Vientiane – March 2011
After spending a few days in the Bolaven Plateau we travelled to the capital Vientiane. This time after our hideous bus ride to Don Det we were a bit more savvy about our overnight sleeper bus and organised with a local and trusted tour agent for a sleeper bus with actual beds. Although it wasn’t anything fancy it was the hilton compared to the previous bus ride, and actually quite fun this time as we stopped at a few road side restaurants and ate delicious food. We arrived in Vientiane at around six am the next morning, and contrary to the description in the lonely planet that it was still a relatively undeveloped we found a beautiful cosmopolitan city.
After grabbing some delicious Laos-French style breakfast we jumped on the internet and found the cutest hotel I have stayed at in all of SEA hotel Khamvongsa. Unfortunately we could only stay there one night as it was booked out for the remainder of the time we were there but it was a cute hotel in a great area.
Vientiane is a beautifully modern city intertwined with the rich Laos culture. My favourite part was hiring a bike and cycling around the gorgeous city, and visiting a traditional herbal steam sauna.
This KL/Cambodia/Laos trip was my first experience with SEA and I finally understood the obsession with the area. I think I had been put of visiting for so long because the image I had was of full moon parties and bucket cocktails, and you can get that but there is an alternative.
One of the most interesting parts of SEA is that it offers you so many possibilities and never stops you from doing things, which is good and bad. Unfortunately people can push their limits and do stupid things and get in to trouble or at worst killed. But if you approach it in a safe and respectful way you can have the time of your life.