Asia | South East Asia | Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Laos) | Mekong | Vientiane – a bridge
In Nong-Khai I crossed the Friendship Bridge by bus and entered Lao PDR. Together with a French traveller I took a taxi to Vientiane the capital city of Laos. Although this is a city it’s easy to explore it by bicycle. In my hotel I changed $100 and received a huge amount of banknotes, 420.000 kip. There is a big difference between Thailand and Laos. You notice immediately Laos is a poor country. It suffered a lot during the Vietnam war. It’s more like India because of the poverty but the atmosphere is very different, more relaxed, people don’t hassle you.
There are still a lot of French influences. You can eat salad Niçoise here, and drink French wine but the beggar who comes to your table is real Lao. At first I have the attitude I had in India. I tried to ignore the beggars there, I needed that attitude to survive. But here it’s different and I give them some Kip.
Since a few weeks the government allows the use of internet but there aren’t any email cafe’s yet. That’s alright, I want to leave the western world behind me. It’s just Laos and me now.
I went to the morning market and met a student who wanted to practice his English. It was nice talking to him. The market is a place where you can wander for hours. Behind the market is the bus station. I looked for the bus to Vang Vieng. There were two different timetables, with two different departure times, of course. When I asked around I got three different answers. Well, We’ll see. Visited a lot of stupa’s. It are nice peaceful places, and there are always a few monks around who are willing to talk.
Leaving for Vang Vieng tomorrow. It will be good to leave this dusty city behind. It’s funny, here the cars drive slower than motorbike’s.