In many ways, our lives are dictated by the demarcation between day and night. It is a human universal that days are for relaxing and nights are for sleeping (or at least chilling out). Of course, this is no different in the land of a million elephants. Good night in Lao is said as ຝັນດີ (fun dee).
N.B: Don't confuse Good night with good evening (a greeting) ສະບາຍດີຍາມແລງ sabaidee yarm laeng.
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|Good night||fun dee||ຝັນດີ|
|Good evening||sabaidee yarm laeng||ສະບາຍດີຍາມແລງ|
|Good morning||sába̖ai-di̖i ton sao||ສະບາຍດີ|
|Pleased to meet you||di̖i ja̖i thii hûu káp jâo||ດີໃຈທີ່ຮູ້ກັບເຈົ້າ|
|Goodbye||sôhk dii der||ໂຊກດີເດີ້|
|Have a nice day||mi van thidi||ມີວັນທີ່ດີ!|
Laos is extremely close to the equator meaning that the length of its day and nights stay equal throughout the year. The sun always rises between 6:00 and 7.30 and sets between 17:30 and 19:00. Compare that to places like Norway, where you might get 24 hours of daylight in midsummer. As of writing (late June 2022), the sun sets at about 17.45 and rises at about 06:00, almost a perfectly balanced day.
If you come from a Northern European climate like me, it's always shocking to reach the tropics and realize how fast the day changes. One minute you're enjoying a Singapore Sling beside the pool in blazing hot sunshine, and the next, the sun has dropped from the sky, and the moon is up. The boundary between day and night(twilight) is exceptionally severe in Laos. But why is that?
This is because at low latitudes (near the equator), the sun is perpendicular to the horizon, and higher up towards the pole, the sun sets at a more oblique angle, meaning it's closer to the horizon for longer where you can see it.
I visited Laos for one month in 2015 and experienced no problems. Even at night in Vientiane, it was very quiet, and the people were amiable. It's also worth saying that I didn't just stay in safe tourist areas and go to bed before dark. I was out in the back streets sometimes until the early hours and never experienced any problems.
There are probably bars you can visit where you'll meet some unsavory characters. Still, there are the same bars in every city in the world.
Laos people, even the criminals, are generally not confrontational. You are likely to get pickpocketed or your bag snatched as opposed to held at knifepoint, etc.
Regarding safety for women, I've heard female friends say that Laos is generally very safe even compared to European capitals like Paris and London.
The only issues I've heard are with taxi drivers who might say inappropriate things or, once they have your number, send inappropriate messages; however, I've never of that carrying over into an attack(although I'm sure there are stories out there).
It is often those things that we overlook that are far more dangerous. For example, the most dangerous thing about Laos at night is probably the danger you pose to yourself. When people(backpackers especially) go to a place like Laos, they leave behind the stress and worries of Europe; however, you can also leave a certain amount of your common sense at home too.
It is not uncommon to see backpackers doing like the locals and driving drunk-- this is always a terrible idea and even worse on a motorbike. The region generally has some of the worst road death statistics in the world.
I think the thing that makes Laos scary is that if something goes wrong, it can turn into a horror story. There are not the same support services in Laos as in the west. If you're in a road traffic accident, you won't receive the same care and end up in a pretty dodgy hospital if you haven't thought about health insurance.
Now that you know how to say good night in Lao, it's time to learn more Lao and impress some Lao people!
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