On the road between Vientiane and Vang Vieng/Luang Prabang, 52km away from Vientiane is sited a village called precisely like that, Km 52 (in Lao, the official language of Laos, that’s pronounced like Lak haa-sip-song). That originals are people here, and it’s not the only village with that type of name. Laos is full of them.
Since I left Vientiane I set Ban Km 52 (Ban means village in Lao) as my next destination. Firstly because it was a village in the middle of nowhere and no tourists stop there; and secondly because in CouchSurfing, surprisingly, there were several guys offering couch. But I arrived only to find that there was a big festival and every guest-houses were full or really overpriced (that’s why I didn’t get either positive replies to my CouchSurfing Requests).
I was wandering around, looking for a guest-house where I could sleep without paying too much when I walked a second time by a house where around 40 people of the same family were eating. One of the young guys made me gestures to join them and they invited me to eat, to party with them and to sleep in their home And that’s how I spent Christmas Eve in 2014
I was like a Hollywood Star there: the only farang, with beard, long hair, earrings and much taller than anybody else
Km 52 is a village of Hmong ethnicity (in Laos there are almost 50 different ones and around 160 ethnic groups), which has been persecuted up to just some years ago because they helped USA in the Vietnam War. In fact, many of them emigrated there, also to France, and now they come back loaded to their villages to celebrate the Hmong New Year (mid-end December, when rice harvesting finishes) and to introduce their kids to their Laotian family. It’s in this moment when Hmong people (they have their own language, although most of them talk also Lao) try to find a partner
I provide you more info about these people in the pictures’ captions.