2 Days in Vientiane, Laos
After more than 7 years since last being in Laos, my wife and I decided to do a week-long trip from Vientiane to Luang Prabang. Flying into Vientiane gave me the chance to meet up with some old friends from my early days of working in Malaysia as a teacher trainer. You’d think that we’d be going out to eat some local food, but that’s not what happened. We ended up at Tyson’s Kitchen, a Laoatian-Canadian bar and restaurant located in the centre of town on Rue Francois Ngih. What an awesome place. Tyson is a genuinely friendly guy that knows how to chat up a table and make amazing recommendations. His father was also around and would regularly come over to check that everything was good. We actually ended up visiting the restaurant a couple times before we left to drive our rented motorbike to Vang Vieng.
We didn’t do too much in terms of tourism in Vientiane. We walked around town, checked out That Dam, one of the older stupas in the city. We also walked along the Mekong and saw the Chao Anouvong Statue and went to the Patuxay Monument, which kind of reminds me of a Laos version of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. It provides an amazing view of the city. On my previous trip to Vientiane I did visit Pha That Luang, which is the iconic golden temple of Vientiane. It only costs 5000 kip to enter, but visitors are not allowed to climb up the steps of the stupa. I also visited the Buddha Park in 2011, and really enjoyed taking pictures and spending time in this garden. It’s quite a distance from the centre, so it really helps if you have a motorbike or have hired a tuk tuk for the day.
Renting a motorbike is a great way to get around in Laos, as the main roads are in great condition, and compared to Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia, the drivers are quite good. We rented a Honda PCX 150cc scooter. I would have preferred to rent a bigger motorbike, but they cost USD $40 per day, and the PCX was only $15 per day. We drove to Vang Vieng in about 4 hours including stops. As it was the first day of Laos New Year, we did get a bit wet from people throwing water at us along the way. It was a wicked hot day, so the water was actually quite refreshing for us.