There's a swingin' town I know...

Vientiane Travel Blog

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The view from the top of Patuxai
A grim ride in a VIP minibus, wedged into the back row with four enormous Australians, brought me to Laos' little capital. Vientiane doesn't bustle like other south-east Asian cities of a similar size - it's bigger than Chiang Mai but the atmosphere is a world away. Compared to the rest of Laos, though, it bustles. Just a little bit. It has traffic and the odd prostitute and more than two ATMs - some of which even work. It's a city, not an overgrown village.

Found myself a bed in a sweaty dorm room on the top floor of the Mixay Guest House and didn't do much with the rest of the day. Ate pork laap for dinner in a wooden restaurant overlooking the Mekong, sluggish and barely visible over wide mud flats. Got bitten to shit by mosquitoes. Pondered where to go from here.
In the courtyard of Pha That Luang
We'll get to that. Returned to my dorm at half ten to find two of the room-mates were already asleep. Undressed in the dark and went to bed.

The next day was a fairly hot one - getting perilously close to a hundred degrees. Vientiane was one of those towns where I seemed to take forever to do anything, and the heat is as good an excuse as any. I'd see a 'sight' in the morning, spend two hours on lunch, see a 'sight' in the afternoon, go online, then have a very leisurely dinner. A beer or three, then an early night.

On the first day, then, I visited Patuxai: the Lao Arc de Triomphe, it says here, which sits at the end of a long, wide avenue that by Lao standards is almost grand. The sign at the bottom of the arch notes that it's not the most attractive construction: "like a monster of concrete," as they put it. The LP makes some condescending remark about how endearing honest the Lao are, innocent of first world concerns like marketing. Yeah: it's either that or it's a thinly-veiled communist dig at the pre-revolutionary goverment. Who can tell?

A bit further down the same road was Pha That Luang, a golden monument whose full name translates as World-Precious Sacred Stupa and whose picture graces the front of the LP. Coooool. Took a lot of photos. That was it for the day.
huibdos says:
A swinging little town I know,
Lies 15000 miles from here to go??
Posted on: Jul 20, 2009
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The view from the top of Patuxai
The view from the top of Patuxai
In the courtyard of Pha That Luang
In the courtyard of Pha That Luang
Tuk-tuk
Tuk-tuk
Pauxai, at the end of the street. …
Pauxai, at the end of the street.…
Pha That Luang, symbol of Lao nati…
Pha That Luang, symbol of Lao nat…
Ten minutes after leaving here, I …
Ten minutes after leaving here, I…
I like this photo, for some reason…
I like this photo, for some reaso…
Buddha
Buddha
Two Buddhas, and a fairly big spid…
Two Buddhas, and a fairly big spi…
A different Buddha
A different Buddha
Vientiane
photo by: skydiver