Take Me To The River
Vientiane Travel Blog› entry 1 of 19 › view all entries
March 7th, 2008 – by: Riz7
After our previous success with Thai sleeper trains it seemed easily the best way to reach Laos from Bangkok, leaving at 9pm and scheduled to arrive at 9am. This time we were only 1 hour late (previous best overnight trip has been 2 hours late) which still gave us plenty of time to complete border formlaties and take a taxi for the final 20Km or so from the Friendship bridge across the Mekong into Ventiane.
We had not originally planned to come to Laos, but we have heard so many good stories about the country it definitely seemed like it was too good to miss. The Laos border formalities seem to be easing as were purchased our visa easily and quickly (you are meant to have a photo for the visa application but the officials seem relaxed if you didn't) and found that it is now valid for 30 days rather than the 15 days we had thought; it is worth paying for the visa in Kip or US$ though as the Baht exchange rate is not great.
The LP describes the country as laid back and intial impressions seemed to confirm this. Vientiane is a charming city with a distinctly French feel, both in the architecture and the cafe atmosphere serving French style dishes.
Vientiane is full of places to stay but is also busy with visitors so the guest houses near the centre seem to fill up quickly, particularly those with a travel guide recommendation under their belt. After trying a couple and finding them full, we take a room at the Saysouly guest house for 70,000 Kip; the room is basic but the location is great, the place has a rustic charm and a good balcony where you can sit out.
That evening we have a beer at one of the cafes overlooking the Mekong and then eat at supposedly one of Vientiane's best restuarants, Cote d'Azur; we are not disappointed and have a great meal washed down with French wine followed by French cheese - this is the life!
The next day we take a quick tour of the city.
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