After conquering Thailand and parts of Indonesia, the backpacker crowd has set its sights on Laos. The mostly young, Western tourists come here looking for adventure and a place to party at rock-bottom prices. In Vang Vieng in the heart of Laos, they feel they can let it all hang out.
Aside from the few people who do business with the tourists, most Laotians have difficulty relating to the often inebriated and scantily clad tourists. Many find their behavior downright obnoxious, but their customs prevent them from openly criticizing guests. They often feel overwhelmed by the tourist onslaught, creating an atmosphere of tension in a country that has only just begun to open to the West.