Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Recoup in the Capital

Vientiane Temple Riverside Temple
Climbing onboard yet another bus, it was time to leave Vang Vieng and chug it to the capital city, Vientiane. We jumped on the VIP bus for only 40,000 kip. I bet you're thinking 'how fancy, VIP!' Take my word for it, there is no VIP in Laos. VIP means at you get at least half a seat to perch on, perhaps an open window and maybe, if you're lucky, a bathroom stop. But VIP or not there's no stopping me drifting off. BEX FYI: Get your sleep while you can.  

When we reached Vientiane we had expected a whole lot of commotion and hubble, just like Bangkok, and the noise and shenanigans, just like Vang Vieng. Instead we arrived to a land where you could easily believe a mass exodus had take place and we had missed the memo. 

The streets were eerily quiet but lined with flowers and regal, white buildings. There were quaint restaurants and, as usual, the rows of travel agents, but in general it was totally serene , like an exotic garden meant only for observing and not for playing. Vientiane was a welcome site for a bit of recuperation after Vang Vieng’s wild ways.

Myself, Jenna and our new travel buds- so popular thank you very much- we settled ourselves in a central hotel. I know, I know, what happened to the hostels. Well after a few hours of wandering we found zero and almost every hotel we came across was full. While I would always encourage a 'just turn up approach,' in Vientiane apparently that doesn't seem to work.  

Now on more civilised ground, we stripped off the Beer Laos t-shirts that just didn't seem to cut Vientiane trend, and got out the maxi dresses. They'd been dying to make an appearance and Vientiane was certainly the most classiest place we'd hit so far... 

We heard people grumble that the city was a little too quiet with not enough of that required backpacker action. I agree that were no death slides or wild parties, but as an oldie at heart I was up for a few days of pretty walks, long lies and the odd museum. 

The History Museum topped the list and provided a bit of culture to our Laos expedition. The trip so far had mostly consisted of exploring the nightlife and wild activities. Our culture vulture heads had been somewhat abandoned so this was the perfect opportunity to put them back on and learn about Laos.

That's not to say that we didn't explore the nightlife too...well it would be rude not to. We sampled some of the finest street cuisine and slurped on the sweetest riverside smoothies. It was here that locals recommended a bar that 'we just had to go to...'

Hello Samlan, our Vientiane top hotspot. 

By this point in the trip myself and Jenna had become accustomed to the odd stares and open pointing, but in Samlan it wasn’t us attracting the looks. Girls surrounded our table and threw themselves at our male companions. Jenna and I were left to shake our stuff in peace while the boys had trouble shirking off the over-enthusiastic Laos ladies. It was only a little while later that we realised the nature of Samlan. Yep, most males here were looking for a bit of Laotian loving and we had failed to realise. This gave Jenna and I a few giggles but the boys not so much.

In Vientiane of course there are the usual temples and monuments to also see that sparkle and shine. We wandered around each and posed for some Mulan-esq photos. But really that is what Vientiane is all about- having a wander and soaking up the culture.Vientiane was a pretty haven and the perfect stepping stone before we hit the next wild zone.

No comments:

Post a Comment