I arrived in Vientiane shortly after 6pm and after I got my visa I was met by a pickup from the hotel. All arranged by Dudley, the South African guy I had met in Hanoi and who had told me to go to Cham Island.
When we had discovered in Hanoi that we both were heading to Laos eventually we discussed meeting up somewhere. In the end we traveled the country together.
So that first evening we went for the dinner at a steak restaurant. So no Laos food testing for me since Dudley is quite big on meat.
The next day we started with the sight-seeing and got first a lift downtown from the hotel. We were booked into Rashmi’s Plaza Hotel which had a rooftop pool but was a bit outside the center.
We started with a glance at the presidential palace (you are not allowed to visit it)
and then went first into the Sisaket museum. It was less a museum than a temple with a collection of Buddhas in all sizes. Please note that it was also smoke-free.
Next up should have been the Haw Pha Kaeo right across from it but due to elaborate renovations the temple was wrapped up like a sausage in a hot dog bun and we couldn’t see anything. Therefore we decided on walking to the Victory Gate which seemed to be only about one kilometer away. In this heat it wouldn’t have mattered if it had been only 500m away. We had to make a pit stop at a shopping mall along the way to cool down. Both of us were sweating profusely. Not really such a great show.
At least at the mall I could buy myself a SIM card for Laos and an ice coffee. Something the hotel with the rooftop pool couldn’t manage. After this short break we started walking again and really the Victory Gate was not that far off. It looked really great from afar, close up it was a bit of a let down. But since we were there we climbed up and took some pictures of the view from the top.
Yeah, it didn’t get any better in Vientiane. So far, so good though. Upon exciting the Victory Gate we took a tuk-tuk (Dudley needed a bit of coaxing to get in one) Pha That Luang, a golden stupa a bit out of the center.We made it there with 15 minutes to spare before lunch break. But it was enough to go inside and take some pictures.
There was not really so much to take pictures of. A stupa of course is a closed structure so there was just not more to see. Once outside we saw women selling little birds in cages (and I have no clue what kind of birds) and it was the perfect day to buy some of them their freedom.
Next to the stupa was a temple and a monument for some guy (again no clue who he was or what he had done and Lonely Planet doesn’t say).
After the successful visit to almost all the sights in Vientiane we went back downtown with the tuk-tuk.
We had arranged with the hotel that we would take the shuttle at 2pm back to the hotel so we were left with a bit of time on our hands and decided on lunch. Always a good idea to eat something. I ordered a lime mint juice and this is what I got.
Looks quite green, doesn’t it? I later ordered a strawberry mint juice, you really don’t want to know the color of that one.
We also ordered some real food which tasted very good, spicy though. It seemed as if almost everything I ordered on this trip was going to be spicy. So good that I got used to it from the first.
The rest of the day was spent in and around the pool. It was just too hot to do much else in the city and we had decided to leave the next day down south. Which was actually where I wanted to meet in the first place but due to a two day bus ride up from Siem Reap I opted for a meeting in Vientiane. Yours, Pollybert