The quietest capital city in the world!
Trip Start Sep 21, 2011
51Trip End Ongoing
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We walked out to our hotel, following the instructions from another Agoda user's review (which is lucky, as it's not the easiest place to find, and it's quite a trek from town)
The hotel was nice, and after we'd despatched the mutant cockroach from hell (which seemed to quite enjoy the electronic bug bat, and had to be finished off with a shoe!) we settled in.
Vientiane is a sleepy place, a capital city where everything closes on a Sunday. We had a look around the sights, and walked around a lot.
The next day we rented a motorbike to go out to the buddha park (Xieng Khuan), a bizarre collection of steel-reinforced concrete sculptures of characters from the hindu and buddhist religions. The focal points are a giant reclining buddha, and a massive concrete pumpkin! You enter the pumpkin through the mouth of a freaky head at the base, and inside you'll find three floors, representing hell, earth and heaven, with sculptures representing what you might find in each level. You can then climb out on to the roof, and enjoy the view. We had a wander around the rest of the park and then hopped back on the moto for the bumpy ride home.
Back in Vientiane, we got a puncture, so we pushed the bike back to the rental office (luckily only a couple of blocks) and we were very pleasantly surprised when the man said we could just swap it for another one, with no charge! I think we must still have been in Vietnam mode, because we were imagining big bills for tyre repair!
We headed back to the hotel on the new bike and had quite a good cheap tea
The next morning we were going to take a little ride before dropping the bike back. At the traffic lights a tuk-tuk driver started gesticulating at the bike and I noticed a puddle of petrol under the bike. I wheeled it over to the pavement and saw that it was just the carb overflowing. I tried belting it, and when that didn't fix it we decided to cut our losses and drop the bike straight back. We took the risk of riding the bike the couple of blocks back to the rental office, dumped it off and got the passport back before making ourselves scarce. John doesn't know why it is, but it's the second time a rented moto has done that to him!
On the way back to the hotel we stopped in to the market to have a look at the frogs and things and buy some bananas for the next day's bus ride to Luang Prabang. We also bought some sandwiches from the bakery and some crisps and water from the mini-mart. We were set!
One more night in the hotel, then an early morning pick-up to take us to the bus station, and we were off!