The Lao capital is my last stop before Myanmar. I won’t get to see the beautiful wild north this time, but I have plans for another trip in the future. The journey from Thakhek to Vientiane was rather uneventful: no delays, no lao pop music, no weird food on the bus. It was a “VIP” bus and had a crazy design. I arrived in the afternoon and checked into a cheap hostel.
So far everyone I’ve met have told me that Vientiane had nothing to offer, and that it was not worth spending any time there. I disagree. During my first evening I discovered another face of Laos: not the rural agricultural side, but a laid-back, cosmopolitan city with a ton of different restaurants, cafés, bars, and a huge night market.
The people here clearly have more money than in the places I had seen until now and they speak good english. Its colonial past is visible in the architecture, the presence of many French restaurants and cafés and advertisement in french. It’s even possible to get belgian beer, but be prepared to pay a parisian price for it!
I had a whole day to spend there (Thursday), my flight to Myanmar being on Friday. There were a few things I wanted to do. First thing in the morning, I headed to some temples. I was disappointed as they were not as beautiful as others I had seen before (but I was fine with that, I’ll get my temple fix in Myanmar for sure). After that I did the next thing on my list: a traditional Lao massage. My arms and shoulders were aching after three days of climbing and I came out of the saloon half stoned. Amusingly, a one hour massage is cheaper than a belgian beer here. I smiled at the idea remembering that back home a massage is something I would never treat myself to because of the cost, whereas beer… Speaking of western treats, I found a really nice café held by a Lao woman who speaks perfect french to hang out after the massage. Lunch was falafel, amazing! In the afternoon I visited the Lao national museum. It was very cheap but not very well laid out and a lot of translations were missing. But it’s worth seeing, as it covers the country’s history from prehistorical times to modern days, with a strong emphasis on the independence from the French and the war with the US.
For my last evening in Laos I shared drinks with some travellers I met at the hostel on the Mekong side. I’ll be flying to Myanmar later today (Friday 10th).
Bye bye Laos and khop chai lai lai!