Tag Archives: thailand

Japan x Sabai: Sounds, Sights, Tastes, Smiles, Friendship a Feast at Tokyo’s Laos Festival ’19

Laos Festival 2019 Celebrated in Tokyo, Japan May 25-26, 2019

Dancing, Friendship, Frivolity & Unmistakable Sound of World Heritage Listed Bamboo-Piped Khaen Among the Greetings to Tokyo’s Famous Yoyogi Park for Japan’s Laos Festival 2019, The Laotian Times reports.

25 Year Span: Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge Quarter Century Anniversary Arrives Via Australian Aid

First Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge Opened in 1994, Funded by Australia.

Hundreds of thousands of cross-border passenger and vehicle trips each year are made possible by the first friendship bridge that crosses the Mekong from Laos’ capital to neighboring Thailand and several additional spans just like it.

Laotian Eye: Faster Times At Pi Mai As Culture, Continuity, Change Collide at Lao New Year

Laotian Eye: Faster Times At Pi Mai As Culture, Continuity, Change Collide

Thailand knows the time of year as Songkran. Cambodia has Chol Chnam Thmey. Myanmar marks the occasion with Thingyan. In Laos, Boun Pi Mai.

Also Known as Lao New Year, the biggest festival on the Lao calendar brings three days of celebration and rejoicing across the country and beyond, taking place every year from April 14th to 16th.

Celebrating Pi Mai (Lao New Year)

While it’s said each month has a different celebration for the people of Laos, Boun Pi Mai is certainly a very special one to Laotians at home and abroad.

Please Don’t Rush, It’s Wet!

Times change and social mores are on the move, influencing lifestyles of contemporary Laos.

 

Celebrating Pi Mai AKA Lao New Year in Laos

Celebrating Pi Mai AKA Lao New Year in Laos

The celebration of Lao New Year is no different. Yet one constant throughout is water.

Whether its ceremonially offering respect to elders or playing and throwing or sprinkling it on friends, a primary activity is always to get others wet.

Many folks set up a small paddling pool in front of their house.

Others go around in a pickup with a water bucket and throw water for fun, despite it being officially frowned upon.

The roadsides of Vientiane and other cities brighten up, with shopkeepers offering bold New Year fashions to the passing public.

People dress up for the celebration, particularly in Luang Prabang where traditions hold tightest.

ເທວະດາຫລວງ ໄປບູຊາ ຄາຣະວະ ແລະຟ້ອນອວຍພອນປີໃຫມ່ລາວ ຢູ່ວັດຊຽງທອງ ໃນວັນທີ 15/04/2019

Posted by ນະຄອນຫລວງພຣະບາງ Luangprabang City on ວັນຈັນ ທີ 15 ເມສາ 2019

There is a conflict between the decorum required at places of worship and on the street beyond.

Many don’t know the history of when it’s started and why.

Celebrating Pi Mai AKA Lao New Year in Laos

Celebrating Pi Mai AKA Lao New Year in Laos

As a young and curious boy, I heard from my grandfather that it’s a Buddhist festival.

As devotees, we believe (as followers of many other religions also do) that New Year can take bad things away and bring good fortune.

Of course, the festival known as Boun Pi Mai is not only celebrated in Laos.

Celebrations in neighboring countries all derive from the same Buddhist calendar.

These might have been scheduled to coincide with time between harvest and planting seasons to provide a window of rare leisure in the year’s hectic schedule.

These days I can not remember my childhood New Year celebrations in great detail, yet I am sure we didn’t have so many activities available as recently.

Forgotten memories return when I see the children playing with water in a village in Ngoi district near the town of Luang Prabang province.

Celebrating Pi Mai AKA Lao New Year in Laos

Celebrating Pi Mai AKA Lao New Year in Laos

The village was quite rustic, but the children were having heaps of fun just as I did with my friends some 25 years ago.

They fetched water from a stream in the woods.

In my time we had to pump it out of the ground by hand.

Before throwing it over each other of course!

Growing up, our home was by the main roadside of Nontae village inXaythany district, about 25km from Vientiane.

We had a water pump in the village which was close to my house.

All of our friends would be there playing with water together.

We were delighted anytime whenever some people were passing by, so we hurried up to pump the water out and throw at them. We would never tire of it.

I also remember that at the time, many of our fellow countryfolks of the Hmong and Khmu ethnicity didn’t celebrate Boun Pi Mai so much as they might today.

@Lao Youth Radio FM 90.0 Mhz Lao Youth Union

Posted by Laos Briefly on ວັນພະຫັດ ທີ 26 ເມສາ 2018

Due to the difference in cultures, they were sometimes furious when we threw water at them, but we were not concerned enough to stop.

Whatever they said we still gave a blessing to them all the times while showering them repeatedly.

Back to the Village & Family Homes

My family is big and extended one like a tree.

As my grandparents stayed in my house, most of our family would have an appointment at the new year to visit and have a Somma ceremony.

Somma sees children seek forgiveness from parents and older adults by giving Khan-ha (a set of offerings comprising five pairs of flowers and candles) and also conduct a Baci ceremony as well.

I don’t know when I first experienced the Somma ceremony, but we did it with older family members every year for as long as I can remember.

In the past, we had a long three-day celebration but spent more of that time with family and cousins in our village.

Maybe it’s because we didn’t have a car to take us to go away anywhere.

We would do all the traditional and cultural ceremonies such as Somma, Baci, bathing Buddha statues in our local area.

Of course, the festival was primarily a family and community celebration. It was a timeless joy to experience these together.

Celebrating Pi Mai AKA Lao New Year in Laos

Celebrating Pi Mai AKA Lao New Year in Laos

Today, Lao New Year remains the biggest festival celebration and taking place everywhere nationwide.

Of course, anyone of any ethnic group or nationality can have fun together in Laos these days at Boun Pimai.

However, some things are changing. More and more cultural traditions are being left by the wayside.

Celebrating Pi Mai AKA Lao New Year in Laos

Young people have more time for loud music than culture, especially along the roadsides, house and drinking venues.

Of course, it’s enjoyable to mess around with water and have fun, but we should be aware of the meaning behind it.

Laotian youth at home and abroad should also know what Lao New Year means and continue the traditional forms of celebration for the benefit of current and future generations.

Thailand Visa Applicants Beware: Fortnight Wait As Consulate Appointment Bookings Bank Up in VTE

Thailand Visas

Foreign nationals seeking visas to ever-popular Thailand for residence or travel can expect waits of up to two weeks for appointments for visa application or renewal via the country’s consulate in Vientiane, Laos.

Waits of up to two weeks are being noted for appointments for visas to Thailand through the consulate appointment system at https://thaivisavientiane.com/.

Foreign nationals applying for either a Thailand’s tourist, non-immigrant or transit visa first need to schedule an online appointment before submitting the visa application in person.

Appointment wait times have reportedly blown out since the introduction of the online booking system whose February 1 launch was reported in The Laotian Times.

The British Business Group in Vientiane sent a missive advising members of the current status of application appointments.

The topic is also trending on The Nation’s Thai Visa Forum.

Vientiane is a popular destination for visa applicants to the Kingdom.

Cabinet Strengthens Gov Agencies Leeway To Act on Land Concessions

Lao Government Revokes Land Concessions

Land Concessions, giving development and usage rights to various individuals and corporate domestic and international investors, has long been considered one of the critical levers to leverage local and foreign investment, economic activity and job creation in Laos.

A form of long term rental, the usage rights to state land have been ceded to investors for projects from shopping malls to banana farms.

As with all investments, the results have been mixed. Amid the successes, it is now those cases of incomplete and inactive investments, environmental pollution and failed developments that have long proved a recurring issue, leading to disquiet for those affected and headaches for Laos’ policymakers, legislators and regulating authorities as Laotian Times has previously reported.

The lack of progress on a total of 81,879 hectares held under some 201 land concession projects has spurred a new round of government efforts to resolve the discrepancies under the country’s laws and respective contract conditions.

Prompting the cabinet to act were the findings of a report indicating that some 240 state land concession projects had been causing environmental damage, the nation’s press representatives were informed on February 20, 2019.

Based on such revelations, country’s cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Thongloun has instructed the country’s state agencies to revoke the land concession licenses held by investors who fail to proceed with developments in accordance with their agreements.

The meeting also approved measures to encourage investors to develop the land for which they had received concessions.

Measures approved include the authorization for state agencies to cancel concessions or fine those companies that fail to utilize state property in ways they were required to under the agreements they signed, government spokesperson Dr Chaleun Yiapaoher told the press conference held at the conclusion of the monthly cabinet meeting held on Wednesday.

Other key topics discussed include measures to improve the business climate, tax collection, rural area development and urban planning for the future needs of the capital towards 2030 and beyond.

The latest moves by the government to regulate and in cases revoke rights for failure to abide by agreements in state land concession projects comes after National Assembly members debated the issue in December.

Foremost among several cases of complaints from local communities aired at the National Assembly regarded pollution caused as a result of the activities at banana plantations in several provinces.

It saw the NA resolve that the government agencies actively push such concession holders to ensure their investments and activities abide by contract conditions for the use of state land while complying with related laws and policies.

The cabinet directed state agencies and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to improve assessment of all land in question following the laws and guidelines before granting investors the right to a concession.

This could also better permit the Ministry of Finance to collect revenue in the form of land concession fees from project developers, Dr Chaleun said.

Land concession projects could only be approved in accordance with national and provincial land development master plans approved by the relevant authorities, investors and agencies were reminded.

Relevant state agencies were also instructed to work together to ensure that forests and other wildlife habitat areas were protected from damage by investment projects.

Snakes on A Pier! Smuggled Serpents Intercepted En Route from Thailand to Laos in Their Thousands

Snakes Seized in Mukdahan, Thailand (The Nation)

Bound for a liquor-infused finale of serpentine-inspired, aphrodisian fantasies (fallacies?), the disruption of a criminal smuggling racket in Thailand’s Mukdahan Province has led to a lucky escape for more than 2,700 snakes all set to be smuggled cross-border bound for Laos and apparently some horny drinkers and all-too-hopeful Cassanovas beyond.  

The sizeable seizure of snakes worth about a million baht (US32,000 or 275 million Lao Kip) reportedly netted some 182 baskets containing 2,730 rat snakes and cobras headed to Laos from Thailand via a long tail boat.

The smuggling operation was intercepted as the illicit slithering cargo was about to be shipped across the river from Thailand into Laos.

Thailand’s The Nation reported that checkpoint head Sathit Pisaisawat led the snake seizure effort that included his own officers plus those of Surasakmontree Military Camp’s task force and the Navy’s Mukdahan’s Mekong Patrol Operation Command at 8.30pm on Sunday evening.

The seizure on Thailand’s side of the shared border occurred at Ban Bang Sai Noi pier in Mukdahan’s Wan Yai district.

The successful disruption reportedly followed a tip-off regarding the planned smuggling operation.

It was reported that from surveillance, some 3-4 persons were seen to be moving what appeared to be plastic baskets with closed lids from a pick-up truck onto the pier for transport by long-tail boat. The persons scattered upon the approach of authorities.

Some 15 live snakes were found inside a net sack in each basket.

These were seized as evidence as the search for those involved continues. Should they be caught, suspects should expect to be charged with having wildlife in their possession without permission and importing wildlife without permission under Thailand’s Wild Animal Reservation and Protection Act 1992, it was reported.

In Laos, the snakes could be expected to be on-sold to Chinese intermediaries in order to make alcoholic beverages produced by infusing whole snakes in grain liquor.

The product is believed to be sold to those who believe it may cure what ails them (or their beloved).

Wildlife Crime

Wildlife Crime is not a Victimless Venture

Frivolity aside, cross-border wildlife smuggling is a serious crime in the region, as Laotian Times reported in February 2018.

Those with information of such incidences are encouraged to report any suspicious activities to authorities.

Organizations like IUCN, WWF and WCS and more are also engaged on the issues and welcome reports of suspected crimes.

Those on Facebook can engage with the issue via the Campaign to Abolish the Illegal Wildlife Trade in Laos.

Everytime you buy... Nature pays
Every time you buy... Nature pays

Every time you buy… Nature pays!

Queue No More: Vientiane’s Thai Consulate Visa Appointment Applications Go Online

Thailand Visas

Visa applications to Thailand from Laos via Vientiane are set to get a shakeup with the introduction of an online appointment system, Thailand’s Embassy has confirmed.

Long queues into the Thai consulate in Vientiane are set to become a thing of the past, with all appointments to be made online and walk-ins refused.

Information on the system is set to be released on embassy channels January 28, and come into effect on February 1.

Apart from saving time, money and streamlining operations in a general sense, the move is set to make the biggest difference in summer, when rising temperatures have occasionally been known to fray tempers and sanity among the queuing applicants of multiple nationalities, many of whom are frequent travelers to or foreign residents of Thailand on “visa runs”, as well as those persons based in Laos seeking visas permitting more than two trips per year overland to the near neighbor via Friendship Bridge.

Thai Visas

For those folk wistfully nostalgic about their time spent waiting for a visa appointment in the consulate queue, be sure to make it down in this splendid weather for old times sake.

Fireworks, Parades, Military & Political Milestones: Lao Armed Forces At 70

Lao People's Army Celebrates 70 Years Milestone

More than just an anniversary, the celebrations for the 70 years of the Lao Armed Forces on January 20 also a provide a handy milestone in the Lao political cycle.

That wasn’t just a half hour of fireworks on That Luang Esplanade and the biggest parade by the nation’s troops in a decade.

Last weekend’s celebration of the 70 years of the Lao Armed Forces was also a forum for international military-military links and a milestone in the Lao political cycle that marks three years since the previous Party Congress and two years until the next.

Lao Armed Forces Show off Russian-made Tanks at 70th Anniversary parade

Lao Armed Forces Show off Russian-made Tanks at 70th Anniversary parade

Kommadam Academy of the Ministry of National Defense in Naxaythong district was the venue for the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Lao People’s Army. There the Armed Forces showcased the capacities of members and their equipment in service of the people of Laos.

(Image KPL)

The event was an eye catcher, bringing together the nations front line serving military personnel and hardware in a way that is rarely witnessed in peacetime Laos.

Photographers from local and international news agencies snapped images of equipment including theYak-130 advanced jet trainer appearing, in this case caught on image via news agencies such as China’s Xinhua.

However, it was images of the personnel themselves that proved quite gripping and potentially fear-inducing.

The parade was broadcast by Lao National Television and partners including Lao Star TV.

Live ພີທີສະເຫຼີມສະຫຼອງວັນສ້າງຕັ້ງກອງທັບປະຊາຊົນລາວ ຄົບຮອບ 70 ປີ [ 20-01-2019]

Live ພີທີສະເຫຼີມສະຫຼອງວັນສ້າງຕັ້ງກອງທັບປະຊາຊົນລາວ ຄົບຮອບ 70 ປີ [ 20-01-2019]

Posted by LAO STAR TV on ວັນເສົາ ທີ 19 ມັງກອນ 2019

As in Laos as much as anywhere, such an event to honor a nation’s armed forces is also attended by the country’s most powerful civilian as well as military leaders, past and present.

As such, the event was held in the presence of Party and government leaders including President Bounnhang Vorachit, Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, senior military officials, former leaders, foreign military officials and representatives of mass organizations.

The event comes some three years to the day since the 10th Lao People’s Revolutionary Party Congress in January 2016 and some two years out from the next. A Party Congress helps set policy directions and can have lasting influence not only on the fate of the nation but on the career trajectories of its delegates alike.

LPRP Secretary General, President of Laos Mr Bounnhang Vorachit speaks at Lao People's Armed Forces 70th Anniversary Parade. (Image KPL)

LPRP Secretary General, President of Laos Mr Bounnhang Vorachit speaks at Lao People’s Armed Forces 70th Anniversary Parade. (Image KPL)

The event comes after Lao Defence Minister Chansamone Chanyalath’s promotion to the rank of General – the highest rank in the Lao People’s Army – in 2018.

Presidents of the Lao PDR present and former standing to attention as military leaders salute.

Presidents of the Lao PDR present and former standing to attention as military leaders salute.

While Laos remains under civilian rule under the LPRP, military service and familial connections provide one of the fertile sources for political capital in the country’s single party system.

International attendance was also up.

A number of foreign military delegations, including those from Vietnam, China, Cambodia, Russia, Myanmar and Thailand, as well as representatives from diplomatic corps and international organizations also attended.

Alongside the closely politically aligned neighbors namely Vietnam and China, capturing the recent headlines in military relations with Laos has been Russia.

While the export of some 30 famed T-34 tanks from Laos to Russia grabbed global headlines recently, some more modern kit has been heading the other way.

Conspicuous among the hardware on display were modern T-72 tanks and BRDM-2M armored cars reported Russia’s Sputnik News Agency via globalsecurity.org

Russia’s Head of the Directorate General for international military cooperation Aleksandr Klimovsky stated that Moscow had opened a military office in Laos while at the parade in the country’s capital of Vientiane on Sunday.

High level as to be expected, the Vietnamese delegation to the event was led by Politburo member and Minister of National Defence, General Ngo Xuan Lich. With his Lao counterpart General Chansamone, he presided over the start of repair work at the Lao capital’s Museum of Military History with the granting of some 13 billion kip (1.5 Million USD).

Not to be outdone, China was also conspicuous in its generosity, handing over a medical ward at Vientiane’s Military Hospital 103. Covering 24,000 square it meters, is equipped with nearly 300 beds and six operating rooms, and can provide medical treatments for approximately 3,000 outpatients each day.

Later the same evening, ground shaking booms and shimmering explosives were felt and indeed seen from vantage points across Vientiane on January 20 as the country’s Armed Forces marked 70 years since its establishment with a generous pyrotechnic display above That Luang Stupa, the nation’s “heart”.

Members of the public sat in the back of parked pickup trucks or stood with camera phones raised in wonder as the booms echoed across the flat and reflective asphalt surfaces to take in the spike in sight and sound.

The pyrotechnics were the biggest to be witnessed in the capital since December 2015 for the marking of the 40th Anniversary of the establishment of the People’s Democratic Republic.

Amid the pyrotechnic bombast, one could easily imagine a twinkle in the eye of another Lao warrior, the leader King Setthathirat, whose statue sits ever perched upon his elevated pedestal in front of the golden stupa.

Lao People's Army Celebrates 70 Years Milestone

Lao People’s Army Celebrates 70 Years Milestone