Vientaine... (dum duuuum di de dum)
Trip Start Feb 15, 2012
70Trip End Jul 12, 2012
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Where I stayed
Mixay Paradise Guesthouse
We had an early start from Hanoi guesthouse (6.30am) and made bid a slightly emotional goodbye to the lady on reception who had been a legend over the last week, helping us sort out our transport to and from Cat Ba, Halong Bay and Sapa. She sorted us out a taxi to the airport (some 40km outside of Hanoi) and we set of.
Airport was much bigger and more sophisticated than expected - I ignorantly thought it would be an airfield with a shed.. in fact it was the opposite. We flew with Vietnam Airlines on one of their 'Sky Team VN-A371' planes.. the plane was half empty and so clean - it felt like a really new aircraft. The flight took only an hour which I took to finish my book and fill in our Laos arrival cards - naturally, Joanne used it to sleep. On arrival in Laos airport we first had to 'obtain our visa on arrival'.. we got out our stash of passport size photos and filled in the docs. They have a price tariff stuck up which showed the visa prices for different nationalities.. very strange - ironically Canada had to pay the most to enter at $42. The US was $40 and UK was $35. I'm not sure quite how this pricing strategy works - maybe its to do with diplomatic stances...though I thought Canada was friends with everyone?
We collected our bags and went to get a taxi. All the taxi's at the airport are controlled by the government who enforce a flat rate of US$7 for anywhere you want to go in central Vientiane. We found some French people to share a cab with and set off to the guesthouse we had booked called 'Mixay Paradise Guesthouse'. On arrival we went to the room and had a nap. There are many funny signs on the walls around this guesthouse.. amongst many funny ones (which I will try and get photos of and upload) is one in the room that reads.. "for your own privacy please always keep the curtains closed!".
We spent the rest of the day pottering around the place getting lunch at one of the famous bakeries 'La Benetton' and perusing the evening market along the river front.