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Laos - Ethnic Diversity in Luang Namtha

Luang Namtha province in North West Laos has until recently been fairly isolated from the outside world, mainly due to its location in the hills with poor road connections. In 2003, electricity came to the province, bringing with it access to TV, satellite dishes, internet, in short, some form of finding out what was going on outside. Then a new road was built between Thailand and China, running through Luang Namtha which cut the journey from the Chinese to the Thai border from 10-12+ hours to maybe 4-5 hours . A huge increase in traffic, both commercial traffic such as trucks, as well as tourism traffic is expected to result from this new road, bringing in many new visitors. Lastly, a new airport is under construction, which will allow for much bigger planes to come to Luang Namtha, which in turn will increase the tourism visits. All these factors are likely to have an impact of the lifestyle of the many different ethnic groups living in the province. My project, started in 2002 aims to document the traditional lifestyles as well as the change process which is inevitable. You can see more of this on my other website http://kees.zenfolio.com
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