Living With a Tribe Who’s Never Seen a Foreigner (Laos)

By | December 25, 2022

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This is such a beautiful story!!! I recently traveled to Laos, which in my opinion, is Asia’s Greatest Mystery. Nobody knows what’s happening in Laos, as it gets massively overlooked by its neighbors of Thailand and Vietnam.

While in Laos for my second visit, I had a goal to find the most remote tribe in the country — which led me to the Akha tribe. They live fascinating, remote lives up in the mountains and they have the most incredible traditional dresses. I actually had to take a domestic flight up North to a tiny town called Luang Namtha, and then drive 7 hours across a bumpy dirt road to find them. And yes, they really have never had a foreign visitor!

The Akha tribe lives on the border of China and Myanmar – that’s how remote I was! It was such a fascinating experience to spend a few days with them. I was pleased to discover that they are holding on to their traditions, even as modernization is slowly creeping in.

This is a story of family, happiness and FUN. Thank you for watching.

PS – this was supposed to be part 2 of my TRIBES series, but now it’s Part 1 because my South Sudan ‘Cow Tribe’ video got flagged and demonetized on YouTube. I’ll keep you posted on how/where you’ll be able to watch that video soon.

These tribe stories are my favorite, and they’re at my core of storytelling. I hope to do more of them in the future!

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I'm Drew Binsky and I have been to EVERY Country in the world (197/197). I make travel videos about people, culture, and anything else I find interesting on the road. My ultimate goal is to inspire you to travel far and wide because I think that traveling is the best education that you can get, and our planet is beautiful!

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This might be the best footage that I've Taken my entire life It's time to try the rat [Music] It's a raven louse oh my God this is so Awkward I'm pretty sure I just got Married yeah I am fascinated by remoteness the Thought of being somewhere far away in Nature and feeling completely separated From society brings upon this inner Peace that I can't really explain maybe It's because I come from a big City Phoenix or that I've spent the last 10 Years living in them but it's not only Me believe it or not more than half of The world's population are currently Living in cities over the countryside so While I was just in Vietnam hanging out With a man who hasn't slept since 1962 Which you'll discover in an upcoming Video I wanted to find the most remote Part of Southeast Asia to see what kind Of life I can find and that led me to The neighboring country of Laos what I Like to call Asia's greatest mystery Here's a few wild facts about laos's Remoteness Vietnam is 14 times more Densely populated and Thailand attracts A hundred times more tourists per year All of this makes me extremely excited My mission for the next four days is to Find the most remote tribe and the most Remote part of Laos so I took the once a

Day flight to a small town called laway Namtha in the North and the adventure Begins from there We are out there I don't know I don't Know which one he is so hopefully he's Going to recognize me because I don't Know where he is well I wanted remote And I guess I found remote I'm looking For my friend maybe he knows him his Name is Ken Ken my friend from Laos Ken There's a number Here now hello hello hey where are you Tell me perfect thank you man see you Soon all right we must wait get louder How are you man good and you good to Meet you Can number two yeah one and Ken two Drew Nice to meet you bro sometimes when I Enter a place I don't really feel it out Until later on in the day but it's safe To say I feel like I'm in love right now This trip is completely spontaneous I Had no hotels booked no drivers prepared And no plan on what I would do I only Met Ken number one and Ken number two Just a few days ago from the internet And I told them that I want to seek out The most remote tribes in their country I know it sounds strange but I can tell You that these are usually the best kind Of Adventures being spontaneous and Stepping out of my comfort zone is Essential because that's when life's Purest moments always happen if there's

One thing I've learned from my journey To every country it's that things always Find a funny way of working themselves Out in the end the three of us headed on A five hour Drive Northwest across the Bumpiest roads I've been on since my Days in West Africa these roads were so Bad that I contemplated turning back and Settling somewhere else but we pushed Through and 30 miles later we made it to A random town just just in time for a Quick bowl of cow soy my favorite Laotian dish one of the best bowls of Noodles you could possibly have Oh man a quick rest and a three dollar a Night guest house and then I couldn't Believe my eyes for what we saw in the Morning Guest house because there's some kind of Market here we think looks like the set Of a scary movie out here Oh Actually yeah That was the head of a buffalo and a Bowl of its blood next to it As soon as the light arrived we Discovered one of the most incredible Markets I've ever seen all the tribes in Northwestern Alaska together every Morning only for one hour and they sell All of their produce and their goods the Smells in this place are outrageously Amazing [Music]

You would think they did this market Like once a week on a special occasion Or something but it's every morning and That just shows how beautiful and Rich The culture is here they cultivate all These vegetables all this food it's so Colorful and traditional and beautiful You don't understand them no no speaking About this they speak the language so I Don't know what it means but do you Think they also speak loud yeah they Also can speak louder but some cannot Speak [Music] This is really a celebration of life and Food and family [Music] We're gonna buy some fruit I don't know What kind of fruit it is it looks like Beetle nut but I think it's different From this beautiful lady How can you eat it Not good good try it looks like you Don't like it it's good for some vitamin To hang over have this Okay the face you make looks makes it Look not good [Music] Oh Very sour like Warhead sour [Applause] About this Market is that most of the Ladies are wearing the traditional Headwear and outfits and that's cool

Because as Ken told me it's really rare To find this in Laos they've become a Lot more modernized with street clothes And iPhones but here it still holds onto That traditional root all I know is that After walking through here I'm starving So I'm gonna go find some breakfast Somewhere around here they're selling Giant rats and this lady wants one we're Gonna buy one for her she wants one yeah She said yes so we're gonna buy one for Her okay okay she's very happy [Music] All right we're buying rat number two We're cleaning her out of her she gives It with the tail sticking out right There Okay so we purchased two rats for this Lady and she invited us into her house If we want to uh see how she cooks it of Course I'm interested to see how they Prepare rat up here that's Something that uh I didn't grow up with Okay we made it to her house she's Always smiling I love it Foreign What's your name [Music] My name is Drew hello yes [Music] When that is Like for all the family oh wow yeah [Music] Wow that's so cool

What she does now is take a bowl of cold Water and she she's cutting off the ears Of the rash making sure all the skin is Gone man that is graphic what do you Think about that foreign [Music] Thank you [Music] It's time to try the rat All right it doesn't waste any time Good Have you ever met a foreigner before No yeah no never no so what do you think About me being here in your kitchen how Do you feel is it um Yeah she has come with rice Okay Have you ever met a foreigner or a Tourist before Never never For example He wants me to try it yeah It tastes like chicken yeah it's good Thank you It's really not that bad better than the Last time I had rat actually it was Guinea pig you know guinea pig And Ecuador behind me is a Cree party Literally there's about a dozen women That are cooking Qui I'm not a big fan of the skin 's a Little rubbery for me and The Taste There was very strong this one tastes More or less like chicken

Do you have any questions for me when You stop I would love to come back here because It's it's such a peaceful culture you Know Her kids are about to go to school right Now and they're probably like what is Going on Thank you thank you Believe it or not Laos is the most Diverse country in all of Southeast Asia With 160 different ethnic groups Speaking 82 languages the main group is Ethnic Lao who make up 53 of the pie but Don't refer to them as Lao the correct Term is laoshin way up here in the north The tribes are so beautiful and colorful With unique clothing styles that I Haven't seen anywhere else in the world Their culture remains untouched from the Pressures of modern day life as they Hold on to their humble ancient Traditions Foreign [Music] And I have been walking for the last Hour because we had a driver but he Couldn't make it up these roads the road Is so bad dude you can't make it here The scenery is insane there's no other Towns or Villages around here when is The last time that you were on a road That doesn't exist on Google Maps [Music]

I can't believe where we just ended up Somewhere literally on the border of China Myanmar and Laos this community Inside of this Village is so hidden and Tucked away from any cities and towns It's unbelievable You look amazing your hat [Music] This is a really cool moment we just Arrived here met this man and Immediately we're given shots of Something I thought it was water It's whiskey and these little chairs are Tiny I mean they're like two inches tall These chairs they're just almost like Sitting on the floor That will put some hair on your chest Foreign How many years ago was everybody wearing This because now I'm seeing like a Mixture and the tradition is kind of Going away Just this year they're changing they Just moved to this Village this Village Does not look new so they just build all These houses last year yeah they said Before Um they all always wearing like the Trade is not close but now it's just Changing scene to move to like near the City this is one of the most remote Villages in the most remote country in Southeast Asia what are the aqua people What are they doing every day how are

They living Pull someone in Summers of the living line here they Were like working in the Rice Field Farm and also like hunting in the forest Like ticking up like food yeah we kind Of attack and the most important for a Woman um they have to be like Cooking for the man it's really a Special experience to be here and thank You for being so kind and I hope it's Okay if we hang out for the a couple Hours and observe cochai All right he's letting me try out his Hat Very gentle It's fluffy it's like a pillow oh oh wow We're going deep This might be the best footage that I've Taken my entire life you guys just came Out with more clothes and he said try it On like sure It fits me really well like if I'm Wearing a suit jacket you know it's Literally perfect length Whoa these are old French coins 1937. France colonized Laos at one point this Is before the year France Francaise Very very humbling and friendly people Welcoming Us in giving us drinks There's a smile if you want to talk About remote I'm not sure that I've Found a community more remote than this

Maybe in South Sudan I was recently with the mandari tribe But look nothing for miles and miles and Miles and miles over these Hills We showed up here kind of unannounced And right away the people just became Really friendly and welcoming and I've Asked them and they said there's never Been another visitor here before I came Here is there anyone come here Never before so to be able to come here Is so special I hear people doing karaoke We hear some kind of karaoke or a party I don't know there's a house the Farthest house away from here We hear music coming and people singing We're heading that way and clearly There's just an army of people walking Behind me what happened oh oh I guess uh Ken is going to get married now this is How we walk together through the village About Lincoln arms Cam what do you think about this Experience Oh my God amazing I love how everywhere we go we're Followed by 30 kids [Music] They're so scared of you Oh He likes it Oh they're all doing backflips yo we Thought all these kids are doing

Backflips into the pond drinking and Smoking what a life [Music] Every time he goes for a truce he does The linking of the arms If you're loud this is my favorite beer In Southeast Asia [Music] [Applause] Seriously I'm the only outside I've ever Been here party Hey [Applause] I don't normally drink that much but When they're feeding me beer and shots Every five seconds can't really say no It's a straight up party out here when Did you guys move here So they just moved here like in June of This year oh cool nice where did they Come from before just next to the Myanmar the border so they were living Closer to the border of Myanmar and now They move from here can you tell me About um I heard from someone that you Guys can have two wives Foreign [Music] It's depending on if the woman was Equipped us your hands can have mini Bikes you married first right and the Second woman They agree to be happy with that okay as You can marry it too so the woman the

Second woman has to agree to the first One yeah yeah so how many wives do you Have two He has two wives That's cool very Handsome guy what is the religion of the AKA tribe are you guys Catholic or Buddhists And what they believe is about spirit Because They believe in ghosts yes religion Believes that spirit and humans were Born of the same mother Once Upon a Time They coexisted until a conflict drove The ghosts into the forest where they Cast illness and other bad fortune onto Their human counterparts AKA religion is Also centered around genealogy many of The people here can recite their family Tree back 50 Generations we walked Farther up the hill to discover yet Another party with drinking games keep In mind that this is a random Wednesday Afternoon I don't know who looks better and which Hat he looks pretty good I don't know how I look with my head on But he looks fire with a disco head-on [Music] [Applause] Oh Buzz kill this is a drinking game they Play I've noticed that this game is popular All over the world the rules are simple

You throw a small ball which is the Target and then try to throw Big Balls As close as you can to the small balls We're losing the away team is losing by Two By three by three I Like I got a drink Give me this Um They want me to dance but I hate dancing It's a raven Laos [Music] They dance like me that's a good thing When you don't know how to dance you do This They're trying to match me with her it's Really awkward Nobody can walk straight Okay Oh my God this pairing stuff is so Awkward No no I can't I can't do it it's a Little bit awkward and funny how this Man actually wants me to marry his Daughter he keeps trying to place her Right next to me and get me to hold her Hand I've never been in this kind of Situation before and I'm not exactly Sure how to handle it Okay [Music] [Music] You're right I think you just got

Married I'm pretty sure I just got married yeah Was that a dowry I hope not I think that Was a dowry I love you Deanna this is just a joke But I think that money I gave was a Dowry or something and everybody started Clapping and the man with the hat he Just keeps forcing me to her it's very Uh awkward I'm sorry that I wasn't able to marry Your daughter He's like oh man next time next no next Time next live maybe maybe Sadly globalization is unavoidable Evolution to a Modern Life cannot be Stopped what this means unfortunately is The end of ancient ways of life slowly But surely the akka tribes are being Kicked out of their Villages by Neighboring Chinese Invaders who are Destroying their forests and building New Roads and casinos these beautiful Outfits that you see the men and women Wearing will not be worn by the Next Generation kids are having iPhones which Means access to YouTube and the internet And learning about an alternate way of Life which isn't necessarily a bad thing It's just the reality as the akka are Being integrated into the mainstream I Will say that the party scene that I Just witnessed was absolutely wild I Could have been anywhere in the world

Like in college back in Madison Wisconsin and had a very similar Experience you have to remember that all People everywhere have experienced Transformation at some point in history I strongly feel that it's in our best Interest to protect the indigenous People because they are the one ones who Are caring for our environment and our Planet we must preserve their culture And their Lifestyles because when it Goes away it never comes back make sure To subscribe to this channel for more Epic travel stories from every country Hit up my podcast called roots of Humanity and I also have a second YouTube channel where I share more Unseen travel stories until next time Stay safe be well and just go

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