Why do you cross the bridge to Thailand?

With growing development in the country and region, more local folk are crossing the
Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge from Vientiane every day, especially on the weekends.
Vientiane Times asked folk gathered at the Lao border checkpoint why they head to Thailand. 


Ms Vanh Vannasith, a resident of Hadxaifong district, Vientiane: Yes, I do often go to Thailand but mainly around Nongkhai and Oudon-Thani. Mostly I go there to shop for myself. I just believe the products in Thailand are better quality but I don’t bring back a lot of shopping because I don’t travel there in my own car. From what I’ve seen on the weekend, most people go for the shopping there because the goods are cheaper.

Ms Seng Sakhoundeuk, a resident of Thoulakhom district, Vientiane province: I go quite often but it’s to visit my daughter because she lives in Oudon-Thani. Of course, we like to go shopping and buy many things that we need, especially household and electrical products since they are cheaper. When I travel to Thailand I also ask other Lao people what they go there for. Some say it’s for shopping, sightseeing and also visiting doctors because they believe the quality of the Thai hospital system is better, but for me, it’s quite expensive.

Ms Thipsoumon, a vendor from Sikhottabong district: The best reason for travelling to Thailand is to buy goods because to it’s cheaper compared to Laos. It has all the products I require which I can get a good profit from when I import them. My customers feel confident about the quality of Thai goods. To help the economy, the government ought to regulate prices and strictly check the quality of products in the Lao market. If prices are not controlled the economy may suffer since Lao people buy a lot of goods from Thailand.
Mr Xaysanouk Duangphachanh, a student from Xaythany district: I like to go to Thailand for shopping because the central mall there has got many brand name clothes, especially popular brand names from Europe. I don’t understand why a lot of things in Thailand are cheaper than Laos even though they also have to import them from overseas. I think the government should reduce taxes in our country which would make it easier for traders importing products from other countries and with lower prices we wouldn’t need to go there for shopping.

Ms Latsamy Vanthanouvong, a final year student at the Institute of Information and Telecommunication Technology, Vientiane capital: Although I haven’t been to Thailand yet I would like to go. I’ve heard that many people travel to Thailand because it’s convenient and cheap. For example, my close friend spent only 250,000 kip shopping in Thai markets and shopping malls but she could get many items.

Mr Ananhthana Chanthamaly, a student from Xaysettha district: If I were the government I would support business operators to build factories in order to produce essential materials in our town rather than going to buy them from other countries. Most people are most concerned about the quality and quantity of goods available and this drives market demand. Other countries offer better service than us, for instance, sales assistants, restaurant staff, transport and medical treatment.

Ms Phetmany Chanthavong, a student from Vientiane: I don’t go to Thailand often. Maybe twice a year. I just go there on a daytrip and to do a bit of shopping with my friends because everything there is cheaper and we don’t need to pay import tax because we don’t buy that much. We go in the morning and return in the evening. We never stay overnight there because we don’t know where to stay.

By Phouthong Sivongsa
(Latest Update October 04, 2018)

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