Posted by: James Shannon | August 11, 2011

Farewell Vang Vieng, Hello Vientiane!

After documenting the mayhem that was tubing, it was time to pull up stakes and hit the road once again.  I made plans to head out to the Vang Vieng bus station the following morning.

Destination: the captial, Vientiane.

But first, let’s get back to the guesthouse for some rest, shall we?

 Pails of rice lie out in a roadside shop, ready to be sold

Apparently you need to shield melons from the sun, lest they spoil

The following morning, I ordered banana pancakes for breakfast before shoving off … those Laotians have such a wry sense of humour 😛

Buying a drink from roadside vendors in the bus, on the way to Vientiane.  Regretted it soon after though, as my bladder nearly exploded by the time we pulled into the city (there were no bathroom breaks on the four hour journey!)

The next morning, I emerged from my guesthouse room near the Mekong River in Downtown Vientiane, and wandered the streets of Laos’ capital city…

Along the riverbanks of the Mekong River lies classic communist architecture … sweeping plazas that stretch far into the distance.  Powerful, and somehow pathetic (in a way) at the same time…

A statue of a former king of Laos attempting to intimidate me at the riverfront park in Vientiane

The presidential palace … sick pad in one of the poorest nations on Earth

A cute moment … a Laotian kid demonstrates a body-weight workout machine in a park in downtown Vientiane

To all those doubters out there — screw you!  1,000,000 kip … I’m rich biatch! 😛 (note: 1,000,000 kip is equal to $133 CDN) 😛

Reason #211312093 why I miss SE Asia … draft taps in convenience stores!  (6500 kip = $0.80 CDN beer … hell yeah!)

In spite of the dramatic differences between Laos and the western world, some things are the same everywhere … dog tired workers wait for a city bus to take them home after a long, hard day on the job

One of the relics of being previously ruled by the French is the availability of amazing French food for cheap.  Here, I had a three-course lunch (soup, sirloin beef stew and the silkiest chocolate mousse I’ve ever had) for 85,000 kip ($10 CDN).  My only regret is that I didn’t take a photo of my meal (owner was hanging out front)

 On the last evening of my stay in the capital, an unusual sight appeared in the hot, humid sky: rainclouds!  Harkening the end of the dry season, and the entrance of the hot season, a transitory period between the drought-like conditions of the dry season, and the monsoonal downpours of the wet season, was just beginning.

With my brief time in the sleepy city over with, it was time to venture in the south of the country … Tha Khek and Pakse were next up on my whirlwind tour of Laos!




  1. shame you have to leave

    • yeah, shoulda definitely went down the river one last time!

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