[Song Kinh is a Singaporean writer who lives in Northern Thailand.]
Last year the wildly successful Elephant festival in Hongsa (in northern Laos) attracted around 10,000 visitors. About 2000 of those were foreigners, some leaning heavily on sticks, others elegant attired, others dreadlocked and ganja inspired.
They had made, in white fella terms, an epic journey. It’s not like Hongsa is just around the corner. Some, mainly the embassy set, had flown in by chopper, while others had taken the 7 hour very slow and very uncomfortable boat trip from Luang Prabang and endured another 2 hours riding sideways in a local truck with compromised suspension. Others opted for a 3 day motorcycle ride and sore knees.