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The Mass Transit of Vientiane Laos.

 
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thaitransit



Age: 38
Joined: 07 Dec 2008
Posts: 40
Location: Mahachai City

PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 11:21 am    Post subject: The Mass Transit of Vientiane Laos. Reply with quote

Background Information on Vientiane and Laos.

Laos is a small totally landlocked country bordered by Thailand, China, Vietnam, Cambodia and Burma. It has a land area equivalent in size to the state of Victoria in Australia. Laos is mostly made up of mountainous land with a narrow fertile lowland area along the Mekong river. It is also one of the least densely populated South East Asian countries with a population of approximately 6 million. The people of Laos mostly live in rural areas and make a living from agriculture. It is estimated that only 10% of Lao people live in urban areas.

Culturally Laos is very similar to the Isarn (North East) area of Thailand. It is so similar in fact that people from both areas speak the same local language but Thailand's Isarn people cannot read or write Laos written language. Religion wise Laos is a strongly Buddhist country and obverses a very similar style of Buddhism to Thailand. The majority of Lao people cannot speak even basic English and the Lao language is a difficult to learn tonal language similar to Thai that is only used in Laos and north eastern Thailand.

Vientiane is the capital city of Laos but is one of the worlds smallest capital cities with a population of about 200,000 people. Vientiane has only one very small and recently built shopping centre. There are no major supermarkets or western style fast food outlets in Vientiane. Almost all packaged food and household items are imported either from Thailand or China which are Laos major trading partners. Most people do there shopping at local “wet markets” and small privately run minimarts around Vientiane.

The urban layout of the city is totally mixed land use with no real city centre but is extremely low density for a major capital city in Asia with most buildings less than 5 stories tall. The standard of living in Laos is considerably lower than Thailand. Therefore making it not viable for large shopping malls and condo towers to be built in Vientiane at this stage. The rural areas are even worse off financially with large numbers of people living on less than US$5 a day.

Laos past has a lot to do with its current situation. During the 1960 and 1970's Laos was one of the most heavily bombed countries in the world as it was regularly a battle ground for side battles in the Vietnam war. This has left a long legacy of unexploded bombs and stifled economic growth right up until the early 1990s. Today Laos is run by a stable communist government which is very slowly trying to adopt the Chinese model of socialism and economic growth. But its small population and very limited infrastructure makes it hard to compete with Vietnam and Thailand economically.

The people of Laos are some of the friendliest in world. The country popular with Eco tourists and backpackers due to its untouched rural areas and low living costs. The other main source of tourism comes from people obtaining visas for Thailand in Vientiane and Thai people who cross over the Mekong river for cheap fresh food and Beer Lao. Beer Lao is known throughout South East Asia as on of the best beers.

The mass transport system in Vientiane is a 100% bus operated system. The buses come in two types “full size rigid” and “Mini buses”. The buses are all operated by the government. In addition to the government buses is a network of privately owned small mass transit truck – buses. The other form of mass transit in Vientiane are Motorised taxi trike's and Korean made aircon taxi vans. The fares for vans and trikes are by negotiation as there are no taxi meters in Laos.

This process can be complicated as 3 different currencies are used in Vientiane at the same time. These are US dollar, Thai Baht and Lao Kip. The Lao Kip comes in units of 1000. This means a short motor taxi trike ride would be 10,000 to 20,000 kip (40 to 80 Baht) (1.20 to 2.40 USD).

The aircon Korean van taxis which can be rented anywhere around Vientiane and from the immigration checkpoint at the Thai – Lao friendship bridge 25 km outside Vientiane. They cost between 300 and 600 baht for half a days use including any waiting time.

13. This is a shot of an old Hino metro bus. Taken as it was heading east along a main road in Vientiane. This bus appears to operate on a longer distance service. Not the poor condition of the bus.



19. This is a shot of a couple of buses passing each other on a major street in Vientiane. The bus in the background is an old Hino. The foreground is most likely a Mitsubishi Rosa.



20. This is a shot of bus number 030 taken as it heads east along a major street in Vientiane. This bus appears to operating on route 19. Note the ladder and roof storage rack. These roof racks are very common on Vientiane buses.



23. This is an image of a strange small bus taken as it was departing the Vientiane bus terminal. As it appears fairly clean id say it is used on a town service. Make unknown.



25. This is a shot of bus number 002 taken as it waits to depart Vientiane bus terminal of a Route 6 service. Bus type Hino non aircon.



27. This is an inside shot of a Hino bus. Taken looking towards the back doors. Note the poor condition of the bus.



31. This is an image of the Thai – Lao international bus. This bus is used on the cross border bus service between Vientiane and Nong Khai in Thailand. Bus type Hyundai aircon. This service is one of only a few that operate with aircon buses in Laos.



32. This is a shot of a Vientiane – Vangvieng intercity bus. Taken as it waits to depart Vientiane bus terminal. Bus type Hyundai FB500 non aircon.



35. This is a general view of a group of Hyundai and Hino intercity buses waiting at Vientiane Bus terminal.



41. This is a shot of route 20 and route 52 passing each other at the back of the Vientiane bus terminal. The route 20 bus is a Mitsubishi Rosa the route 52 bus is a Toyota coaster.



If you would like to see more images of Laos and Vientiane's Mass Transit system. Please visit:

http://thaitransit.blogspot.com/2010/02/mass-transit-of-vientiane-laos.html

I hope you enjoyed the images and information on Vientiane City Laos. If you have any comments or questions about this topic please post some comments below.
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ripta42
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Age: 40
Joined: 15 Apr 2007
Posts: 1032
Location: Pawtucket, RI / Woburn, MA

PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 11:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the photos and history! I live in a heavily Laotian part of the U.S. but I don't know a lot about the country.

Can I add these photos to the World Photo Galleries?
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thaitransit



Age: 38
Joined: 07 Dec 2008
Posts: 40
Location: Mahachai City

PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2010 9:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ripta42 wrote:
Thanks for the photos and history! I live in a heavily Laotian part of the U.S. but I don't know a lot about the country.

Can I add these photos to the World Photo Galleries?


Yes you can add them just include the captions if possiable for each picture and if you dont mind put my username with them.
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timecruncher



Age: 68
Joined: 23 Dec 2008
Posts: 456
Location: Louisville, Kentucky

PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 9:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting stuff, to be sure. Thanks for posting.

timecruncher
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