Laos: What a Dollar Can Buy You
If you are planning your trip to Laos with the latest Lonely Planet guide book from 2007, you are in for a rude awakening. Rethink your budget! Prices have risen steeply in the last three years, and increases by 35 percent are not unusual – if you are lucky. Go to Luang Prabang’s historic temple district, and you may quickly run out of luck. Hotel prices there have doubled and often tripled. Go figure!
More expensive than accommodation, however, was the cost of food. As in Cambodia, we spent about 40 percent of our monthly budget on food items, which translates to roughly $15 a day. Our lavish breakfasts with our friend Beverly probably had something to do with that. 😉 But not everything is bad news. You can still buy plenty of things for around a buck:
- 1 ice-cold Beer Lao
- 1 baguette sandwich with country-style pate, bacon and cheese
- 1 entry stamp at the Lao border. No entry without a bribe.
- 4 rolls of toilet paper
- 2 mugs of brewed coffee or 2 bagels at the Scandinavian Bakery
- 8 pictures of two different Akha women
- 16 mid-sized bananas
- 1 hour of Internet usage (1/2 hour in very touristy areas)
- 3 liters (3/4 gal.) of water
- 2 crossings over a foot bridge (I hate tourist tolls and the trolls that guard the bridges)