Many people would love to visit Laos.  But unless Laos cracks down on rampant ivory smuggling, do not go there and urge other travelers to avoid it as well. This story is only a most recent one.  Travelers who go to Laos, should not take elephant rides (the only way to train and control elephants is through torture and violence) and should not succumb to temptation and buy anything made of ivory. Importing even a small amount of ivory is illegal in many countries and could get a traveler in big trouble. Playing naive will not help.