Overheard: Ten to One


Overheard is our series of snippets/conversations that we have with other travelers and/or locals along the way.

You never know what you'll learn during a conversation over beers, especially if that conversation is with an expat co-owner of a local bar.

One of the most interesting things we learned is that businesses in Laos have to hire 9 or 10 locals for every foreigner. This is, in theory, a great way to ensure jobs in the hospitality industry for people who need them. But it's a lot to handle for a business owner, because, in general, most Lao people are not well educated. That means one person not only has to teach the staff a Western standard of service, but also how to add up the bill, answer questions, etc. Sounds like a lot to handle!

Another fun fact that came from some expats that run restaurants is that Lao people don't seem to want anyone, including themselves, to get ahead. For example, when the falang (foreign) chef of a high end restaurant put out copies of recipes for his sous chefs to reference, the pile of papers quickly disappeared. When he asked the staff about it, they all claimed ignorance even though it was clear that one (or more) of them had taken the recipes so he/she would be the only one who knew how to prepare the dish. Now that would be a good reality TV show!

More Laos

Interested in reading more about cheap travel in Laos? Check out our Laos destination pages.

What Do You Think?

What do you think of this conversation with a local? Let us know in the comments!