Life on Highway 13
15 images Created 20 Mar 2013
Highway 13 is Laos' "Main Street." It's the country's main north-south artery. As Laos' economy heats up, the road is becoming ever more important. It now carries a significant portion of Laos' exports (to China and Thailand) and an even bigger share of imports (from China and Thailand). The road is being improved from the Chinese border at Boten to Vientiane, Laos' capital, accommodate all of the traffic to and from China. As the highway is improved it's changing the lives of ordinary Laotians in ways big and small. Better roads means easier access to big cities and economic opportunity and Laotians are leaving their traditional homes to strike it rich in the tourist sector in Vientiane and Luang Prabang. Better roads mean easier access to schools. Better roads means better infrastructure. One small sign: more and more homes are protected by metal roofs rather than the traditional thatch. Better roads mean little things, like ice cream vendors, can now reach a greater number of customers. These photos were all made along Highway 13 between Vientiane and Boten, on the border with China.