Saturday, January 29, 2011

E-Corner weekly magazine - produced in Laos

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Xao Ban: Best yoghurts in town, now with it's own shop

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Their products are selling quite good, but not always available - mainly because the supermarkets don't take care of the stock. So founder Nongnut decided to open her own shop. It is conveniently located next to the Vientiane International School and offers the whole range of fresh products from Xao Ban - and even more. I have't seen the Pumpkin Spread in the supermarket shelves yet, neither the passion fruit syrup. Fresh fruits and vegetables are also available, and around noon the delivery man bring fresh bread. Oh, and of course not to forget the different yoghurts and - my all time favorite - the sour cream.
Recommended is the Buffalo Mozarella, 50.000 KIP from a buffalo farm in Thailand. Soon coming is goat cheese and goat milk. For those looking for a healthy but light lunch Xao Ban offers a salad bar soon (some ready to eat salad are already available). During the soft opening customers may experience some minor problems, but that doesn't effect the range of products or the friendly service.
If you pass by you may get also a cup of coffee and a nice chat with the staff - just like in the small shops in the old days.

Check out the website as well http://www.xaoban.com/

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Oldimer corso in Vientiane

Oldtimer Rallye in Vientiane

Thanks to BenoƮt Heuchenne we had quite a lot of fun today at the oldtimer corso. Every car older than 35 years could join, and since my Renault R4 is built in 1973, its was just perfect timing. About 30 cars came, from Jeeps to Mercedes, Volkswagen (Rebel and Beetle), Morris, Fiat, Ford, etc etc.

We then drove - escorted by a police moto bike - in a corso through Vientiane. all traffic light were green for us, and everyone was cheering. Really fun.

I hope we will do this again, maybe with a BBQ after.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Luxury tented camp comes to Luang Prabang in Laos

Opening in Spring 2011, Shangri-Lao will offer an exciting new travel experience in a country that is fast shedding its backpacker image and becoming the next hotspot on discerning travellers must-see list.

With eight uber stylish tents, freshwater pool, spa treatments and fine dining, Shangri-Lao is set to be one of the most enticing experiences in the Laotian jungle.

From its base on the banks of the Huay Sae River Valley, Shangri-Lao will offer an unforgettable experience trekking through jungles and valleys on elephant, horse, bamboo raft or foot. The treks follow a journey undertaken by renowned 19th century French explorer, Dr. P. Neis, who was on a mission to survey the 'Moi Tribes' who lived in one of France's first colonies named 'Cochinchina'. Hidden in a paradise valley behind Luang Prabang province, its aim is not only to give visitors an authentic experience of an old colonial-style camp and expedition, but also to preserve the unspoilt beauty of this area for future generations with the help of the local people and the government.

There will be two camps, built in traditional oriental style with western comforts that both blend with their surroundings and offer stunning views. The first, close to a traditional Lao village, is located on the banks of the river and the second is situated in a clearing in the jungle of the Huay Khot Valley. All tents, furnished with beautifully handcrafted 19th century style furniture, sit on permanent hardwood floors and come complete with western bathrooms and whirlpool bathtubs. There will be a gourmet restaurant whose expert chef and team will serve Laos and Western dishes to suit all tastes. There will also be a selection of traditional Asian spa treatments to choose from to help unwind after a hard days trekking, a flowing freshwater pool, and a sun terrace where cocktails will be served while guests savour the breathtaking view over the Nam Khan River and the Namno Mountain Chain.

The Huay Sae River Valley has been leased by Shangri-Lao from the Laos government for the next 20 years, and it is the only company allowed to operate treks in the area. Shangri Lao will be responsible for the protection of the river valley and hopes that through its careful management and local, national and international support, it will bring back many of the animals that used to live in the area.

Both tented camps are under currently construction and are expected to open as a soft launch at the end of February/March 2011.

The camps can be booked through Diethelm Travel Laos

Thursday, January 13, 2011

"They force me to drink"

It is very common in Asia that people drink a lot on many occasions, for example weddings, birthdays, anniversaries. It is also common that most people who die in traffic accidents are intoxicated.
best beer ever

I had a discussion with a friend from Vietnam a year ago. We had a after-work-party, and after one beer I said no for another one. My friend said: "This is Vietnam, you have to drink, that is our tradition".

So I explained him, that a) beer isn't really a tradition in Vietnam and b) this is a tradition of tribes who had no moto bikes and just fall asleep next to the campfire. Indeed getting drunk is not just about having fun, but in particular with men kind of an ancient ritual. When you became a man in your tribe, there was usually alcohol (and other drugs) involved, also when the villagers celebrated a good catch, a birth or even a death.

But time changed. We are not living in huts anymore (although many people in Asia still do), and alcohol isn't something that is so magic and expensive, that only the village chief can allow to drink it. So what is left from this tradition is to get drunk. What if we always had moto bikes? Would we have developed this habit as well? I don't think so. Our instinct would have told us to survive. Unfortunately we don't listen to this instincts anymore.

The tradition of drinking alcohol as kind of a ritual, with a spiritual background, faded after time, and what is left is peer pressure and to get a drunk as a sign of being a real man.

What is just not right. A real man cares about family, his job and his life. A real man can say know, because this needs way more guts than just open another bottle.

Today a friend in Laos told me that he may attend a meeting, but has to go to a wedding before and might get drunk. "They will force me to drink" he said. Wrong. Nobody can force you to drink. You can say no, always. Friends who force you to drink (or to do anything you don't like) are simply not friends. Basta.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Laos Business Meetings starts on February 1st

Laos Business Meetings
Although there are workshops here and there and some business associations exist, Vientiane lacks of regularly business oriented networking events. In a country that still lacks of enough SMEs it is important to connect people and share knowledge and ideas.

The basic idea of a monthly Vientiane Business meeting is to bring foreign investors and business men together with local entrepreneurs and business owners. Anyone can participate, entrance is free.

The first meeting will take place at Kop Chai Deu, Top floor, on February 1st. It starts at 6.30 pm. The first hour is intended to be the socializing part.

From 7.30 pm to 9 pm we will have presentations. We have two topics so far: “Social Marketing with Facebook and Co.” and “Challenges for foreigners to manage a Lao company”. More topics are much appreciated. The only limit is 10 minutes for each presentation. The presentation doesn’t has to be with power point slides, any free talk is fine.

The last hour from 9 pm to 10 pm is reserved for networking and further discussions about the recent presentations.

If you are interested in having a presentation or talk about a topic let us know: thomas.wanhoff@gmail.com (02077591338) or on Facebook or the website http://laosbusinessmeetings.tumblr.com

We are looking for sponsors for drinks and finger food. Kop Chai Deu is sponsering us with the room, and www.expat-advisory.com is our first media partner.

Please let us know if you want to join - by reply or comment on the blog or Facebook. Please also forward this message to people you think may be interested.

On the internet: http://laosbusinessmeetings.tumblr.com and on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Laos-Business-Meetings/145344612187080

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What is Quora?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Doing sports in Vientiane - where and when

The life of an expat has it’s advantages and disadvantages. One advantage, in particular in Laos, is good and cheap Beerlao. The disadvantage is that you gain weight easily. So how to get rid of these kilograms and pounds around your hips? Do sports. Vientiane actually offers a lot of activities, you just have to know where and when.

Let’s start with the usual suspects, aka gyms. There are two I can recommend. One is the well known Sengdara Fitness at Dongpalan Street. It offers all you need in a gym, from weightlifting and other machines to sauna and pool. It is considered to be the first western style gym. Then there is Bee Bee (http://vientiane.beebee-fitness.com/) , a new place in town, recently opened and quite successful from the start: they got the Miss Lao contestants for their exercise before the contest. It’s located on Thadeua Road opposite the Australian Embassy. You will find Yoga and Dance classes as well as pilates sessions here.

Read the whole story at http://www.expat-advisory.com/articles/southeast-asia/laos/fitness-activities-vientiane

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Sa Pom: My neighbors hairwash place


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Originally uploaded by thomaswanhoff
Entrepreneurs a la Laos: My neighbor set up a hairwash and hairstyle place in her room. 10.000 KIP for a wash is a fair price.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Lao Fang Bai performance

When we went to the french culture center this evening, we not only witnessed a high class, but just wrong location dance performance by an professional artist, but also a way to short performance by the local dance group Lao Bang Fai. These guys are awesome. There is a video available: http://vimeo.com/16647644

What is Lao Bang Fai all about? Trailer 2010 from Chris Hull on Vimeo.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Lao Roast Coffee shop in Vientiane

Lao Roast Coffee (no idea who chosed the name) is a tiny little jewel not far from the riverside at Rue Manthatourath. With a small garden in front (including a basic swing on a tree for the kids) and a contemporary design inside it is a perfect place to rest, read a book or chat with a friend. The shop serves home made roasted Lao coffee for a reasonable price (12.000 KIP). Note that what they call "drip coffee" is a "filter coffee", not the Vietnamese drip style. You can also buy coffee there. Read the whole story at Expat-Advisory: http://www.expat-advisory.com/articles/southeast-asia/laos/review-lao-roast-coffee


Map here: http://www.openstreetmap.org/?lat=17.96347&lon=102.60929&zoom=17&layers=M

Story about Beerlao (in German)

Nice story about Beerlao: http://www.n-tv.de/reise/Geheimnis-des-Kultbiers-aus-Laos-article2287666.html