A quiet capital city
Trip Start Aug 27, 2011
99Trip End Jun 01, 2012
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The bus station is 11km from the city, so we jump into the largest tuk tuk I've ever seen and share the ride with 20 other people. As we are sat with the cab driver, I ask him to stop right outside our guesthouse. Pretty simple stuff.
Vientiane has an easy ambience. Nothing like I have seen of any capital city in the world. It was good to be away from the noisy kids in Vang Vieng and settle into a quieter city, with the traditional French themes of baguettes, crepes and French architecture.
We check into our mosquito ridden room and light a mosquito coil straight away!! We head out for food! We wander down a hostel road to the river and find the open airside riverview vendors near Wat Chanthabuli. I grab some fried pork and Dave waits ages for some fried noodles. We enjoy the atmosphere of the diners and nearby market! The city is quaint and relatively quiet.
We explore the night market before calling it a night.
Next day we were catching a night bus south so we enjoy our room till check out at noon. We grab lunch on the riverside at a very tasty Indian restaurant. Vegetarian delights with Nan bread.
We then explore the city and begin our own walking tour. We walk past the Presidential palace and north via Th LAN Xang road. Dave finds an apple vendor to get himself a charger and a better case for his itouch. His current one was rubbish! We head further north to Vientianes Arc de triumph, the Putuxai. We enter the Putuxai where there are three floors of gifts and books one can buy. The view from the top is pretty cool. We are feeling the heat! The sun is out and we are sweating like pigs with really bad sweat issues!!
Another 2km north east is the beautiful golden Phu That Luang. This is the most important national monument in Laos. It symbolizes both the Buddhist religion and Lao sovereignty. An image of the main stupa appears on the national seal.
We wander back towards the city centre, pass That Dam (Black Stupa) before we are asked a question by a Polish couple enjoying their late lunch. Pavel asked 'what is there to do in this city?', we tried to give them some ideas but gave up and sat down to join them for a couple of beers. His girlfriend was called Bianca and we chatted mainly about couchsurfing for two hours!! Great company, hope we bump into them again.
We grabbed some quick food and got ready for our bus. Sadly, it dawned on me that I no longer had my wind proof jacket. I left it on the bus. I guess, the only way to deal with the loss was to hope that someone who needs it is now using it. Just lucky that there was nothing in the pockets! Up until recently I was using it to store my passport. I don't need it day to day, it's just sometimes the night buses or night travel can be quite chilly.
We are picked up by a van and driven to our night bus. We meet a cool young British lad and I told him about helpx.com.
So our night bus, there are bunk beds, but we didn't realize to begin with that each one was for two people!! Just glad I was travelling with my brother! We slept head to toe on our way south overnight to Pakse to then connect to 4000 islands.
Next stop, Don Det on 4000 islands.