Reached Vientiane at around 10 local time. Took taxi to the city because we could not find a tuk tuk and the taxi man took us to the wrong place. Some more, he asked for more money to take us to our location! Luckily the hotel people there were nice enough to give us a map and show us the way to walk there.
We walked the rest of the way and saw some sights. The weather was cool and so it was all good!
Had some pancakes for brunch because we were hungry and excited to try some new food. The shop is called The Real Lao Cafe and Sushi. It was fluffy and nice. If only they gave more butter or maple syrup.
Sidney had an egg baguette which tasted weird. They ketchup-ed the whole plate. So weird!
Walked and checked in our hostel. It is called the Vientiane Backpackers Hostel. The place was nice. Filled with backpackers, duh. The beds were okay. They are hard as hell -_- they had lockers at the bottom of the bed which was really nice as everyone had their own space. Unlike the one Elaine, Sher and I went to, where everyone just threw their smelly bags one side.
We explored the town on foot and ate croissants. We had 3 from 3 different shops and found the best. The most crusty and yums croissants were at Le Benetton Bakery on the same road as the hostel.
Went to the night market along the Mekong River where they sold crafts, souvenirs and crepes. The Mekong River here is actually the border to Thailand. Apparently, after 11.30, they will monitor the place closely and catch whoever who does naughty things out there, like doing drugs and weed and what not. Plain clothes police men will come and saman you!
We then ate at this place called Ray’s Grille. Ray is this guy who lived in Thailand for 25 years and moved to Laos 3 years ago.
He cooked Philly Cheese Steak on baguette and we had Lao Beer. It was so good, especially the fries and aioli! Definitely recommended place to go at Vientiane. After the awesome meal, we had some steamed vege and fruits, which was so bloody simple and good! We needed that fiber to go berak.
We went back to the hostel after that to sleep! It was a tiring day.
Woke up at 8, when we were supposed to wake up at 7.30. Rushed to wash up and had some brekkie at the hostel.
You can add 10,000 kip for some eggs with your free breakfast here
It was a rainy morning. Super cold!
(It was Wednesday, not Thursday :P)
Waited for the van to take us to our supposed VIP bus which was supposed to come at 9. We paid 40,000 kip for a ticket to Vang Vieng. A tuktuk took us to a location where we were supposed to board the bus. When we saw the bus, it was actually a bloody mini bus -_- They had our luggage tied up on the top of the bus. So duped by the people -_- We were praying that our luggage doesn’t fall off! Seriously -_-
In the bus, it is filled with rowdy backpackers. Sidney and I were separated cos there are no more seats together The party people – so bloody noisy. They are Vang Vieng vaterans apparently.
So, the mini bus we took was a dupe. It just took us to the larger bus station where we are now sitting in a normal bus phew.
Bags are safely in the bottom compartment. I’m also sitting beside Sidney now! Yay!!!
So halfway through the ride, our bus suddenly stopped and a whole road of cars were ahead of us.
We were like in the middle of nowhere! There were some stalls at that area and a really run down toilet.
We were at some hill and it was super cold! 😀 See the clouds?
Apparently there was a landslide and there were some rubble on the road and cars could not get through. A bus also tipped over. Poor thing!
So we were here for like half an hour. Some clever ang mohs wanted to walk all the way there. SO CLEVER! It was about an hour drive to reach our destination. Wanna walk down konon pft. Then when we were finally moving again, we picked them up again -_-
We were waiting again, cos the road was jammed and some locals were going up the hill to take a leak. So many of them, they all decided to pee and shit at the same time. There we were so many of us, watching all of them pee.
In the bus, there was like this girl, she’s like from America. She was like telling a story like to this other guy and while they were talking, they were like having a conversation and like, she mentioned “like” for about like 50 times! Like what???!
We finally reached at the Vang Vieng bus station at about 4. Got a free ride from a Hotel tuk tuk that was trying to sell their hotels to us. Thanks to them, we didn’t have to walk a few miles to get to our hostel.
I had earlier shortlisted a few guesthouses that were decent and affordable from Trip Advisor.
We walked to the first one: Mesah View Guest House and decided to stay 2 nights here. It was okay. Clean. The owner looked like a really nice guy, so we stayed! We will decide later if we wanna go back or stay here longer. Decided not to go to Luang Prabang as it is another 6 hour bus ride! Zzzzz. This place is around $10 a night!
We walked around the town for a bit looking for some late lunch. Went to this Ausie Bar and had some burger and pizza.
Walked around a bit and saw some sights:
Caption: “Lao people pay extra attention to be properly dressed. Please respect them and their effort and follow their example”
Met this dude in another hotel. He is Singaporean, his dad opened up a hotel here and he’s here helping out.
Came back to the hotel to snooze after that.
It is so bloody cold here. Guess coz it rained heavily that day. We were under sheets without fan or aircond. The weather was around 23 degrees.
After snoozing, we went for dinner in a French restaurant called Cafe De La Paris. Had beef bourguignon for the first time. It was gooood! We also ordered Stuffed Mushrooms and some sandwich.
Went walking around the town for a bit. Saw the rowdy drinking people at a bar called Lalaland. Went to sleep after that!
We woke up quite late. Lol. Tired mah! We went to the schema Vang Vieng kinda restaurant and did nothing!
They were playing reruns of Friends. Apparently a lot of people do nothing at Vang Vieng. It is one of the top things to do in Vang Vieng. LOL.
We tried Larb for the first time. It is a spicy minced meat with herbs. We can eat these with sticky rice or normal rice.
We went Tubing after that.
We registered at the tubing centre and paid our cash. Tubing Cost 55,000 kip and we need to pay 60,000 kip as a deposit for the tube. If you don’t return the tube by 6pm, you get back 40,000 kip only. The cut off time is 8pm, anything after that, you don’t get the money at all!
We sat on a tuk tuk to get us to the start point of the river. People were buying like 6packs of beer Lao to tube! It was supposed to be more “happening” with bars along the river and you get free shots each time you go to a bar. But sadly, the government shut down these bars because many people died while being stupid drunks and jumping into the river -_- It was super hot! Got bored after a while! Lol.
A kid pulled us up towards the end of the river and asked us for tips -_- we gave him 10,000 kip. We didn’t ask him to help us out, but he suddenly came and pushed us. It was so odd because he spoke no English except for “tips?”.
Dinner was pancakes. The so called pancakes stalls were everywhere, so we decided go try it. We ordered omelett, bacon and cheese. “pancakes” were actually roti canai! Just that they are crispier and had loads of butter!
I went back to sleep till next morning. Sidney said he starved because I didn’t wake up -_- drama!
Woke up from the super long sleep at 5am. Walked out coz I had a massive headache and flu. Went to find some water to eat my flu meds. Found a hotel, Silver Naga Hotel, that served us some water because all the shops were closed. Took the flu meds and slept again till 9am.
Woke up, checked out and went to Silver Naga hotel because we fly like a G6. We Yolo-ed and checked in to Silver
Naga hotel. Price was steep, but hey, we only live once eh?
Went for brekkie after that. We were looking for this bakery, that apparently is popular. Couldn’t find, in the end we ate at one of the typical Vang Vieng restaurants showing Southpark!
We ordered an American breakfast and it was really a lot! They give baguettes with every thing here. Lol.
Super stuffed, we leeched on their WiFi and finally found the bakery.
Its called the Luang Prabang Bakery. The stuff looks meh. Not all that. The cakes were supposed to be nice, but they were so-so. Not the best
We walked pass the tuk tuks and asked them how much to get us to the Blue Lagoon, they quoted about 150,000kip! That’s a lot of munneh for just the both of us. So we walked along and went to ask to rent a bike. We paid 80,000kip for a days worth of rent. Half the price!!
Took the bike to fill petrol. Paid about 25,000kip for that. The petrol was actually pink in colour! So weird!
After filling up petrol, our bike could not start!! The horror! So afraid we need to pay a fee for repairs. We lugged the bike all the way back to the bike rental. Luckily it was only like a 5 minutes walk, maybe 10 with the bike. We had to push the huge automatic motor -_- ok maybe Sidney pushed, I walked. We changed the bike for another one, which had some kinda problem too, but it was way better than the previous one. Thank God nothing happened on the way there!
Took it off to Blue Lagoon. Missed a turn and drove into some kinda kampung area! Lol. After many turns and looking at maps, we finally found that road. Passed a bridge that had a toll. It is a wooden bridge that looked like it was built in the 80s. Lol. I think we paid 10,000kip for that. Even pedestrians had to pay a fee to use the bridge.
Rode pass many chickens, ducks and cows along the way.
The road to the Blue Lagoon were cobbled and super bumpy. My bum was so pain after that. We passed by nice scenery of the mountains and paddy fields. Many people rode bicycles here too. If you are coming in a group, maybe its better to hire a tuk tuk. Guess you can share if there are a lot of you.
Reached the blue lagoon after what seemed like forever. We had to pay an extra 20,000 kip per person to enter the blue lagoon -_- such a rip off! Haha well I guess they use it to maintain the place. Hopefully! The blue lagoon was just as predicted!
So pretty and looks like a postcard!
The best part was, there was a dog swimming in the lagoon! He was so excited to swim and got even more excited when someone was diving in. It was as if he wanted to dive in too. Such a cutie.
We contemplated hard whether or not to go in. The water was deep you see and Sidney can’t swim. I could swim, but I lack confidence Scared to die. Not Yolo enough to do it. Figured we’d come again lol! Its quite nearby, it could happen!
We just watched the people swim and went to explore the cave.
So hard to climb the staircase and rocks okay! Haha. We wore slippers -_- it was nothing much. I’m not much of a stone expert. They all looked like stone and rocks to me.
After that we rode back to the town. Hungry, so we looked for some food. We settled for this Thai lao place that was overlooking the Nam Song river. It is called The Terrace. We had some Som Tam, deep fried garlic pork ribs, veges, some satays – which essentially Is pork chops! It was quite tough. The rest of the things were good.
We drove through the town since we had some petrol left and returned the bike after that meal. Luckily we didn’t have to pay for the first bike’s mishap!
We went back to our snazzy hotel and wanted to go for a swim. It was 6pm. It was also freaking cold! Hahhaa. So I just dipped my feet in it! So fail la I tell you. Went to shower after that and left for dinner.
Sidney wanted to try “happy pizza” but we are so not the type, so we weren’t offered any happiness. Lol. Just had regular pizza and some usual food.
Went back to the hotel and slept straightaway!
Woke up and enjoyed the hotel’s facilities. It was our last day at Vang Vieng. Ate our buffet breakfast and went for a swim.
So we wanted to swim as soon as possible, but it was 10am and was freaking cold!! Fail x2. We just basked in the sun on the deck and waited for the sun. Finally took a dip and swam for a bit at about 11am. Realized it was 12 and went for a quick shower.
We checked out and waited at the lobby for out bus back to Vientiane. Someone came to visit us while we waited for our TukTuk to the bus station.
the lady at the bus station looked so stern. There was more of System here. The lady assigned bus numbers to each ticket holder so that we all got seats!
Being so kiasu, Sidney and i came up with a plan where he would go chup seats while I settle the bags. If we didn’t do this, we would be, one, separated, two, get to be the bus conductor! Hahha. Some girl came late and had to seat there. So there, if you are traveling in a pair, use this method! It works! The next few hours consists of us snoozing in the bus and stopping for breaks.
We reached Vientiane at about 6ish. Took a shower and went out to eat.
We ate at this place called Katenoy. Owner says: No fresh, No delicious, No paid! Hahaha! We ordered some Lao style grilled fish with vegetables, rice salad and Tom yum.
It had massive serving and we had a tough time finishing it! Hahaha! We have to make our own wraps by putting the items into a leafy vege and eat it.
Went out to walk about the night market and bought some goodies. Our favorite past time. Sidney so wanted this Lao style Whisky. It looks so gross with snakes and scorpions in it.
Took a shower after that and slept soon after.
Last day in Vientiane! We rented a tuk tuk for the whole day. It costed us a lot, but we wanted to go somewhere out of the city, so that’s why it is a little bit mahals! We paid 400,000kip for the day trip.
The first stop was located like an hour away from the city. We had to sit on a 3 wheeler tuk tuk to get there and the guy was driving so slow! The road was so dusty and bumpy. Half of the way, the roads were not even tarred. So imagine the ride there -_-
Buddha Park. The place was built by a monk who was trying to pay homage to the Buddhist and Hindu gods. So he erected many massive statues in the park. They also have one in Thailand. He died shortly after that and no one took care of the statues, now they look like ruins.
We walked up this thing. So freaky, no railings! LOL
That Luang Stupa. This is a famous landmark in Laos. They have this building plastered all over calendars, gifts and sorts. When we reached there, the place was closed for lunch. Super crappy because it was scorching HOT!
We had a coconut ice cream and ate our croissants that we tapau-ed from our favourite bakery.
You have to pay to get in here also of course! The pagoda is actually made out of gold and Buddhist go there to pray I guess, because there was nothing in there -_-
Patuxay Monument. This monument looks like one of the French monuments. It is basically like a Victory Monument. We just took photos there.
Talat Sao Morning Market. A market/mall/pasar that sold everything and anything you can imagine. From stationaries, to Lao Gold, to handphone accessories. Most of the stuff are probably from Thailand!
We just had lunch there -_-
COPE Centre. Visited the bomb museum/ health centre for rehab. The Cope Centre is a place where they rehabilitate victims of the bomb attacks and remnants that the war left. Bloody Americans!
During the Vietnam war, they dropped bombies (a type of explosive) all over Laos and vietnam and left it there. So these bombs were actually not activated and still active till now! Many locals have been injured just by walking out of their house. The side effects of the UXO (type of explosives) has affected newborn babies leaving them with no limbs Bloody Americans I tell you. Each area in Laos have to be cleared of UXO and other landmines before anyone can step foot in there. A committee will go around with a metal detector to look for potential bombs and mark it so that another team can come and blow it off!
The metal scraps from the bombs are quite commonly used in Lao society. Some people use it as fences, cooking apparatus and some make bangles to sell with the metal. Super sad eh? I never knew this about Laos (so ignorant!) haha. But now I know. Still, bloody Americans so bad right? Simply bomb innocent areas. Lol.
Wat Si Muang. Went to another wat before we finished our thing. No photos here.
Went for a massage after that long day. It was alright for me. The lady was not strong enough. She was so soft, not syok at all -_-
Had some True Coffee after that. This coffee joint is like their Starbucks! They had nice comfy chairs, takeaway cups with sleeves, the works! Had a caffe mocha there. Not bad, I’ve tasted better.
We were trying to do a whole Lotta Vientiane in the last few hours we were there. After coffee, we walked around the area to visit the other side of the town. We went to this place where there was a fountain and many restaurants around it. Looked pretty and probably a good place to chill.
We saw a Scandanavian bakery and went to try some goodies.
Wanted to have Samla, but they were only selling those on certain days, so we ended up buying Vacuum Cleaner. Lol what funny name right?
It is essentially cake covered in chocolate and apparently it had some alcohol. But I could not taste the alcohol.
Next, we went back to Doung Duene Restaurant and had our fave steamed vegetables. We also ordered grilled pork Lao style and local Lao soup. The pork was pretty good. It was well marinated and super yums. As for the soup, it tasted much like Tom yam, only less sour. It is a clear soup with almost the same ingredients that a Tom yum has.
After that, we went to the night market again to buy some more goodies. Bought some bags and souvenirs for the family. It was 9.30 when we realized, dang, we need to hit 2 more places! Haha!
Went to a sushi place, but we were too late. It was closed by then. So we headed to Ray’s Grille again and asked him to cook us something, he was also about to close, but he layan us as we told him its our last night here.
We had a pork chop with salad and fries. They were good, especially the fries with aioli
Sidney wanted to try the Lao Lao (Lao Whisky). He was eyeing it since day 1. It is actually quite gross as they had scorpions and snakes in the bottle. Gag. We went to a drinking place to have a shot of it. It smelt like whisky and tastes like one, according to Sidney. Lol. I had a mojito.
Spent less than an hour there and headed back to the hostel.
At night, most of the shops are basically closed. There is a curfew still at observed at Vientiane. Plain clothes policemen will be lurking around looking for people. So best to stay off the streets after 12. there were many call girls on the streets too at night. We went back, packed, took a shower and slept! Could not believe our 1 week holiday ended so fast
We had saved up some kips for an extravagant breakfast at our favourite bakery! We woke up extra early to go get some awesome breakfast.
I had the brunch set with croissants and tartines. Sidney had a tuna and egg sandwich. It was a nice breakfast. We also tapao-ed 5 croissants to eat at home! Hahhaa
Took a cab to the airport and then here I am in the flight finishing this blog post. I should do this more often. Writing on the go so I can actually put up a blog post as soon as I touch down!
The airport personnel are kinda anal here. So don’t overpack or bring any liquids! They took our leftover shampoo and soap -_-”
Overall, I think we did good in terms of budget. Lol. We budgeted $300usd each and spent it wisely. Most of our money went to a lot of food and the last day city tour. We have some spare USDs left. It is possible to live on like $50usd a day, if you don’t eat lavishly like we did and stay cheap in $5-$10 rooms. Haha! One thing to note is most more establish places accept USD and Baht aside from Kips. Of course the exchange would be not on your favour, but sometimes it is just more convenient to pay in USD. Laos has a lot of French influence from the past and many French come here to visit. You can also find a lot of French restaurants and stuff here.
The Nokia Lumia has been a great companion this trip. Took many photos with it, because it was just easier -_- Guess all the photos here are from the Lumia. hehe
After this, my life is gonna change as we know it. LOL. This holiday with Sidney was good. Imma miss him loads, but I’ve gotta make some munneh. LOL.