Capital City of Laos
Vientiane Travel Blog› entry 14 of 26 › view all entries
I arrived here yesterday afternoon after a lovely VIP airconditioned bus 3 hours from Vang Vieng. Unfortunately there's not much budget accomodation in the city so I opted for one of the first I came across recommended by Lonely Planet (decided i don't think that is generall wise) and it was gross....well not nice after the 30 000Kip room in Vang Vieng with water and onsuite and clean sheets. This one also had window looking on to a brick wall and a air con generator going...not good when you're not feeling great either. Just moved to Saysouly Guest House round the corner and it's like a palace in comparrison.
Last Thursday I spent the day walking round trying to capture Luang Prabang on camera (none of the photos look as good as it does in real life)...and then I went to th Royal Palace Museum, which i was impressed with...murals on wall of Kings former reception room....red background, with shiny metals used to draw the people etc...very elaborate. There was a photography exhibition downstairs under the building so i took a look at that...seemed to be mainly French photographers? Some of England ah....
In the evening I went to L'etranger book cafe (recommended in the Lonely Planet, the other 2 places that show films had closed down/stopepd showing)...downstairs a bookshop upstairs a film room...where they were showing Perfume..stayed for a while and had a Lime and Coconut shake.
Friday i got a tuk tuk to the southern bus station (prices much inflated from what's stated in the LP)...went on tuk tuk that had the bike at the side and the passenger sits body forward into the road, felt pretty dangerous, hung on with both hands! Found that the 10.30am bus was not leaving as broken down so had a 3 hour wait to the next...going to Vang Vieng. Got caught out signing along to Ronan Keating, which was playing through the bus station speakers by Aaron, American from San Fran...very embarrassing! Crammed into bus, with plastic chairs passed along to fill up the aisle with Laos people...3 motorbikes strapped to the roof along with massive sacks of rice and other things piled high! No wonder the buses break down so frequently in Laos!! Was worried the breaks weren't going to work. A 7 hour trip...through very windy/hilly terrain and loud speaker blaring out the usual terrible laos/thai music! Was very glad when that trip was over. Tagged onto Aaron and travelling partner Anna (from Sommerset)...walked across gravel strip to main hub...where went to Sivixang Guest house. As we walked along the main high street, we noticed that it was true...nearly every bar has lounge type beds and fallangs glued to a Friends episode (maybe Simpsons).
Next day Aaron, Anna and myself (also bumped into alex again for the 3rd time!!!) met to have some breakfast and find out how to get involved with this thing called tubing. What you do is rent a tube for 50 000kip, get dropped off at a point on the river, get in you rubber ring and float down stream, whilst floating over to the numerous bars either side of the river along the way. You have to see it to believe it!!!! Got out at the firtst bar, where you pile your rings high and had a beer, music blaring out and watched the first 'swing'of the day, which was a zip line and people doing a flip at the end after being catapulted off! Then on to the next bar...which had a literal swing, a metal bar you hung onto...didn't do that one, but had a bucket and sat in the sun, then back on my ring to the next bar...this time i did the swing, but i'm really not sure it was a good idea...soo high...and apparently my jump was embarrassing as i screamed a bit and then sort of jumped at the lowest point...but fell on my back and wacked my head on the water (think i had whip lash for 3 days after)!! We got caught up at that bar, even though i think there were another 10 along the way...and then the sun just went behind the mountains so sunddenly cold...we got back on the water...and then out a bit further as v cold - got a tuk tuk back to the main centre. Short break and then out for a burger and some more buckets...managed to find the Smile bar even though off the main thoroughfair...walking across a dodgy wooden bridge to it, but could hear it when near, and of course where all the english were... amongst the trees and drunk....they turned the music off dead at 11pm
Sunday woke with a killer hangover...managed to have lunch around 2...where a laos guy with long black hair called Jackie (he did look like Jackie Chan as well) chatted and offered to take me to see the caves around Vang Vieng...went out for a couple of hours...i think to the Tham Phu Kham cave, going across a number of bridges, and getting excellent views of the vast mountainous scenery along the way. Walked up killer steep steps up to the cave, which was massive! Could go further in but really need a guide and someone with a tourch, back down and sat on a pagoda for a while by the river and then home.
Monday, met up with Alex and bought him breakfast (he won a bet the night before, and it was his 21st birthday) and then relaxed all day sitting around by the river and then going for a Lao herbal oil massage - so much more relaxing and less painful than a Thai one!. Tuesday - i was ill so slept nearly all day, just managing to get out an get some water and then on Wednesday got up and made my way to Vientiene.