The smiling faces of Laos

A born poser!

Among my hundreds of photos from a trip I seem to have relatively few of people. I still can’t get over that discomfort of asking someone for a photo, even when they seem happy about it, and often stand back when others are clicking away.

As a result there are a number of people we met along the way who I wish I’d captured in a photo: the lovely lady who single-handedly ran the cafe in Nong Khiaw, the people we shared a long bus ride with and the many faces young and old who stopped to laugh at the strangers in their town.

There were however some moments in Laos where it seemed too easy to get a picture, and even as a reluctant photographer I was able to capture a willing subject. Here are just a few of those faces:

Our boatman on the trip to the 100 Waterfalls

Perhaps the most (or least) photogenic baby ever

The boy in the photo had just tripped over and was crying, so I organised a quick photoshoot to take his mind off the pain. Clearly I failed.

These kids in Luang Prabang were being very friendly. Soon after this photo they were asking for Cola. Lesson learned.

Heading home from school in Paksong on the Bolavan Plateau

Sam with the girls who took us to their school

Really not bothered about the falang with the camera. Way too cool to pose.

Left behind by her friends and staring at the funny people

Working in the fields

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Freelance travel writer

9 Responses to “The smiling faces of Laos”

  1. Emma #

    These pictures are great. Its inspiring to see such happy faces ๐Ÿ™‚
    I am a 23 yr old woman planning to travel Laos for a week or two at the end of the year. Would you recommend travelling by myself or should i go with a tour? I dont mind travelling alone at all however I keep reading many conflicting views over the safety and ease of solo female travel. It would be great to hear your opinion.

    January 28, 2010 at 1:26 pm
  2. For Emma – I’m a solo female traveler. The first time I went to Laos (2002) I went with an Intrepid tour group, then I went back on my own. If you have experience traveling alone no reason you shouldn’t go to Laos alone, especially along the now well-worn Vientiane – Vang Vieng (skip if you don’t want to party) – Luang Prabang (magical) route.

    January 28, 2010 at 7:12 pm
  3. Thanks Emma for visiting and posting here, and to Kathy for your great reply. We met a number of females travelling alone in Laos and Cambodia, and as Kathy has said there is a popular trail where you will be able to travel with others and by yourself as the mood takes you. Solo travel does offer some great personal experiences and I would highly recommend it. Laos is probably one of the safer places to do this. Sure, you need to be careful, but isn’t that true everywhere?
    Let people know where you are and where you’re heading and follow the same common sense rules you would do at home. I hope you enjoy Laos whichever way you choose to see it ๐Ÿ™‚

    January 28, 2010 at 10:55 pm
  4. Emma #

    Hi Kathy & Andy,

    Thank you so much for your quick responses! I have travelled solo a few times but I’ve never been to South East Asia at all so just doing my research and you’ve been real helpful!! Thanks again


    January 29, 2010 at 1:39 am
  5. Yna #

    Wonderful photos. Such innocence and care free looks of the kids.

    January 29, 2010 at 9:53 am
  6. Thanks Yna ๐Ÿ™‚

    January 30, 2010 at 10:09 pm
  7. great photos thank you for sharing

    March 2, 2010 at 4:53 am
  8. What a wonderful way to capture memories of a wonderful place.. the people! Thanks for sharing these.

    February 27, 2011 at 3:34 pm
  9. Thanks for the compliment guys, you must have many more photos than me to share. But Laos was perhaps the easiest place I’ve ever visited to capture a smiling face ๐Ÿ™‚

    March 2, 2011 at 11:14 am