Brief stop in Vientiane

Trip Start Jan 19, 2006
Trip End Jan 19, 2007

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Flag of Lao Peoples Dem Rep  ,
Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Sad to leave Siem Reap this morning for our flight and also to leave Sari who has been with us most of the time here. We pay him $55 for our 3 and a bit days here which is nothing but is a lot of money for Cambodians to earn (they earn approx $1 a day). We get our flight with Lao Airlines first thing which stops first at Pakse in the south of Lao and then Vientiane.

We were toing and froing about whether to spend time in Vientiane but the flight we got gives us about 3/4 hours here so we get a jumbo (a slightly larger tuk tuk) to the centre. It turns out that this is probably long enough! Although Vientiane is the capital of Lao it feels like a small town and is incredibly quiet. We first go to the Pha That Luang which is the national monument a large gold tower/religious symbol surrounded by temples which is reasonably impressive. Then onto Patuxia - Lao's version of the Arc De Triomphe which is half-finished but has some very impressive Asian-style carvings inside. We then walk down to the river for some lunch (where I have an extremely hot papaya salad), get out some money from the ATM (there are none in the rest of Lao just in Vientiane) and wander along the Mekong for a bit before we go back to the airport. It is very sedate and civilised here, poverty is less obvious and there are no beggars so far. Even the tuk tuk drivers barter with a smile on their face.

Then get onto a smaller propeller plane up to Luang Prabang.
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