Lovely Laos - Vientiane

Trip Start Aug 14, 2012
1
16
103
Trip End Ongoing


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Where I stayed

Flag of Lao Peoples Dem Rep  , Vientiane Prefecture,
Thursday, October 11, 2012

We got dropped off in the city centre and found our way to the guesthouse area with a couple of French guys from the tuk tuk. Another backpacker recommended his hotel as it was cheap, but we saw why when we looked at one of the rooms. We decided to leave it and go next door, where the service was better, and the hotel was newer and cleaner. We got air con and an en suite for 7:80 a night! We were starving from our eighteen hour door to door journey from Bangkok, in which we hadn't eaten, and headed to a bakery with lovely baguettes (Laos was a French colony which still influences the cuisine and architecture in Vientiane). After freshening up from our long journey we went for a walk around the small, quiet city. We also found out how bloody hot it was here, a similar heat to Varanasi. We walked along the Mekong river for a bit before heading off to find somewhere to eat.

The next day we woke up very late due to our travelling the day before. After breakfast we walked in the sweltering heat to a monument known as the Arc de Triomphe (built after freedom from the French, using concrete donated by the USA for a runway). It was a very impressive sight although its unfinished (due to Laos' turbulent and violent past) and parts of it looked as such. The views from the top were awesome. After this we headed to Vientiane's largest shopping mall/market where you could buy anything from a fridge to a gold bracelet (there was a whole floor of gold jewellery shops). The air-con was such a relief from the intense heat and humidity. It was too late to do any more sight seeing, looking for a snack, we managed to find a restaurant selling humous and pitta bread! We went back to our hotel and used our free tea and cake voucher and felt a bit piggish! We got ready for dinner and headed for a wine bar where it was happy hour, so we indulged in a glass of Aussie wine - yum.

The next day we got up early and hired bicycles ( less than 1) to finish exploring the city. We went to Wat Sisaket which was near the presidential palace, it was similar to a few temples we had visited in Bangkok and we started to realise that once you had seen one temple, you had seen them all! Afterwards we cycled to Pha That Luang (Golden Temple) although it was mostly flat on the 4km journey, Nozza was not in the best of moods because of the heat (and perhaps the lack of exercise in the last six weeks). The Wat wasn't very impressive but the surrounding garden and monasteries were. We headed back to our hotel for more free tea and cake and then went to the local pool to cool off. While we were in Vientiane, we got our visa for Vietnam and also booked our bus to Vang Vieng, where we headed to the next morning.
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