A lot of people don’t like Vientiane, the capital of Laos. Silvere received so many negative feedback from his friends that we hesitated to go, but I’m glad we did. We wanted to go to Vang Vieng which is a 14 hours bus ride away from our previous stop, and Vientiane seemed like a good cut in the middle. Instead of a night and a morning in a bus, we spent 9 hours in a sleeping bus. It’s not ideal, the bed is a short single bed (if you book for 1 you have to share it with a stranger, ahah) and the “dynamic” driving of the locals could throw the passenger sleeping on the lobby side (which would be me) on the floor at any time, but somehow we slept ok. The contrast between Vientiane and the rest of Laos is huge. While the country is one of the poorest in the world, and you can tell by the very rustic rural houses everywhere, Vientiane looks like a rich and nice city. It’s the smallest capital of Southern Asia, but we had a very good time there. First, the food is great! There’s heaps of coffee shops and restaurants serving any type of food. For lunch, we found a wonderful vegan buffet which was our first real Lao meal. The night market was full of weird food that we of course tried. It was also a very nice market, full of handicrafts that seemed much more authentic than on all the Vietnamese and Cambodian ones we went to. It’s located on the river bank, where very large group of people do fitness with loud music , jog or picnic. And on the other side of the bank, it’s Thailand.
During our only day in the city, we biked and walked, as usual. The monuments are stunning and very impressive. The temples are beautiful as well, all very unique and different from one another. I was a little “templed out” in Vietnam as I thought that after a few, they all looked alike. Cambodian temples were much more gigantic and awe inspiring, well Lao temples are very similar, just more colorful. I couldn’t get bored visiting these! Vientiane was almost entirely destroyed by the Siamese (Thais) in the end of the 18th century, so everything is pretty new. Some of the most important Buddhist buildings are here.