FAQ´s

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1. Climbing, safety & activity

1.a Finding a climbing partner – how does it work?

1.b Do dangerous climbing accidents occur at GCH?

1.c Which types of bolts are being used at the GCH area?

1.d What shall I do when safety features of a certain route apparently are not in good condition?

1.e How do I respond if a certain grip within the route is unstable, or if loose rock interferes with climbing the route?

1.f What else, except climbing, can I undertake at GCH?

1.g Is climbing in the Thakhek area possible during the rainy season?

1.h Can any climbing equipment be lent out during the rainy season?

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2. Water & Food

2.a Where does GCH get drinking water from?

2.b Who provides GCH with foodstuff?

2.c Why don’t you produce your own groceries and meat?

2.d Why don’t you raise chicken and swine?

2.e Where originates your meat from?

2.f Which of your dishes are vegetarian?

2.g Do you offer vegan dishes as well?

2.h What shall I do if I suffer from a food allergy or food intolerance?

3. Money

3.a What expenses /day do I have plan for food and beverages?

3.b Which currencies are accepted at GCH?

3.c Where can I draw money?

3.d What do I have to do, if I lose my credit card?

4. Surroundings

4.a What about hiking in the vicinity of GCH?

4.b Are the karst mountains climbable?

4.c Are there any caves nearby, which are worth visiting?

4.d Which places, located nearby, are suitable for swimming?

5. Mobility

5.a How is bicycle rental organized at GCH?

5.b Can I make any reservations for public busses?

5.c Can motor cycles be rented at GCH?

5.d Where can I rent a motorcycle for the ‘Loop’?

5.e How do I get to town fast and cheaply?

5.f If take-off time of my flight at Nakhon Phanom (NP) is at such and such time, what bus must I take from Thakhek?

5.g How can I charter a private minibus and to what expenses?

6. The GCH System

6.a How far in advance should I make reservations for a climbing course?

6.b How does the ‘book exchange system work?

6.c Can I get an interim bill?

6.d May I change my sleeping place from tent to dorm or vice versa?

6.e What is the check-out-procedure?

6.f What expenses am I asked to enter personally into my book?

6.g How long in advance do I have to inform you when I plan to leave the camp sooner than originally intended, or in case I want to go on the ‘Loop’ for a couple of days.

6.h How far in advance do I have to inform the desk when I want to stay any longer?

7. The Resort

7.a What makes the differences between GCH 1 and GCH 2?

7.b How far away is GCH 2 from GCH 1?

7.c For what reason are all GCH-buildings erected on poles?

7.d How many staff is employed at Green Climbers Home?

7.e Could I also be employed as an helper/assistant at  Green Climber Home?

7.f Do you provide internet/WIFI at Green Climbers Home?

7.g What purpose serves the douche-head besides the toilet?

7.h Our sewage tanks for the toilet waste water - how do they function?

7.i Where is smoking allowed at the Green Climbers Home?

7.j Why do you close down the GCH every year for 4 months?

7.k How is the resort maintained during the off-season?

8. Travelling preparations – things worth knowing before you take off for Laos

8.a Visa

8.b Can I get my visa extended?

8.c What consequences does it have when I overdrew my visa?

8.d What is the best time of year to travel to Laos?

8.e How long does it take from Bangkok International airport (Suvarnabhumi) to the National Airport (Don Mueang) in Bangkok?

8.f Can I make it to GCH on the same day, if I arrive at Nakhon Phanom Airport with the plane scheduled for 4.25 p.m.?

8.g What can I do, if I miss the last bus from Nakhon Phanom to Thakhek?

8.h Criminality

8.i Drugs

9. Tierwelt

9.a Are there any apes around?

9.b Are there any dangerous animals?

10. Medical problems & precautions

10.a Which medical problems might hit me and what are the precautions to be taken?

10.b Is Dengue fever a danger in Laos?

10.c Which pre-travel vaccinations must I get?

11. Historical facts

11.a How and when was the climbing area discovered?

11.b How and when did Tanja and Uli find out about this climbing paradise?

11.c For how long already does The GCH camp exist?

11.d What were the careers of Uli and Tanja, before they established GCH?

11.e What did really happen when the disastrous fire at GCH occurred?

11.f When and for what reason was the second camp set-up?

All the Rest…

Bicycle rental

Water

Internet

Laundry Service

Finding a climbing partner

Payment

Visa

1. Climbing, safety & activity

1.a Finding a climbing partner – how does it work?

It is not a problem at all to find a partner during the climbing season ( October 1. –  May 30. ). The camp is ‘occupied’ almost totally by climbers, many if them travelling alone. All of those guys/girls are also looking for a climbing-buddy. So, just come to GCH and don’t be too shy to ask people straight away.

1.b Do dangerous climbing accidents occur at GCH?

Definitely not! As yet, only very few climbing minor accidents occurred in the camp and we hope, it will stay this way in the future. Bring in your own contribution to the good standing of GCH in this respect by operating cautiously and responsible thoughout! Call the attention of those, who are about to make mistakes! A compilation of things “to do” and “to avoid” can be found under “Safety” in the Laos Climbing Guide and on our web-site: http://www.greenclimbershome.com/guidebook/

1.c Which types of bolts are being used at the GCH area?

Most routes in the Thakhek region are fixed up with 10 mm expansion hooks (clamps?) in A4 quality of stainless steel, fitted with loops made from certified climbing rope. Different from climbing regions, located  in southern Thailand, Bohrhaken getting rusty are not a problem. If any rust is recognized, the item is being replaced within short time.

1.d What shall I do when safety features of a certain route apparently are not in good condition?

How should I react e.g. when. a Bohrhaken is loose, or a plate (or a nut) wobbles or in case a loop is broken? In such case (and other damage, noticed while climbing a route) try to imprint in your mind: What exactly is the problem and which dimensions does it have:
- Which route?
- At which height (which Bohrhaken?)
- What really is wrong?

In case, a nut/plate is loose, try to fix it temporarily by hand as good as possible. Get aware of your actual condition:. Do I feel able to climb the route without endangering myself or others, or should I better break off. In any case, let us know about the problem as soon as possible, so we can take repair measures. If you want to climb the route again and feeling fit to solve the problem yourself, ask us for the proper repair tools. 

1.e How do I respond if a certain grip within the route is unstable, or if loose rock interferes with climbing the route?

If the grip is loose and can’t be extricated by hand you should mark it clearly with an “X”, using your magnesia powder. This way others can stay clear of this grip. Please notify us as soon as possible so we can remove the wobbling rock, with a hammer or a breaking iron.

1.f What else, except climbing,  can I undertake at GCH?

There is quite a lot, what you can do:
Swimming is fun  in the cave behind GCH 1, or in the rivulet behind GCH 2, or even in the deeper river at the Tha Falang,
Furthermore you may enjoy playing Badminton or Boule
You might try to juggle, or to ‘fight’ with the slack line.
Why not just relax and perhaps read a book at our ‘sand beach’ besides the cave.
It might be interesting to make a bicycle tour to nearby villages.
Also, there are some caves, waiting for you to explore them
Strolling and shopping at the colourful Thakek markets is quite an experience.
Rent a bike and do the  “motor bike-Loop (for information,see:  HYPERLINK "http://gobackpackgo.commotorbike-loop-thakhek" http://gobackpackgo.commotorbike-loop-thakhek )This link provides info about other travel suggestions, too.
Go on tour with Green discovery Laos ( HYPERLINK "http://www.greendiscoverylaos.com" www.greendiscoverylaos.com) for one or several days, for instance to the spectacular cave Kong Lor.

1.g Is climbing in the Thakhek area possible during the rainy season?

During the rainy period (June – September) many routes may be unclimbable. Sometimes, the whole Valley, where GCH is situated will be flooded, making access to the rock impossible. On the other side, you might be lucky and everything is more or less dry. Our advice: Pick-up the actual weather situation from the internet, before you make your decision.

The GCH camp will be shut down then, but you find accommodations at the Travel Lodge or at the Inthira Hotel in Thakhek. A moped brings you to the climbing grounds 15 km away from town. Camping at the climbing premises is not allowed! From Green Discovery Laos (office in the Inthira Hotel) you can purchase the climbing guide

1.h Can any climbing equipment be lent out during the rainy season?

No. We are completely closed-down during the rainy season from June until September.  There is no lodging, no food, no rental of equipment and no climbing courses to be offered.

2. Water & Food

2.a Where does GCH get drinking water from?

We obtain our water from a groundwater well on our premise. Tap water on the resort comes directly from this well and can be used without restriction e.g. for brushing teeth. Drinking water and the water used for cooking undergoes an additional filtering process.

2.c Who provides GCH with foodstuff?

Our fresh food and victuals are daily bought at the local market in Thakhek

2.d Why don’t you produce your own groceries and meat?

‘Green Climbers Home’ means restaurant(s) and resort(s) but definitely is not an agricultural enterprise. We could not at all produce the necessary amounts of foodstuff for the camp, leave alone that we don’t have access to fertile soil.

2.e Why don’t you raise chicken and swine?

See above.

2.f Where originates your meat from?

Chicken meat is delivered deep-frozen from chicken raising enterprises in Thailand. Pork and beef comes from farms in the Thakhek area; we never heard about meat mass production in Laos. Thence, we assume that cattle are raised according to acceptable standards.

2.g Which of your dishes are vegetarian?

Principally we offer all dishes also on basis of tofu. Automatically this means “vegetarian”. 

2.h Do you offer vegan dishes as well?

The dishes “Fried Noodles“, „Green Coconut Curry „or Panang Curry“ are vegan if you choose the tofu variant. Furthermore, the salad dishes “pure” and “with tofu” (served with a vinegar/oil vinaigrette) do not contain any animal based components.

2.i What shall I do if I suffer from a food allergy or food intolerance?

At the end of our menu list you find extra numbers for ordering special menu variants. If this does not satisfy you, please ask the waiter.

3. Money

3.a What expenses /day do I have plan for food and beverages?

You have to earmark - depending on your demands - between 10 US$ (e.g.  3 main dishes + water + 1 beer and 20 US$ (three main dishes + dessert + shakes + water + Cola + 2 beer).

3.b Which currencies are accepted at GCH?

We accept no credit cards and want cash. You can either pay with: Laos Kip (LAK), Thai Baht (THB) or American Dollars (US$). Be sure of having enough cash with you, when you check out.

3.c Where can I draw money?

In Thakhek, at every red ATM of the BCE-Bank (and many other banks as well) Lao Kip can be withdrawn with a VISA-Card. Sometimes a Master Card also works, not however a Maestro- or EC-Bankcard. ATM’s are located
- At the BCEL Bank
- Across the street close to the Inthira Hotel
- At the post office
- At many other places in town

ATM’s are sometimes empty - especially so on Sunday evenings and Monday mornings – and do, not spit-out any money then. In order to draw cash reliably, do it on other days. ATM’s deliver a maximum of 1.000.000 Kip, but you can repeat the drawing procedure as often as you want (at least theoretically). This way, you can get as much money as needed. Presenting Traveller checks or a Visa-Card at the local banks, you can get  Thai Baht, US$ or any other (common) currency.

3.d What do I have to do, if I lose my credit card?

Notify your bank and arrange for freezing it. A new credit card can be sent to our postal address, which is listed under “Contact” on our web- site. Inform the GCH management that you expect such mail
If you are in urgent need of money, your friends/relatives can transfer money to you easily and rapidly by Western Union (Thakhek office). However, this procedure is quite expensive.

4. Surroundings

4.a What about hiking in the vicinity of GCH?

Of course, it is possible to go hiking in the surroundings of the Green Climbers Home. You must be aware though that there are no marked trails. As an alternative, you may join guided tours which can be booked at the “Green Discovery of Laos” office in Thakhek. Additional information is laid down in their file, displayed at the GCH-bar; helpful might be their Website, too. 

4.b Are the karst mountains climbable?

Principally this may be possible, but we strongly advise, not to do so! There are no marked trails directing you. The rock up there is brittle, crumbly and sharp-cornered. Furthermore, many trees are not solidly anchored in the ground. Hence, a mountain tour might turn out to be very dangerous.

4.c Are there any caves nearby, which are worth visiting?

A short description of all caves located close to the Green Climbers Home including a map, can be found under “Rest Days” in the Laos Climbing Guide (together with other recommended rest-day activities for leisure days).

4.d Which places, located nearby, are suitable for swimming?

There are 2 sites. The first one is located just within walking distance behind the camping site. At that place you can bath/swim inside and out of ‘our’ cave. The second place is at Tha Falang, about 1.5 km distant from the GCH. Under the heading “Rest days” a map of this site and how to get there is included in the Laos Climbing Guide.

5. Mobility

5.a How is bicycle rental organized at GCH?

If you want to rent a bicycle you have to inscribe in the bicycle reservation list at the Check-in counter. Rental-fee for one day is 30.000Kip which is entered into your billing booklet. In case, all bikes are reserved already, you can only participate in biking if you make an agreement with one of those, lucky ones who got a bike for that day. You have to negotiate a distinct take-over time. The renting fee cannot be split-up, though; both of you has to pay the full charge.

5.b Can I make any reservations for public busses?

No! The busses to GCH, pulling-out from Thakhek or Nakhom Phanom can’t be booked in advance. The same holds true for the long-distance and overnight busses. Tickets can only be bought for the present day at the bus stations. So, if your connection is on narrow schedule or your journey is urgent for some reason, then better take an earlier bus. During the main season, i.e. from December until February, on occasion busses may be overcrowded.

5.c Can motor cycles be rented at GCH?

No! If you want to visit the town, you can either inscribe on the Tuk-Tu- list or you rent a bike. Motor cycles though can be rented in Thakhek.

5.d Where can I rent a motorcycle for the ‘Loop’?

Thakhek has several agencies where motorcycles may be rented. Those rental-shops are mostly located near the Inthira hotel, and at the Travel lodge. Please check the map on our info-board or in the Lao Climbing Guide. We recommend “Mad Monkey” left-hand from Inthira Hotel or “Mr. Ku” besides the Travel Lodge. “Mad Monkey” offers not only heavy-type scooters, but also enduro-type motor cycles and quads.

5.e How do I get to town fast and cheaply?

1.) By Tuk-Tuk. The fare is 100.000 Kip divided by the number of participating people. More than 5 persons pay a somewhat higher fare per person. It takes about 25 min. to get to the bus terminal and, approx. 30 min. to Inthira Hotel.
2.) By Bicycle. The rental fee/day at GCH is 30.000 Kip. Depending on the actual whether conditions, it takes you about 1 hr. to arrive in Thakhek.
3.) Per Hitch-Hike.  You could offer some money to the driver (in the range of 10.000 to 20.000 Kip). Our experiences with hitch-hiking are somewhat unpredictable. You may luckily be picked up within a short time, or you wait and wait and wait. Not all Laotians understand the principle of hitch-hiking and some drivers plainly ask for money after arrival. It is important to know that in Asia the typical hitch-hiking gesture is a stretched-out arm and hand (palm down) which is moved up and down.

5.f If take-off time of my flight at Nakhon Phanom (NP) is at such and such time, what bus must I take from Thakhek?

The first bus to the airport leaves Thakhek at 8:00 a.m. It takes approx. 1.5 hrs. to get to the airport. A taxi makes it within about 30 min. So you can get to NP airport not much earlier than about 10:00 a.m. As a Consequence, if your plane is scheduled for earlier than 10:30 a.m., you must either travel to Thailand the evening before or you must charter a minibus.

5.g How can I charter a private minibus and to what expenses?

The private minibus accommodates 8 persons and costs 1.250.000 Kip for a ride to the Nakhon Phanom airport. The fare is independent of the number of passengers.
Advantages:
You will be picked up directly at GCH
You can choose your departure time
You do not face a waiting line at customs clearance
You will be dropped directly at the airport (or  elsewhere, if you want)
The trip from GCH to the airport takes only one hour.
Even in case of early flights you can spend your last night at the GCH instead of being forced to depart already the day before take-off.

Reservations: For a minibus, reservations can be made at our reception. We care for everything.
Payment: You pay the driver directly. He will accept Lao Kip, Thai Baht and US $.

6. The GCH System

6.a How far in advance should I make reservations for a climbing course?

We urge you to convey your wishes with regard to climbing-courses to us at least one day in advance. We cannot promise, though, that at very short notice a course for you can be arranged but we always try our best.

6.b How does the ‘book exchange system work?

At any time you can borrow a book, provided it is returned in the same condition as before when you leave the camp. Alternatively, you may exchange this book by another one, which, however, has to be in the same or a better shape. However, this is impossible with books bearing the “GCH-no exchange” marking. In case, the book shelf spills over from books, single books can be taken without replacement, but then you have to notify us.

6.c Can I get an interim bill?

You can request an interim bill at any time. We try to satisfy you as soon as possible, but you might have to wait until next morning.

6.d May I change my sleeping place from tent to dorm or vice versa?

Not having made in time a reservation for this you should contact us such a wish as soon as possible. We do our best to help you, but this may just not be possible within short time, especially during peak season when the GCH is crowded.

6.e What is the check-out-procedure?

At departure-day you must pay your final bill between 6:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. At 11:00 a.m. the bungalow must be cleared and the key given back at the reception. Likewise, dorm-beds or tents must be vacated. Make arrangements with the staff if you want to stow away your luggage for some hours or  days (Loop).

6.f What expenses am I asked to enter personally into my book?

Just those items which you take personally must be noted by yourself in the billing-book. Everything you order at the bar or from the waiters is being recorded in the book by staff members. You yourself can take things from the two refrigerators, furthermore drinking water from the two fountains, hot water from the water boiler, and tea bags and coffee powder. If you want milk for your tea or coffee, please use the
‘powdered milk’, placed on the tables or ask for fresh milk at the bar. In the latter case you have to enter “coffee (tea) with milk” in your book.

6.g How long in advance do I have to inform you when I plan to leave the camp sooner than originally intended, or in case I want to go on the ‘Loop’ for a couple of days.

Please do so as early as possible but 3 days in advance at the latest - during peak season even earlier. If unexpectedly you have to depart earlier, or in case you decide this way on a sudden, we have to bill you for the ‘given-up’ days. This applies also, when you want to go on the ‘Loop’ during peak season without making pre-arrangements. Important: In any case, notify us as early as possible, 

6.h How far in advance do I have to inform the desk when I want to stay any longer?

Do so as early as possible. During December until February, our resort is extremely frequented and possibly booked-out.

7. The Resort

7.a What makes the differences between GCH 1 and GCH 2?

There are only 2 relevant distinctions
The bungalows of GCH 1 have bathrooms of their own and are somewhat larger.
GCH 1 additionally has a housing 12 persons, GCH 2 has not.
The “mode of operation”, the menus, the services offered, and - of course - the climbing facilities are identical in both camps.

7.b How far away is GCH 2 from GCH 1?

The distance between both camps is approx. 500 m; approaching the camps from Highway no. 12, GCH 2 is reached first. Following the gravel road further, you get to GCH 1.
For what reason are all GCH-buildings erected on poles?
Between June and September, that is, during the monsoon period, heavy rain may cause the small river, adjacent to the camp, to flood the campsites for days and sometimes even weeks. The houses withstand this flooding, because they rest on concrete poles, founded deep in the ground.

7.c How many staff is employed at Green Climbers Home?

Each resort (GCH 1,2) occupies about 13 local people: waiters, cooks, room waitresses and 2 persons in charge of buying food und related stuff. In addition we have under contract ‘assistants/helpers’ from western counties.

7.d Could I also be employed as an helper/assistant at  Green Climber Home?

We always need helpers, who - in the first place - assist with the execution of climbing courses, but may be engaged also at the reception, and in restaurant service. If you have worked in gastronomy and also have some experience as a climbing-trainer (you should be able to climb at least 6c), you are a candidate for such a job. Being a sympathetic person, willing to give a good performance as a team worker, please contact Tanja or Uli directly or send an email to: Tanja

7.e Do you provide internet/WIFI at Green Climbers Home?

We do not offer WiFi at GCH, but you can get internet with your own modem / I-Phone / Smartphone. The only provider is M-PHONE. We sell SIM-cards and top-ups in both Resorts.

GCH 1: there is no signal in the area. You will have to go out a little through the gate. After another 30 m you can get access at the “Nerd corner”.

GCH 2: you get quite good 3G access in this area.

Instructions for the usage of this SIM-card are posted at the "Nerd corner" or our info-board.

Furthermore there are several restaurants and bars in Thakhek which offer WIFI for their guests, e.g. the Inthira Hotel, the ice-cream parlour ‘Snow’ and the restaurant ‘Travel Lodge’ (see map in the Laos Climbing Guide)

7.f What purpose serves the douche-head besides the toilet?

Instead of toilet paper, in Asia a douche positioned besides the toilet serves for cleaning your intimate zones. When handled properly, the douche-water drains off through the toilet bowel instead of inundating the whole facility! For sure, this procedure is very hygienic and avoids unnecessary consumption of (expensive) toilet paper.

7.g Our sewage tanks for the toilet waste water - how do they function?

Green Climbers Home is not connected to the Thakhek sewage system. Instead, we are operating a multi-step filter system in order to clarify our waste water. In a first step, microorganisms break up and degrade the coarse material. In the second tank the sewage is forced through layers of charcoal and sand. The last unit is a drainage tank, which finally releases the reconditioned water into the ground. Spoilage of our clear-water resources does not take place since the GCH is provided with water from 30 m below ground level. Furthermore the camp is closed down for four months every year (during the rain-season), thus being “rinsed-through” thoroughly. Hence, in all probability fresh waste and waste water certainly do not interfere.

7.h Where is smoking allowed at the Green Climbers Home?

Outside of all buildings you may smoke but collect your cigarette stubs and dispose them into waste bins. Make sure, they won’t glow. Especially during the dry season avoid any bushfire caused by scattering around your ashes.

7.i Why do you close down the GCH every year for 4 months?

During the rain season, i.e. from June until September our resort is closed down. In this period, rain storms are heavy enough to flood the climbing area partially or even completely. Even when this is not the case, the gravel road to GCH, departing from Highway no. 12 is so slushy and soaked with water that it hardly can be passed. Consequently, e.g. food couldn’t be brought to the camp. Moreover most climbing routes are so wet and slippery that they couldn’t be climbed.

7.j How is the camp maintained during the off-season?

Some of our Laotian employees live in the camp permanently and watch-out. Others get there regularly in order to keep the bungalows clean.

8. Travelling preparations – things worth knowing before you take off for Laos

8.a Visa

At the Laos border you must applicate for a 30-day-visa “upon arrival”. Depending on your nationality you will be charged 30 US$– 40 US$. Swiss and Luxembourg people can choose between a 15 day visa (free of charge) and a 30-day visa (35 US$).
Alternatively, you can apply for a visa in advance.
Note: Your passport must be valid at the time of entering Laos for another 6 months. In addition you need to 2 passport-photos. German citizens get additional information under “Auswärtiges Amt

8.b Can I get my visa extended?

Yes. There are 2 possibilities to get this dones.
1.) You make a short trip across the Thai border and re-enter right away (“visa-run”). This means, you just pass through the visa procedure a second time, and get again a “residence permit”, valid for another 30 days.
2.) You prolong your visa at the Visa-prolongation-office (see map in the Laos Climbing Guide on page 5). Doing it this way, every day of prolongation costs US$ 2. So, this alternative makes sense only up to 15 days. For a longer extension period, only a “visa run” makes sense financially.

8.c What consequences does it have when I overdrew my visa?

On leaving the country you will be charged with 10 US$ for each day of overdrawing your visa.

8.d What is the best time of year to travel to Laos?

This depends on what you want:

You don’t like to have too many people around you: Then we recommend the months October, November, April and May. It may then be pretty warm but in any case you can climb those walls which are positioned in the shade.

You don’t like it too hot: Then you should visit Green Climbers Home during December until February. January is the coldest month, temperatures dropping to about 80 Celsius. Yet, during daytimes it warms up to approx. 250 Celsius.

You prefer a nicely green: Then October and November will be perfect. After the previous rain season the natural environment is still green and lush.

Note: Climbing is well possible all the time from October until May.

8.e How long does it take from Bangkok International airport (Suvarnabhumi) to the National Airport (Don Mueang) in Bangkok?

You should calculate 4 hours to get from the Suvarnabhumi- to the Don Mueang-Airport:
1 hr,  for passport control
30 min. for picking-up your luggage
15 min. until you have ‘conquered’ a taxi
1 hr. for transfer to the other airport
30 min for check-in at Don-Mueang Airport
the residual time is spared for unpredictable delays

8.f Can I make it to GCH on the same day, if I arrive at Nakhon Phanom Airport with the plane scheduled for 4.25 p.m.?

It seems that most of our guests catch the last bus to Thakek, which departs from Nakhon Phanom at 5.00 p.m. Yet, one must hurry a lot, because taxi-transfer from the airport to the bus-station, downtown Nakhon Phanom, takes about 20 min. It may help to ask your taxi driver to phone Mr. Pon, the driver of the Thakhek bus, to wait a few minutes (phone: +856(0) 20-22115688).

8.g What can I do, if I miss the last bus from Nakhon Phanom to Thakhek?

There exists another way to cross the border: Hire a taxi to the Thai border.
Ask people to you take you with their car the 800m across the ‘Bridge of Friendship’ and let you off at the Laos border station. Note: It is forbidden to cross the bridge  as a pedestrian.
Cross the border. You must have your passport and 30-40 US$ (depending on your citizenship) at hand.
Having passed into Laos, send us a SMS message or give us a phone call (number) so we can send our Tuk-Tuk driver Mr. Noy to pick you up at the border. This transfer costs you 150.000 Kip.

8.h Criminality

According to information from the German “Foreign Office” the situation in Laos, regarding criminality, is as follows (Citation) “low-level criminal activities in Laos presently are on the rise. Vientiane, Luang Prabang and Vang Vien - those towns which are most frequently visited by tourists - feature an increasing number of hold-ups, bag and moped thefts, part of it attended with violence. A strong connection to seen to increasing drug abuse in Laos”. For further information read here >>

8.i Drugs

About drug misuse the German „Foreign office” communicates about Laos: The number of fatal incidents resulting from drug abuse increases. With regard to consummation of drug-spoiled food and beverages heavy medical problems may have to be anticipated. The acquisition, possession, distribution and import or export of drugs is heavily sanctioned. Travellers are urgently recommended to avoid every contact with drugs”. 

Of course, this is our policy, too at the Green Climbers Home resort!

9. Animals

9.a Are there any apes around?

No. Wild apes do not live anymore in this part of Laos; people nearly have extinguished the ape populations.

9.b Are there any dangerous animals?

Yes. There are snakes, Scorpions and centipedes.

The most dangerous snake is the bamboo viper. Our advice:  keep away from all snakes.

Scorpions can be found in different sizes and colours; all of them are poisonous. Their attack is painful but not really dangerous. Remember: The smaller their claws are, the stronger is their poison.

Centipede bites are very painful, however not fatal. Consult a hospital immediately.
None of the animals listed above, is thoroughly vicious or attacks you ‘just for fun’. This happens only if the animals get panicky, feel hampered or are attacked by you. In each case, a peaceful coexistence between man and animal is possible, provided you don’t chase and avoid stepping on them. Most of the little ‘beasts’ flee before you can stumble over them.
Further information can be found in the Laos Climbing Guide.

10. Medical problems & precautions

10.a Is Malaria a danger in Laos?

Laos is not known to be a high-risk area for malaria. Yet, there is a small risk of infection during the rain-season and thereafter. Only then, mosquitoes are numerous, i.e.  between May and October. From November until March practically no mosquitoes will bother you. Hence, the danger of a malaria infection is close to zero during this part of the year. If mosquitoes are around after all, you should anyway take every chance not to be attacked. Mosquito coils and mosquito spray can be purchased from us. Furthermore, cloths, covering your body more or less completely do help a lot. Malaria mosquitoes (Anopheles) are active only at dawn and at night.
If you suspect having caught an infection (high fever!) you should contact a doctor right away. A malaria test, performed at the hospital, is quickly done and makes things clear. The local doctors are well acquainted with tropical diseases and have the adequate medicines right at hand.
We want to advise you, not to execute a malaria prophylaxis. On the other side, it is not a bad idea to carry with you Malarone as a stand-by medicine. Further information can be obtained from the page “Travelling tips for Laos

10.b Is Dengue fever a danger in Laos?

Lao is classified as a risk-area for Dengue fever. As in case of malaria, the high-risk period is the rain-season from May until October, i.e. the time of the year when mosquitoes are present. From November until March there are hardly any mosquitoes and therefore the risk to catch Dengue fever is close to zero. However, if mosquitoes are around after all, you should take every chance not to be attacked. Mosquito coils and mosquito spray can be purchased from us. Dengue mosquitoes (Cloths, covering your body more or less completely do help a lot.
If you suspect having caught an infection (virus infection causing high fever and heavy pain in muscles and joints) you should contact a doctor right away. Any prophylaxis against Dengue fever is not available
For futher information, see “Reisetipps für Laos

10.c Which pre-travel vaccinations must I get?

Ask your doctor at home which inoculations he advices. Further recommendations on this subject are given on page Fit for travel

 

11. Historical facts

11.a How and when was the climbing area discovered?

The climbing area Pho Tham Kham which surrounds the Green Climbers Home was found by Volker and Isabelle Schöffl. As soon as the government authorities had forwarded permission the first 50 routes were established. This was accomplished by a group of seventeen, headed by Volker Schöffl. Further information on this subject can be found under “Short History of Rock climbing in Thahkek in our Laos Climbing Guide.

11.b How and when did Tanja and Uli find out about this climbing paradise?

We - Tanja and Uli  Weidner - got to know about this area after reading a report, written by Volker Schöffl in the German  journal “Klettern” (“Climbing”).

For how long already does The GCH camp exist?
Construction of Green Climbers Home started in April 2011. We welcomed our first guests in December 2011. In May 2012 the construction-stage was finished. Further information are included in the under “Short History of Rock climbing in Thakhek” in our Laos Climbing guide.

11.c What were the careers of Uli and Tanja, before they established GCH?

Uli grew up and went to school in Brühl (near Cologne, Germany). Thereafter, he became a carpenter. He built custom designed furniture, kitchen assemblies and other furnishings.
Tanja was raised in a village near Brühl and attended the same secondary school as Uli. Thereafter she obtained an education as a dance-physiotherapist and then she switched into the field of teaching gymnastics. However, all of this didn’t go on very long and Tanja studied hotel management for some time before she decided to run a restaurant just in the centre of cologne, which she carried through for 4 years. Subsequently she studied business science followed by an employment at an artist agency.
Both quit their jobs in Germany in order to establish Green Climbers Home in Laos.

11.d What did really happen when the disastrous fire at GCH occurred?

Due to a terrible misunderstanding we launched some fireworks on New Years Eve in “012/13. One of the rockets, we thought of to be loaded just with confetti, made a landing on the roof of the restaurant which at that time was made from of bamboo leaves. Within five minutes the restaurant was fully inflamed and burned down. Subsequently this also occurred in a chain reaction to all but three of the bungalows.  

11.e When and for what reason was the second camp set-up?

As a consequence of the immense demand from climbers all over the world, which want to order a stay at the GCH, it was logical to extent the capacity of the camp. Thus, in April 2015 we started to build a second, separate climbing resort nearby. Opening will be in December 2015.

Bicycle rental

30.000 KIP per day
150.000 KIP per week

Water

Bring your own bottle and please use the water refill at the Green Climbers Home.

1.000 Kip per 1.5 liter bottle

Internet

We regret, but so far we cannot offer Wifi.

no Wi-Fi at the camp!

Laundry service

In beneath 24 hours we can clean your laundry!

10.000 KIP per kilo

Find a climbing partner

You are travelling alone? You are searching for a climbing partner whereever in South East Asia?

Write an EMAIL to us with the following information and we connect you to other climbers:

- Your name
- When are you where in beneath Laos?
- Which grade do you climb?

From experience, the moste easy is: Just come! There are always other climbers traveling alone!

Payment

Payment: we do not take any deposit. Payment is at the end of your stay (for a long stay you can also pay weekly)

Visa

It´s not necessary to ask for a Visa in advance. At each border you get Visa upon arrival. The tourist visa is valid for 30 days and costs, depending of your nationality in between 20 and 40 US Dollar (s. picture). The amount is purely payable in US Dollar or Thai Baht. A passport photo is needed! You can extend your visa as often as you want.

 

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