Wednesday, 12 December 2012

All about Vientiane, Laos

This post is about:
Laos Visa, where to stay in Vientiane, sightseeing Vientiane, Cope Centre, Buddha Park, etc.

Old Stupa in Vientiane
It was time yet again for another visa run for us and because Air Asia had a good offer on, we decided to go to Vientiane, Capital City of Laos. On arrival visa is pretty easy, all you need is 1 passport picture, two forms to fill out (one you get on the plane the other at the airport) and some US dollars. A German pays 30$ a British citizen 35$. Why the difference? No idea.

At the Mekong River in Vientiane
Bronze statute of a former king
After we had immigration behind us we shared a taxi to the centre of town which cost us 7$, which is the normal price and as we had not booked any hotel in advance we went on the search which turned out much more difficult than expected. Vientiane is by no means
a sleepy communist town with only backpackers visiting, instead there were so many tourists which we did not expect. Due to this fact the hotels were either cheap and dirty. full, or fairly expensive maybe not for European standards but definitely for asia.

Traffic jam all day in Vientiane
We decided on the Mali Namphu for 300.000kip a night, as it had a lovely court yard and was right in the city centre. After 3 nights we moved and stayed in the Mixok guest house for 130.000kip, room was small but not too bad considering it was less then half the price of Mali Namphu.

Court yard at Mali Namphu Hotel
Entertainment at the fountain in the centre of town
If you travel in season to Vientiane it might be an idea to pre book a hotel and if it is only for the first few days and then look around whilst there.
Sights in Vientiane are quite rare, mainly the morning and night market, That Luang stupa (biggest in Laos) buddha park
ca. 25 km outside of Vientiane and the Cope Centre where you can see the problems cluster bombs still cause in this country. Apart from that, there is not much else, but the fact you are at the Mekong river is quite something, and if you want to eat western food, this is the place to be.

That Luang
At the morning market
All different herbs and a tree to rest
Statues are made from bomb shells (Mother and Child)
We hired a motor bike to get to the Buddha park which turned out to be a very dusty adventure. About 15km outside of Vientiane, the road turned into a dirt track and every time a car or anything bigger passed we had problems breathing or seeing (watch video below)

video

Everything is covered in dust
The park itself was ok, but after half an hour you`ve seen it all. Many, many statutes of buddhas.

Fiona having a rest after the dusty ride
Ahem...must be art

Impressive
We decided, despite the bad road, to carry on driving a little further down along the banks of the Mekong, which was nice as all the people we met greeted really friendly and when we passed some women dancing with beers in their hand, waving to us we certainly felt like stopping. Good job we did not as I reckon we would have not made it home that night!!

We were covered in red dust
Let`s paaaarty
Along the Mekong river
All in all it was a very interesting trip, but my suggestion would be to use Vientiane as a stop over for 2 or 3 days and then move on and travel the country. This was what we had planned but due to a heavy cold unfortunately could not make it. Well, there is always a next time.

Click me for more photos of Vientiane

If you want to see more photos, click here or on the Buddha picture above.


3 comments:

  1. Please feel free to comment.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for the information given on your site. I will visit Laos next month, so this really helped my plans.

    ReplyDelete
  3. wonderful and impressive photos

    ReplyDelete

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