Monday, 20 May 2013

Safe arrival in Vientiane

After a 36 hour travelling ordeal - consisting of a red-eye out of Perth followed by two international flights, $320 of excess baggage and forgetting a bag at the airport - Gav and I arrived in Vientiane with the rest of the AVID/AYAD crew (pictured above- James, me, Gav, Sean, Ash, Michele and Julie).

Might I suggest that if you need more than the 30kg (which is 10kg extra, ONLY if you ask) of baggage that an international airline will often allow you, that you call the airline or make sure that you get in touch with their local branch manager if you don't want to pay excess.  It was of course too late for us when we found this out at the airport, and I must say that I was seriously disappointed in the website and customer service provided via email by Thai airways in this regard. Don't get me wrong - Thai airways had great customer service in the airport (they gave us ~30% discount on the excess as it was) and on the flight (brilliant in fact) - but I would like to see them improve their online services.

Yesterday we managed to open a bank account (we are now millionaires- yay! In Kip of course...) and get ourselves sorted with Lao mobile numbers. While enough English is spoken to get around, when it comes to organising some of these more technical things we are more than grateful for our In-Country Management Team. Today, we continue our orientation into Lao life, language and culture - I can't wait to get a handle on the language beyond "Sa-bai-dee" (hello) and "Khap-jai" (thank-you)!

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