bo pen nyang...

laos01Bo pen nyang means; never mind, it's OK, don't worry, similar to the Thai expression, mai ben-rai (see Thailand).

The Lao language (same group as Thai and Khmer) doesn't have the 's' sound, so the country (like the language and the people) is pronounced Lao'.

Lao government tourist office guidelines on local etiquette include:

'It is considered bad taste to publicly criticize a person since it results in a loss of face within the community.

Necessary criticisms and suggestions should be made within a general context to avoid placing blame or shame on any individual.

Showing anger or disappointment in public is inappropriate.

Men and women rarely show affection in public. It is forbidden for a woman to touch a Buddhist monk.

To pass in front of someone or between two people, one asks permission and bows until slightly past.