The young son of a British M.P. has been arrested in Laos for drugs related offences. The incident which has been suppressed by British newspapers should however be taken as a warning to visitors to the country.
People should be particularly careful in the backpacker hot spot of Vang Vien. A spectacular holiday can turn into a nightmare.
Vang Vien has become the new fashionable place for gap year students and youngsters looking for adventure at a modest cost – and it certainly offers that.
It is best known for its ‘tubing’ pub crawls as kids head down stream on inflated inner-tubes calling in to top up on booze at numerous riverside bars on the way. Beer is 50/75 cents.
There have been many accidents as people swinging from ropes accidentally dive in to rocks. But the small village is likely to remain popular. It has been compared to Thailand 30 years ago – less exploited and less developed. Here’s a sensible video that warns of the tubing dangers.
But like Thailand the young backpackers are seen as ‘rich visitors’ and police also need to eat.
Like Koh Phangan, scene of the full moon parties, police conduct regular drugs searches. These searches are not intended to put an end to the business. Drugs are even offered on menus, as they were once on Koh Phagnan, but to, er, pay for the policing.
Full Moon Drugs Menu on Koh Phagnan – now sellers are a little more discreet
So trippers heading for Vang Vieng through Thailand and reading this beware. If you are partaking in a spliff or something, don’t do it in public or be prepared to pay out up to US$1000.
If you do not have the cash Pongthong Prison in Laos is not a nice place. Once you’re in it is very difficult to get out of. Up until recently, well they maybe they still do, stocks were used as a punishment for naughty prisoners.
I am of course also not naming the M.P’s son. He has been released. The record will have been struck. His holiday has been screwed.
But be careful out there. (This was a Flying Sporran Travel Advisory)
While this story was not used in the British press there were of course absolutely valid legal and ethical reasons why. No charges were finally pressed. So technically this never happened.
(Left: Where foreign offenders go in Vientiane)