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Hit travel reality show ventures abroad to Laos

Updated: 2024-05-24 07:39 ( CHINA DAILY )
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Actor Deng Chao on the China-Laos Railway. CHINA DAILY

"Since the China-Laos Railway started operating, many Chinese have come to Laos for business. I've also taken the China-Laos Railway from Luang Prabang to Vientiane. It used to take six to seven hours but now takes just over an hour, which is very convenient," he says.

Xinhua School has five international Chinese volunteer teachers from China, who are teaching Chinese through a program by the Center for Language Education and Cooperation of the Ministry of Education.

One of the volunteer teachers, 27-year-old Li Linlin, is teaching in Laos for the second time. After graduating with a bachelor's degree in Chinese international education from Anyang Normal University in Henan province in 2019, she spent a year teaching Chinese in Luang Prabang.

Last year, as she was about to complete her master's degree in Chinese minority languages and literature at Kunming University in Kunming, capital of Yunnan province, she decided to return to Luang Prabang.

The first time, she flew from Kunming to Luang Prabang. This time, she traveled by the China-Laos Railway.

Li recalls that, in 2019, few people in Laos spoke Chinese. In 2023, when she walked down the street, people greeted her with nihao, which means hello.

She's found that locals are eager to learn Chinese and she teaches students from diverse backgrounds — lawyers, nail technicians, masseuses, cafe owners and others.

"Some are in their 30s or 40s, supporting their families. Speaking Chinese can significantly boost their income, sometimes doubling it or more," she explains.

In addition to teaching Chinese, Li and the other teachers organize various activities to familiarize students with Chinese culture, including food festivals and riddle games.

"The school offers students plenty of chances to interact with people from China. They all want to communicate with Chinese people and to understand China better. They also hope to boost trade between China and Laos and bring back what they've learned," Li explains.

After the show aired, coinciding with the Water Festival in Laos, Li observed more Chinese tourists in Luang Prabang, with some visiting the Chinese language school.

April marks the first anniversary of the China-Laos Railway's international passenger train services connecting Kunming with Vientiane in just 9 hours and 26 minutes, making tickets high in demand.

Last year it served 700,000 passengers, significantly boosting tourism. Of these, about 180,000 passengers, hailing from 87 countries and regions, crossed the border on the railway, according to China State Railway Group.

Like Li, the show's guest team also traveled on the China-Laos Railway, starting from Mohan, Yunnan, and heading to Luang Prabang as their first stop.

Yang Chaoyu, a Chinese train attendant on the China-Laos Railway, noticed that Laotians often use bullet trains for travel, medical treatment and schooling.

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