emerging countries in similar conditions to Laos, which I would love to visit. Especially those not saturated with other travellers, or have densely populated areas with little space to move.

Not that I don’t love those saturated cities as they bring terrific atmosphere to your vacation. However, it’s great to have a change in travel plans and see something different and a little less luxury than your usual holiday.

 

Heading off a new kind of adventure? Book a holiday on TripAdvisor.

 

Local Laos Village

A local village in Laos is a highlight of visiting underdeveloped countries.

 

 

 

Five reasons why you should visit underdeveloped countries

 

1. Western Civilisation has yet to take over

Perhaps it should be the American franchises haven’t taken over yet, because in the third world type countries there is little of the popular fast food outlets such as McDonalds or KFC and you get a real chance to experience local food.

The major cities of the developing countries don’t have stacks of modern stores, huge shopping malls and any decent public transportation.

You’re visiting a country which has its own identity, without the influence of others and it’s a good reason to visit the developed countries. You could even travel to a doing a volunteering program abroad.

 

2. Culture is well and truly alive

Local culture in a developing nation is a thing of beauty. It’s great to see how the locals live their everyday life, family values, religious beliefs and other values which need respect when visiting the underdeveloped country.

The best thing is, these 3rd World countries are not entirely influenced by civilised western nations, who try to build their way into the underdeveloped country and crash the proud local culture.

At least, that’s not the case right now, but change does happen and not always for the right reasons.

 

3. New traditions discovered

New traditions, new cultures, different historic sites, and greeting new people is common when venturing into the unknown of these countries.

You can be the envy of your family and friends, as you take a different approach to travel and explore places with a proud tradition and a deep history others know little about.

It makes for a dinner conversation when you return home from your adventures and share a few photos.

 

4. Explore a local village

Nothing says getting a feel of the local life like stepping into a town. A kind of community where technology is limited and WIFI is entirely unheard of in areas.

A local village where housing is basic, and at times made of materials of bamboo or below quality wood, it’s a village where the locals farm their crops and gather their meat.

Still, the locals are smiling, the kids are laughing, and everyone is pulling their weight to get through the day and enjoy the evening. It is a magnificent sight to see when you witness it for yourself.

 

5. It is generally an affordable holiday

The underdeveloped countries are usually very affordable to visit and won’t break the bank account too much.

Whether it’s staying in a hotel, purchasing goods from locals market, or dining out in a restaurant, it all comes at a low price and your moderate budget is maintained.

Isn’t that a good thing for your credit card, because some underdeveloped countries have minimal credit card facilities, so the bills aren’t stacking up.

What are you waiting for when it comes to finding a new kind of adventure?

When you’re sitting down to plan your next holiday, do something different, and think about the best third world countries to visit.

It may well be the best holiday you have ever experienced in your life when entering into an undeveloped country.

 

Experience my adventures in Laos by visiting my Laos Travel Page!

 

 

Laos Temple

Beautiful temples are a magnificent sight in Laos.

 

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List in the comments below the underdeveloped country or countries you have visited? I would love to know where you have been. Or which country would you like to visit?

Laos

A lone monk walks in Laos.

 

What to expect during the Challenges of Volunteering Abroad

The Magnificent Patuxai War Monument in Vientiane – Laos

 

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An Epic Journey of a Volunteer in Laos – Travel Adventures

An Epic Journey of a Volunteer in Laos – Travel Adventures

The kids look up to you with intrigue in their eye, sitting on the dusty concrete floor, slowly eating their lunches as curiosity floats through their mind as to what these strange foreigners are doing in their school.

They have seen foreigners before, it’s not unusual to the school kids to see a volunteer teach english in Laos, but to wander through the school grounds with fellow volunteers from abroad is an experience to saviour.

They stare at you with curious eyes, some smile, a few frown and some of the kids run up to you as if you are a Rock star here to perform a hit concert.

However I am far from Rock stars, not even close, I am a volunteer in Laos here to lend a helping hand and hopefull y make another persons day better.

However, you wave, smile and hand out a few high fives, and it instantly hits you at what you’re doing in Laos and you have sudden pride in the decision to volunteer abroad.

It’s an experience like no other to be volunteering in Laos, travelling into an undeveloped country with little infrastructure and dodgy roads full of pot holes.

The smell in the air is different to what you are used to at home and their way of living comes unique to the standards of western civilisation.

Yet, you don’t let it deter you. It’s why you choose to do volunteering in Laos duties and to support those who need it most.

Of course, you can’t change the world, but for a fleeting moment, you can change the experience of someone’s life and bring happiness to others.

The life changing moments are achieved by doing little things in life, and you create a lasting memory which will last a lifetime.

 

Wanting to visit Laos for an incredible experience? Book a hotel in Vientiane on Booking.com!

 

Volunteer in Laos

A group shot with monks and volunteers in Laos.

 

An Epic Journey of a Volunteer in Laos – Travel Adventures

 

 

What triggered the decision to do Volunteer Work in Laos?

I have travelled to some fabulous destinations throughout Southeast Asia, stayed in some luxury resorts, drinking booze by the pool and have been on some incredible adventures through a variety stunning scenery.

I felt the need to do something different this time, to give back to a community that needed a helping hand. Therefore, I made the decision to do some volunteer work overseas and the only decision to make next, was which organisation to volunteer with? And which country to visit?

I searched a few voluntary services overseas on the internet, studied the many countries available, the prices and the programs on offer. Some organisations were quite hefty in price, so I went with the more affordable International Volunteer Headquarters (IVHQ).

At the end of the day, the IVHQ organisations were professional and thorough; the only thing to do was to pay the fees and choose which country to do my volunteer travel experience.

Amongst several eye-catching destinations, I narrowed it down to Nepal and Laos, and for no particular reason, I chose to volunteer in Laos.

 

Vientiane, Laos

A view of Vientiane, Laos

 

The Green Lion Volunteer Organisations

Once your dealings with IVHQ are concluded, you are more or less handed over to the organisation running the organisation in Laos, which is The Green Lion, tot that contact with IVHQ is ever lost. Two great guys run the Green Lion in Laos, brothers, in fact, Micky and Ticky.
They pick you up from the airport and help prepare plans for a weekend away. Micky and Ticky also work through any translations required with the locals and provide the schools or monasteries to teach English during your volunteering work.

The accommodation is a little away from the Laos Capital, Vientiane and there is not a great deal to do at the placement, except to visit a few local markets and play sport with the locals and other volunteers.

The rooms are dorm style, with three bunk beds in each room and a small bathroom. Thankfully, it’s not fully occupied, although you’re still not alone in the dorms.

In the placement area on the Green Lion grounds, there is a kitchen and dining area. A common social area under a terrace that overlooks the fields and a small water feature. There is occasional WIFI, and a boutique sports field made entirely of a gravel playing field.

 

The Green Lion

Volunteer in Laos at The Green Lion.

Volunteer in Laos

Playing sport is a popular past time during volunteering.

 

A Splash of Culture when you Volunteer

Entering the Green Lion organisation, it’s not just about getting into the nitty and gritty of your volunteering work.

The program begins with a step through a little educational Laos Culture, starting with making flowers for the monks and delivering it to their very own temple where they lived their every day lives at the Vat Pana Khoun Temple.

Not only did we offer the monks the hand-made flowers but we received a spiritual and deep meditation lesson from the gracious monks themselves. Learning and doing new things had well and truly began.

The culture trip in our Loas travel continued through the week with a day trip into the capital city in Vientiane, where we learnt about the tragic tale of the cluster bombs, a tragic tale that destroyed many innocent lives long after they were ejected from a U.S war plane during the Vietnam War.

We wandered the streets of Vientiane, making our way into a few low-key markets, shopping malls and the Patuxai War Monument which is a proud landmark of the country.

The best bit, however, was entering the Golden Palace, a stunning Buddhist temple, decorated with symbolic statues seen regularly throughout the South East Asian countries. Laos tourism has a lot to work with to get more travellers into the country.

 

COPE museum

A display of cluster bombs at COPE museum in Vientiane, Laos.

 

Further into the week we ventured deep into a local village, a real highlight of work in Laos, as we walked down the dusty gravel road and witnessed how the locals lived during a typical day.

The houses are made of wood, and there are no windows. Everyone is smiling, and the kids are playing on the streets without a care in the world. It’s terrific to see a different world to what you’re used to.

A hike through some beautiful Laos bush-lands in humid conditions capped off culture week, finishing on top of a rock with a great view of the countryside in Laos.

It was the perfect spot for a picnic lunch with the fellow volunteers, although there was no respite from the heat. The food prepared was a treat with a variety of different Lao meals to go around.

 

Laos Village

Hard work in Laos Village.

Lying Buddha at Golden Palace, Laos

Lying Buddha at the Golden Palace.

 

 

Teaching English to the Monks

From an outside perspective, I have always viewed the monks as extraordinary people, and they are exactly that, special and fantastic gentlemen.

To approach a monk, to even communicate or to even shake one’s hand, from my perspective, I always thought it would be on the forbidden side.

Not that I had previous dealings with monks beforehand, and any knowledge I did obtain was simply a guess. I had to volunteer in Laos to change that perspective and how wrong I had been.

It was a privilege to be in the presence of the monks, to talk with them, to teach them and to even laugh with these great men.

In life, no matter the person or their position in the world, everyone is a human being first a that is a great lesson to know. That rule is no exception to the monks.

They have a great sense of humour, full of wit, character and at times, even a little cheeky. If that’s not enough, the monks in Laos also go on Facebook, and if you befriend a couple, you’ll see they’re quite active throughout their day.

Besides their excellent character, sense of humour and their obsession with Facebook, the monk’s willingness to learn English was astounding and they were simply a pleasure to teach.

Communicating at times was quite tricky, but they never shied away from the challenge of learning English and their development over time gradually improved. Even if our time as a global volunteer in Laos was short-lived.

 

Volunteer in Laos

Teaching Monks, a great way to Volunteer in Laos.

Teaching English to the monks

Teaching English to the monks.

 

The Challenge of teaching English to the primary-aged kids

I always knew this journey would be a challenge, I mean not one of the volunteers are teachers by profession, we only know how to speak English.

The kids idolised the volunteers from the moment you walk into the school grounds, but to maintain the focus of a child who couldn’t speak our language, was another challenge completely. Although that’s the life of an international volunteer abroad and that’s the challenge to overcome such obstacles.

They had the fundamentals of English, in terms of counting, shapes and the alphabet, but to go further than the basics was when the roadblocks began.

All over again, I had to learn kid songs and basic games to hold their attention(my kids had passed that stage). To the best of my ability to teach English, I tried to entertain the kids when boredom started to sink in, trying being the keyword.

It was these kinds of challenges that made me sign up for the Laos volunteer programs in the first place.

The unbridled joy came when everything clicked together, and the students would burst out in full voice, to make everything seem worthwhile. It was hard work but high reward daily.

 

teaching English

School kids look on in the classroom.

teaching English

Teaching the primary kids is a lot of fun.

 

 

Getting along with fellow volunteers from all over the world

An unknown when volunteering abroad is who will be joining you on the adventure.

Upon entering the program, you anticipate a lot of things, and you expect volunteers to be of different nationalities and different age groups.

You can imagine my surprise when I rocked up at the Green Lion Organisation, and a majority of the volunteers were university students. At the tender age of 35, I was the oldest at the program by a considerable margin.

During my time at the placement, there were seven French people, two Danish girls, two Malaysian women, a Dutch woman, an Englishmen and a Canadian. I was the lone Aussie.

All the volunteers were youthful, at least to me, but they’re great young people, who had good intentions. We’re there for a common cause, to volunteer and to lend a helping hand any way we could.

It was a pleasure to meet such fine people, and forever there will be great memories of the time spent together. Especially during those tense volleyball matches against the French.

 

Settling into Volunteering

Settling into Volunteering/

 

An Experience that I will Never forget

To volunteer in Laos, is an experience that I’ll never forget and a journey I am glad I participated in at least once in my life.

Memories were created, friendships were made and I can only hope that I reached out to people who needed a lending hand or to even have a good laugh for a short while.

It was an incredible adventure and there were challenges when venturing into an underdeveloped country.

If you ever have a chance to volunteer, and the finances permit, take the journey into volunteering organisations and give back to travel where you can, because it is a rewarding experience that you will never forget.

 

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Mediatation time

Meditation time.

Vang Vieng, Laos

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A Very Basic Travel Guide to Vang Vieng in Laos

A Very Basic Travel Guide to Vang Vieng in Laos

Vang Vieng in Laos is an area of stunning surrounds that will captivate you immediately as you make your way into the popular tourist town and begin your next adventure in the up and coming Southeast Asia country. It is different to it’s neighbouring city of Vientiane, three-hours down the road, Vang Vieng is a bubbly township, but its lure to the area are the epic mountains that are visible throughout and the flowing rivers are what make Vang Vieng the perfect adventure for those who love the outdoor life and the spice of party life.

In this basic travel guide to Vang Vieng, you will see the major highlights and attractions, that will make you want to get on a bus, tame the bendy roads and make your way to the popular area for what promises to be an epic adventure with thrills and Adrenalin in the country of Laos.

 

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Nam Song River, Vang Vieng Laos.

 

Travel Guide to Vang Vieng in Laos

 

Where is Vang Vieng in Laos

Vang Vieng Laos is situated in the Vientiane Province and is a good three hours drive north of the Capital City of Laos, also known as Vientiane. Although Vientiane to Vang Vieng is only about a hundred kilometres in distance and seems much closer than you think when looking on the map, poor and bendy roads make the trek that little bit longer and car sickness may creep in during the trip.

 

travel guide to Vang Vieng in Laos

Enter the streets of Vang Vieng in Laos.

 

Where to stay in Vang Vieng

Vang Vieng accommodation is very affordable and can be found throughout the town, whether it is crowded hostel for next to nothing, or a budget hotel for around $25 a night, whatever it is you seek you will find the appropriate accommodation to suit any budget.

I strongly recommend the Laos Haven Hotel and Spa, nice hotel that will cost you around 30 bucks a night. The hotel comes with tidy private room, air conditioning, television and a bathroom. There is also a boutique swimming pool which comes in handy when wanting to keep cool in the Laos heat.

You can look for more hotel options in Vang Vieng on Booking.com.

 

Laos haven Hotel

The swimming pool of Laos Haven hotel.

 

Eating and drinking in Vang Vieng

You will not go hungry or thirsty in Vang Vieng with several great bars and restaurants to drink or dine at that won’t break the bank. Whether it is a local meal at one of the restaurants by the river with epic views, or any random restaurant along the busy streets of the city, you’ll find delicious local and international meal to suit any taste bud.

If dancing, drinking and mingling with other party goers then visiting the Vang Vieng Party town is certainly your forte, with the the Sakura Bar needing to be on top of your list. It’s full on entertainment with crazy music, beer ping pong and cocktails to keep those dancing bodies shaking for a great night out in Vang Vieng. Also, the staff love to hand out plenty of complimentary drinks to keep the party going that little bit longer. Perhaps their free drink offers is to compliment the higher price it cost to purchase an alcohol Beveridge, but heck, it all evens out in the end.

 

Sakura Bar Vang Vieng

Get the party started at Sakura Bar.

Vang Vieng

The Riverhill Restaurant in Vang Vieng.

 

 

Things to do in Vang Vieng

A Vang Vieng travel guide is not complete without discussing the outdoors and this area is a must for any traveller who loves the thrills of  great outdoors. With the stunning mountains and the beautiful Nam Song River at your mercy, these stunning attractions are well utilised with many day trips available in area which can include a little Laos river tubing, zip-lining and kayaking.

You can do all these things at a very affordable price and create many crazy adventures of various activities during your time in Vang Vieng. Let’s check out a list of awesome activities you can do and don’t forget to book awesome Vang Vieng Tours through Klook and save big!!!

 

Here is a list of activities you can do in Vang Vieng

 

Kayaking the Nam Song River

A kayaking session creates stunning views, but the rapid waters give you a kayaking experience to remember on the Nam Song River. At one stage, you are admiring the views around you and next you are paddling furiously through the shallow water and trying to remain upright on the kayak.

Picturesque Vang Vieng

Kayaking the Nam Song River in Picturesque Vang Vieng.

 

Hot air Ballooning

Witness picturesque Vang Vieng with a glorious bird’s eye view of the surrounding area and whatever you do, don’t forget your camera as memories are bound to be made and captured while navigating the friendly skies.

 

Get an Adrenalin rush with Zip-lining

Get ready for a rush at high speeds with a zip-lining adventure that will get the blood pumping and maybe for a few of you, the lungs screaming. Many hairy moments will come your way while participating in the zip-lining course that is simply amazing, don’t forget to pause for a moment and admire the amazing views that are simply breathtaking.

 

Vang vieng travel guide

Zip-line and witness some thrills and glorious scenery.

 

Adventures in a dark water cave

I hope you are not afraid of the dark as you embark on an adventure that Indiana Jones would be proud to compete in. Swim in cold water, slide down muddy slides and crawl in dark caves as you conquer the darkness with a headlight being your only companion. Beware of all the spiders during your adventure, they are everywhere in the dark Vang Vieng caves, but it’s not as scary as you think.

 

Vang Vieng

Have an adventure in the caves.

 

The Magic of Blue Lagoon

You will fall in love with The Blue Lagoon upon arrival, even if the large crowds may make it a little disparaging. Clean fresh water, welcome shade from the heat and a chance to chill and relax in the refreshing water, makes your time at the Blue lagoon a perfect pit-stop when you need a break from other strenuous activities in the surrounding the township.

That’s a wrap of the very basic travel guide to Vang Vieng in Laos, be sure to get there through your travels in the country and enjoy a new kind of experience in South East Asia. It will be different, but quite memorable nonetheless.

 

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Blue Lagoon, Vang Vieng

Blue Lagoon in Vang Vieng

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Active and Busy Walking the Streets of Vientiane in Laos

Active and Busy Walking the Streets of Vientiane in Laos

There is something a little different about walking the streets of Vientiane in Laos, it’s not your usual Southeast Asian city.

Sure, it still has the food stalls that spread out through the streets, where you remain unsure whether the food is safe to eat (with the consequences being a week on the toilet), I know that I’m always wary of street food.

Laos still has the vibrant marketplaces where a bargain is sure to be found, and the strong Buddhism flavour that is the main strength of religion in Southeast Asia, and the values that the locals live strongly by every day.

Visiting the Laos Capital in Vientiane? Check out great prices for hotels at Booking.com!

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King Anouvong statue

King Anouvong statue, Vientiane.

 

Furthermore, Vientiane has other familiarities of their Asian counterparts, for instance, stray dogs that are busy wandering the streets and at times will join you at the dining table.

There are the taxis and tuc-tucs drivers on the side of the road that are willing to take you around the city to earn a buck or two, and of course, Vientiane has that familiar smell in the air that lets you know you are very much in the heart of Southeast Asiaand I’m not saying that’s a bad thing either, at least in my opinion.

The obvious difference when walking the streets of Vientiane compared to its neighbouring Southeast Asian cities in the likes of Bangkok and Hanoi, is the population. The hustle and bustle does not exist in Vientiane, or at least to a much lesser extent, and how awesome is that during your Vientiane City tour.

 

walking the streets of Vientiane

the laid back nature of Vientiane.

 

Walking the Streets of Vientiane in Laos

 

The Laid back Southeast Asian City for a casual Stroll

To stroll through the Laos Capital means no dodging motorbikes on either the road or the footpath, and crossing the road is not as stressful as it is in Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City, although you’ll still need to exercise caution by looking left or right before taking that next step.

Walking along the footpath is a leisurely experience too, with a lot less obstacles and pedestrians getting in the way, which means going from point A to point B is not too much of a hassle when travelling by foot. It truly is a great city wander through and greet the friendly locals at will.

 

Vientiane City

The streets of Vientiane, Laos.

 

To me, being in Vientiane is like going back in time, the modern world has yet to catch up with this little city, with any new polished buildings being a rarity (although they do exist). I can honestly say it is not a bad thing to visit a destination that has a change of pace.

The Vientiane Night markets is another wonderful stroll and is easily the best markets I have seen in Southeast Asia, not that I have been to them all. It is a festive attitude at these markets with great entertainment and quality goods on sale. Even better with the Mekong River and the border into Thailand nearby. Being an Aussie, I just love the fact you can stare into another country from the other side.

 

Night Markets

Night Markets from above on a wet Laos Day.

 

Check out the Vientiane Attractions 

Of course, there are the stunning Palaces, temples and museums to gaze your eyes upon and marvel at the history and culture of the country’s work. Every visitor to the region knows that Southeast Asia get it right with their beautifully designed buildings.

Walking the streets of this beautiful city, you will stumble across some precious buildings like the Sisaket Museum and Wat Phra Keow. Although the popular Golden Palace (Pha That Luang) and the surrounding structures will knock your feet off, the golden texture is indeed brilliant and youll enjoy walking the grounds for a couple of hours and taking memorable photos of your trip.

 

Sisaket Museum

Sisaket Museum.

 

Then there is the Patuxai War Monument, the locals are so proud of this mighty landmark that stands out in the capital city ofLaos for everyone to witness. It celebrates the country’s independence from the French.

I remember the first time I saw this iconic structure from several hundred metres away, it’s presence was simply superior to anything around it. No doubt it was built to show its country’s strength. As I stepped closer to the monument, the magnificent structure just blew me away, and then I climbed the steps to the top and the 360 views of the city just capped it off nicely.

 

Patuxai Monument, Laos

The stunning Patuxai War Monument.

 

It was the walking streets of Vientiane, the laidback city full of heart and with a proud culture. A city on the rise, but one I hope that doesn’t change too much, because I enjoyed stepping into a city that simply wasn’t in any rush.

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The Unforgettable Volunteer Memories In Laos When I Taught English

The Unforgettable Volunteer Memories In Laos When I Taught English

The Unforgettable Volunteer Memories In Laos When I Taught English

It’s been a few months now since my volunteering days in Laos concluded and quite often I find myself thinking back to the days of teaching English in Laos. Often those volunteer memories come flooding back as I reflect on what I enjoyed most when assisting in helping others have the basic understanding of the tricky English language (even myself I find it tricky!!!).

I think back to the memories that were created and as to be expected there were a number of special memories that always stick in the mind. Lasting memories from the experience of teaching English to the monks and learning how human and downright cheeky they really are. To teaching the primary students and the challenge of keeping the young minds interested, while frantically making a dill out of myself.

 

Time in Laos

Teaching English to the monks in Laos.

 

All fantastic Experience to volunteer, I will admit

I can tell you now that it wasn’t the repetitive food we had at the Green Lion Organisation, or dorm style setup that didn’t provide any air-conditioning just a fan or two and made a good night sleep near on impossible. But heck, that was what we signed up for, to live in 3rd world kind of conditions, so we could really appreciate the gimmicks and comforts that were left back home.

 

Volunteer memories

The lasting Volunteer Memories of my Time in Laos.

 

So, what Volunteer Memories really sticks out the most?

 

The single memory that does come to the memory bank often, amongst a lot of cherished memories, was the time spent with the fellow volunteers. A bunch of men and women of all ages who were in the country for the very same purpose as everyone else, which was to give back to the world, where the help was needed most.

 

Volunteer memories

Fellow volunteers.

 

It is the greatest unknown when entering a volunteer house for the first time, what kind of people will I be volunteering with? It is one thing you can’t control, especially if going into the journey on your own, which I did on this occassion.

The questions run through your head, what nationality will they be? Will I get along with them? Do they have a sense of humour? What if I room with someone who annoys me or worse snores? Most times the thoughts are negative, that is human nature to have a little fear when entering the unknow, and to be honest those feelings should be quite the opposite as for any worry I had leading into my trip to Laos was unfounded.

Remember this little fact, each volunteer you meet has paid good money for the experience, it is not cheap. Whether is it teaching English or roughing it outdoors while constructing a building, they are all there for the common cause, to lend a helping hand. Therefore, each volunteer who you come across are honest, good folk who just want to assist in whatever way is required at the time.

 

Volunteer memories

Fellow volunteers and the hosts in Laos.

 

It was the same for my own experience in Laos, people came to the Green Lion Volunteer organisation from all over the world, there were people from France, Malaysia, Denmark, Holland, England and Canada. I was the sole Australian.

Whatever the nationalities and personality differences there may have been, it didn’t matter, I got along with each volunteer. We participated in sport, played cards, drank beer and sang karaoke. The whole time was a blast, even if there was a few boring down times, that just meant we had to pick each other up and get through the dull periods by saying something stupid to create a little laughter.

 

Time in Laos

Fellow volunteers at the Patuxai War Monument in Vientiane Laos.

 

What blew me away the most was the age difference, I got there expecting volunteers of all ages and that I heard is generally the case. Except not during my time in Laos, at the tender age of 35 (which I still find quite youthful), I was the oldest volunteer in my tenure by at least ten years with most other volunteers being college students and under the age of twenty-two.

At first it concerned me. I mean my own kids were not that much younger, thankfully the fears were put to rest quite early, because I quickly learnt that age was no barrier, we all got along and acted as youthful as one another, sure they partied longer than myself in Vang Vieng on the weekend, but that suited me just fine to have a little me time.

 

Volunteer memories

All smiles in Laos as memories are created.

 

Anyway, I marvel at the fellow volunteers I had the honour of meeting during my time in Laos with a lot of respect to them. To meet people so young but performing an honest deed and paying good money for the experience, including flights, was a real credit to them and for that there was a lot of respect.

When the program came to an end in Laos, you came to the sad realisation that it would probably be the last time you see any of them again, except for on Facebook, where everyone befriended each other. At the end of the day one common thing will always stick around, there were lasting volunteer memories that will always stay in the mind of the good and wild times that were had in Laos.

Check out other articles from my volunteering experience in Laos.

An Epic journey of a Volunteer in Laos!

What to expect during the Challenges of Volunteering Abroad! 

 

Volunteer memories

Good times were had with a few Lao Beers in the evening.

time in Laos

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