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> A town in Laos is overrun by tourists, How much is too much tourism?
starlagurl
post Apr 16 2008, 12:26 PM
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The formerly quiet town of Luang Prabang, is becoming overrun by tourists and the locals are starting to compare themselves to zoo-animals.

When does tourism become like voyeurism?

How much is too much and how do you stop it, once the masses start coming to a specific place? Maybe the question is, do you even WANT to stop it?

Have you ever felt kind of "dirty" for visiting a place where you knew you didn't fit in? When and where?

LUANG PRABANG, Laos: As the sky grows light along the Mekong River here, it is no longer the quiet footfalls of Buddhist monks that herald the day but the jostling and chattering of hundreds of tourists who have come to watch them on their morning rounds.

"Here they come! Here they come!" cries a tour guide over his loudspeaker. "Hurry! Hurry!"

The monks appear, a column of bright orange robes as far as the eye can see, walking quickly and silently with their begging bowls, and the tourists cluster around them with their cameras and reach out from rows of little stools to hand them food.

http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/04/13/asia/luang.php?page=1


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shangguan
post Feb 18 2009, 08:47 PM
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I've seen places in China that have been desimated by tourism. The original reasons for it becoming popular have been wiped away and replaced with new things. It breaks my heart to see.


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polydemic
post Feb 18 2009, 09:09 PM
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When Anthony Bourdain made an episode of No Reservations in Laos, he fortold that this would happen. He said "We destroy what we love."


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jeremystravels
post Feb 18 2009, 09:36 PM
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Silly tourists. They should know that the best picture turns out when you dont have 10 more click happy people in the background.

In all seriousness though..

I normally don't mind people gathering around, taking pictures, enjoying a site, but I feel like when it disrupts a persons way of life then it gets to be very unsettling. That picture in the article disturbs me so much.

It is one thing if they are working in a tourist site, store/restaurant if you ask, but getting up in someones face to get a picture is just unsettling, especially if you don't ask. If you are at a distance, or its part of a whole scene, maybe a bit better, but that is just wrong to do it so close like that. Even more so since they are religious figures in a religious ritual (I believe) and not just on display for the tourists.


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ScottWoz
post Feb 18 2009, 10:03 PM
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I spent a few weeks in Luang Prabang and it was often worse than this. It broke my heart to see too. At one point the monks couldn't actually make their way through to where they were going as they were practically blocked by idiot tourists thrusting cameras in their faces and treating them like animals. These people are intrusive, invasive, wholly self-cented and have absolutely no respect for other people or cultures. Above all they're clueless. It sickened and saddened me deeply to be associated with them as a 'visitor'..


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supremacy
post Feb 18 2009, 11:01 PM
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QUOTE(supremacy @ Feb 18 2009, 10:47 PM) *

QUOTE(ScottWoz @ Feb 18 2009, 10:03 PM) *

I spent a few weeks in Luang Prabang and it was often worse than this. It broke my heart to see too. At one point the monks couldn't actually make their way through to where they were going as they were practically blocked by idiot tourists thrusting cameras in their faces and treating them like animals. These people are intrusive, invasive, wholly self-cented and have absolutely no respect for other people or cultures. Above all they're clueless. It sickened and saddened me deeply to be associated with them as a 'visitor'..


I've just returned from a trip through Laos and Cambodia. I didn't stay in Luang Prabang for a few weeks, more like a few days. There's nothing worse than the herd mentality of tourism to destroy a travel experience. I really felt turfed-out, insignificant. Vang Vieng was just the same. Laos people herd westerners in like cattle to get tubing, get wasted, and get out again, when the surrounds are supposed to be appreciated for their stunning beauty: limestone cliffs, etc. While dazzled by dollars and 'rich' westerners, it seems Laos people are just as culpable. The only way is to try and rise above it and try and reclaim true travel experiences for oneself.
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huckabmm
post Feb 19 2009, 10:10 AM
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QUOTE(polydemic @ Feb 18 2009, 10:09 PM) *

When Anthony Bourdain made an episode of No Reservations in Laos, he fortold that this would happen. He said "We destroy what we love."


Bourdain is great...and so right in the case. It reminds me of the Eagles song "The Last Resort" where they say, "If you call some place paradise...kiss it goodbye". Its the sad reality that we live in...


QUOTE(ScottWoz @ Feb 18 2009, 11:03 PM) *

These people are intrusive, invasive, wholly self-cented and have absolutely no respect for other people or cultures. Above all they're clueless. It sickened and saddened me deeply to be associated with them as a 'visitor'..


Disgusting...

I would hope that people would understand that these are rude tourists and not representative of everyone from their particular country.

As they say, be a traveler not a tourist.


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starlagurl
post Feb 19 2009, 11:11 AM
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I think you guys would like this thread:

http://www.travelpod.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=8072


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travelmonster
post Feb 19 2009, 02:16 PM
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QUOTE(starlagurl @ Apr 16 2008, 05:26 PM) *



"Here they come! Here they come!" cries a tour guide over his loudspeaker. "Hurry! Hurry!"


http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/04/13/asia/luang.php?page=1


That is just so crass it's unbelievable. I had thought about visiting, but if this is truly what happens I want no part of it.



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shangguan
post Feb 19 2009, 10:26 PM
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There are terraced rice fields located near me. When I went there in 2004 it was peaceful serene, and stunningly beautiful. The locals were all members of minority groups and wore their traditional clothing. I had to stay in a family's house because there was no other option. Of course I prefer to stay in a family's house as opposed to a hotel. They realized a year or so later that they could make more money in a week exploiting tourists than they could in a year of farming the rice fields. Soon all of the little villages that dotted the mountainside tripled in size until they all began touching each other and becoming giant villages. They stopped farming the fields, which was the main draw in the first place, and all opened hotels. Granted the hotels are built in the traditional style, but they are covered with signs and string lights and christmas tree lights. The place is now a sad shadow of what it was. I used to go there every four months to photograph the rice fields in the different seasons. I don't bother going anymore, it just breaks my heart. Last year the local government started offering incentives for the locals to start farming again, so I hear the rice fields are now being worked again. Visitors love the site and are visiting it more than ever. It just isn't the same for me. I miss the village atmosphere.


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ScottWoz
post Feb 19 2009, 10:58 PM
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QUOTE(travelmonster @ Feb 20 2009, 02:16 AM) *

QUOTE(starlagurl @ Apr 16 2008, 05:26 PM) *



"Here they come! Here they come!" cries a tour guide over his loudspeaker. "Hurry! Hurry!"


http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/04/13/asia/luang.php?page=1


That is just so crass it's unbelievable. I had thought about visiting, but if this is truly what happens I want no part of it.

Ha ha good word, it really is but don't let it put you off P. The stuff they're talking about here is something you can choose to witness or not. The rest of Luang Prabang is amazing. Go and see it..


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skylab
post Oct 10 2009, 08:13 AM
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looks like this was bumped but yeah i wrote about this as well with Vang Vieng.
http://www.artofbackpacking.com/will-tubin...etter-or-worse/

The things I've seen are unreal how bad the locals are treated here


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lob123
post Feb 8 2012, 03:16 AM
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QUOTE(skylab @ Oct 10 2009, 08:13 AM) *

looks like this was bumped but yeah i wrote about this as well with Vang Vieng.
http://www.artofbackpacking.com/will-tubin...etter-or-worse/

The things I've seen are unreal how bad the locals are treated here


In LP right now, we're torn about seeing the alms, to be honest....although its so interesting, we don't want to add to all the tourists that are killing it.... Going to see the sunset last night was enough... tourists lose all manners when away from home...

we're unsure about going to VV, I love the idea of cruising down a river in a tube, have done it loads of times back home in Canada, but put off by all the young drunk morons I keep hearing about...

Is VV worth going too? Is tubing worth it, even if you don't want to drink hard, let alone do drugs?
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