Say What?? Travel Photo: Tour

Move over Mexico, with your fancy minivan “Colectivos.” There’s a new mode of transportation around and it’s that ubiquitous symbol of Southeast Asia, the songthaew (pronounced sowng-taow). The name quite literally means “two rows,” named for the two rows of benches that are set in the back of a pick-up truck for passenger seating. In Laos, songthaews are incredibly common for inter-city transport. I should know, as they were a staple of both my 2006 and 2010 adventures.

But in the Lao tourist hub that is the UNESCO World Heritage Town of Luang Prabang, which I have had the distinct pleasure of visiting twice, these vehicles join the ranks of the seemingly endless taunts for foreign tourists, turning into a taxi to be hired to any sites outside of the city. And how should those westerners know that you are available and willing to take them to various sites? Why, a sign, of course!

"Tour Waterfall Pakoucave or Somewhere"

Now, the Pak Ou Cave and the Waterfall are both fairly standard tourist sites and many travel agencies in town will be happy to arrange a visit for you, as was done for me in my initial visit in 2006. But these songthaew drivers are a bit creative. They’ll drive you somewhere…anywhere! Just name it! Bangkok? No problem! How about India? Sure!

Needless to say, I never did take any of them up on an offer to take me anywhere! I’m perfectly happy traveling by foot, thanks.

Say What?? is a thrice weekly series featuring numerous hilarious signs from my travels. Check back every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for updates! Or better yet, subscribe to my RSS feed to receive them automatically!
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