Show yourself a good time
Published/Last edited or updated: 21st September, 2017
An entrance ticket for the sights within the UNESCO World Heritage old town is required. Here's how we'd suggest approaching the various things to see.
The entrance ticket is technically required to enter the old town, but really it is only checked when you go inside one of the 22 buildings or points of interest on the list. The ticket is 120,000 dong, with tear-off coupons allowing entrance to five places. It's valid for 24 hours, though the time period seems to be somewhat flexible. The ticket seller assured us we could use it for our entire stay, be it days or weeks. We never encountered a problem as we used it over the course of a few days.
The proceeds are supposed to be reinvested in the old town, paying for renovations, upkeep, staff and the few families who actually still live there – they open their ancient houses for viewing – as well as funding the street entertainment you see in the evening, such as folk dancing, singing, traditional games. It helps keeps the tradition alive. On the other hand, the town is taking on a Disneyland-esque quality to it and having to pay just to wander the streets in the evening on the way to dinner or cross the Japanese Bridge seems a bit much. We wouldn’t mind the fee if the sights provided good information (they don’t) and they didn’t allow vendors selling tacky souvenirs inside them. The staff manning the ticket booths, which you’ll see at all the entry points into town, have been known to be aggressive. Overall they have toned it down since the ticket was first introduced in 2014, no doubt because they simply can’t stop the hundreds of people ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 1,800 words.)
Cindy Fan is a Canadian writer/photographer and author of So Many Miles, a website that chronicles the love of adventure, food and culture. After falling in love with sticky rice and Mekong sunsets, in 2011 she uprooted her life in Toronto to live la vida Laos. She’s travelled to over 40 countries and harbours a deep affection for Africa and Southeast Asia. In between jaunts around the world, she calls Laos and Vietnam home where you’ll find her traipsing through rice paddies, standing beside broken-down buses and in villages laughing with the locals.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
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