Asia | South East Asia | Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Laos) | Mekong | Vientiane – No loafing in Laos
I have been vegging for the past couple of days, trying to recover from the trip. It took 22 hours to get from Hanoi to Vientiane!!!!!!!!!! It was a wild trip – we left Hanoi at 7.30pm and arrived in Vingh at 2am. We were dumped at the bus stop and immediately surrounded by people who wanted us to hop on motorbikes to get to the border… we ignored then and sat at one of the roadside stalls to have coffee. We started talking to a young motor driver who spoke reasonable English – to cut a very long story short… lots of negotiations, travelling all over town, dark alley ways… but generally always feeling pretty safe… we finally got on a mini bus to the border at about 4am. We were then joined by 2 other travellers, who apparently had refused to have anything to do with any negotiations, but had benefited from our efforts…!!!! We arrived two buses and 5 hours later at the border…
…but things had only just begun… we had to catch a further 2 song-thaews (pick-up trucks with benches in the back) to get to Vientiane. Very sore bums arrived in Vientiane at 5.30 that evening… Maybe not the most interesting of travel stories… but this is someone who would previously not even consider doing the 14 hour journey – Johannesburg to Cape Town, in an air-conditioned car!!!! Times have changed!
It is quite something to be out of Vietnam – Laos people are very different! It makes a really nice changed to be able to walk down the street without being harassed by people trying to sell you things or get you into their shops and restaurants. The Laos people are very gentle and remind me very much of the Cambodians.
Vientiane is very weird, it is one giant dust bowl! It has to be the sleepiest capital city I have ever been in – it feels like everyone has gone on holiday. You can’t find a bar or restaurant open after 11pm, and nightclubs close at midnight! But you can email people at anytime – the Internet Cafe’s seem to be open to all hours! So, if you are looking for a wild time, this is not the place to be, unless you wanna have a wild Internet time. We have been getting the beers in early and have set up a card game at our guest house – although the landlady does come and check on us to make sure we aren’t gambling!
Today, Charlotte and I go our separate ways – me off to the north of Laos and she’s going back to Thailand. It’s very sad, I’ve really enjoyed our time together.