The tourist might get the basics down, see some sights, take a few pictures, and go home, experiencing only the surface of a country. A traveller goes deeper.
To me, traveller is more to budget saver while tourist is luxury goer.
Well I have read blogs on Laos before going there and every blogger agree Laos indeed is backpack traveller’s heaven and its cheap to go too! Cheap as in not even US30 per day (that is around RM100) if you spend on food, activities and accommodation with beer!
I certainly have underestimate the expenditure budget in Laos.
I recalculate everything. If you can avoid bad people and do much research, I believe that is true.
But the expenditure is NOT inclusive travelling fares. NOT INCLUSIVE.
Advices when travelling to Laos with limited bugets:
1. Do not trust the locals. Unless you know them.
Can you believe the reputable airport taxi driver conned monster and me? How you ask. He knew we wanted to go to Vang Vieng through simple and short exchange conversations. Instead of dropping us to Khua Din Bus Station ( it’s a central bus station, nearby morning marker-everyone knows morning market, and Talat Sao Shopping Mall), he droved us to street bargainer. I insisted on going to central bus station to take a bus to Vang Vieng because the street bargainer charged us 80,000 kips which is RM32 instead of the one I read 40,000 kips which is Rm16. And he claimed that the central bus station is closed down. WTF. I bought his lies. Until I found out that the central bus station is still operating from the travellers along the way. WTFFFFF.
2. Follow your instinct
God gave you instinct. And it lies with your heart. So people always say follow your heart. I believe when you do so, you will have peace in every decision making that you encountered.
3. Do not compromise
You have to understand that everyone raised their price 30-50% higher on all things! Its the matter on whether they earn more or less. Like the tuk tuk that insist on charging us 50 baht per person per ride, and I insisted on 20 baht because that is the normal rate. He compromised.
4. Do lots of research.
Search past experiences from various blogger before you travel. It could be the benchmark of your expenditure for everything.
5. And compare prices among the agents
Wise consumers compare prices before they spend money. Same goes as in Laos. Like when we wanted to exchange currency from Thai Baht to Kips, there will be plenty of currency exchanger along the way. Just compare their prices.
Like the night market in Luang Prabang, you have to at least bargain 30-50% lower! The lady selling the weaved scarf, offer the price from 70,000 kips, to 40,000 kips, then seeing us not interested, she asked us to give a price lower than that. Hmm food for thought.
7. Do not prebook your accommodation
Most of the accommodation I observed offer lower than the one in Agoda.com or Booking.com. I mean every hotel/hostel! So do not prebook. What you can do is, you just remember the name of your desired accommodation, and ask the locals on the direction of it (trust me the locals know!). Or you called them up to book a room for you instead.