Locals accidentally trespass into Laos

Wandering into the woods to gather flora is one – unexpected – way to stumble across geopolitical borders.

Without any intentions of illegally entering into one of Thailand’s neighboring countries, seven locals accidentally trespassed into Laos while on a quest to pick mushrooms. They have since been detained by Laotian authorities and may receive vaccines. However, Thai netizens are still jealous of these farmers.

Let’s explore how exactly foraging for plants landed these folks in jail, and why social media users envy them.

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Locals unintentionally step into Laos while picking mushrooms 

On 2nd August 2021, officials from Thailand’s Sirindhorn region in Ubon Ratchathani Province received a call from Laotian authorities informing them that seven Thai nationals have crossed into Laos illegally. While allowed to return to Thailand, these individuals are being held in Laos’s Champasak province for their 14-day quarantine, reported Sanook.

Mr. Api Wutisophakorn, a Ubon Ratchani provincial official, asserted that the septet is composed of five women and two men who were picking seasonal mushrooms. On their mission, they managed to cross over 100M into Laos.

Thai-Laotian border
Image credit: Kapook

While in a quarantine facility, this group of seven foragers have been the object of Thai netizens’ envy. They may receive Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccines before going back to Thailand, as written by Kapook.

Social media users have jokingly pointed out that while they’re stuck in a holding facility, at least the detainees will receive an mRNA vaccine prior to returning to Thailand.

Vaccination roll-out in Laos
Image for illustration purposes only
Image credit: UNICEF Laos

How far is the Laotian border from Thailand?

So, what is the likelihood that these locals “accidentally” crossed into Laos from Thailand. Well, it is very easy to do.

The Ubon Ratchathani province, where the locals were from, it’s merely 30 minutes away from the border by car. So, imagine if you were having a grand ole’ time foraging for seasonal mushrooms in the forest, where there are multiple streams.

It’d be plausible to accidentally end up in Laotian territories. After all, Crash Landing On You showed how just one step over a barely-visible border meant leaving one’s entire country behind.

Image credit: Google Maps

However, if you find yourself crossing the Mekhong River, it’d be wise to assume you’re crossing over nations. The river determines part of the border between two Southeast Asian nations – so, if you’re on a cruise along the Mekhong river, your phone may go into auto roaming mode.

Have you been to Laos yet?

Thailand is surrounded by picturesque nations, such as Laos. Many Thais say that dining next to the Mekong River, the body that separates Thailand and Laos, is fin or hits the spot.

We can attest to that, as Laos has pristine greenery and nature. Another thing about the country that attracts Thais is the fact that their language is somewhat similar to Thai.

Have you been to Laos? What was your experience like?

Cover images adapted from: Google Maps (Left), PPTVHD 36 (Right)
Images for illustration purposes only

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