This time we had a shorter bus ride but the road was pretty rough and our mini bus was packed full. We were lucky that we were one of the first people picked up and we were able to grab decent seats.
We were dropped in the center of Vientiane and we felt like stretching our legs so instead of taking a taxi we decided to walk in the direction of our hotel. Along the way we stopped at a bakery/cafe for a bite to eat and a real coffee. I think I had the best pastrami sandwich that I have had in years – it surprised me to be able to have this in Laos and they even had pumpkin pie on the menu…oh happy days!
After we checked in to the hotel, we took a walk and visited Vientiane’s ‘Arc de Triomphe’, the real name is Patuxai. The USA donated the cement so the Laos Government could build a new airport but instead they built this and now most people refer to it as ‘the vertical runway’.
On our way back to the hotel we stopped at this fountain for a beer and a snack. They have live music every night and a small market selling souvenirs.
The next day we were up at the crack of dawn, quick breakfast, and out the door to the Thai Consulate to get in line for our Thai visa (we had heard the queue can be really long). After we dropped off our applications we made our way to Pha That Luang Temple. It’s one of the most sacred temples in Laos. It’s believed that the stupa contains a hair and bone from Lord Buddha.
They had a lot of paintings inside the temple and I loved this one.
We noticed people coming out of this temple (Phat Tick Temple) so we decided to stop in. I’m happy we did because out of all the temples we visited in Vientiane, this was my favourite.
We had a fantastic dinner at Mak Phet restaurant and I’m not only mentioning this because the food was so delicious but it was nice to know that eating here was also helping some of the young locals. It’s a vocational training restaurant that trains marginalized youth in the hospitality industry and when they complete their training they are given a job.
In the evening we browsed through the huge night market along the Mekong. It was a great market with a grand selection of anything and everything.
After breakfast we walked to Hor Phakeo but it was under renovations so we crossed the street and went to Wat Sisaket one of the temples on the list of sights to see in Vientiane.
In the afternoon we had to go back to the Thai Consulate to pick up our double entry visa’s. I think we managed to get one of the last few double entry visa’s since Thailand has announced some visa changes that will come into effect on November 13.
On our last day in Laos we let ourselves sleep in a little and after breakfast we took a local bus to Wat Xieng Khuang also known as the Buddha Park. These sculptures were made by a monk who wanted to integrate Buddhism and Hinduism. He built these sculptures in 1958 and then after the revolution in 1975 he fled across the Mekong to Nong Khai, Thailand where he constructed another park similar to this one. The sculptures were unique and a little bizarre but we found them quite intriguing.
The best view of the park is from the top of the pumpkin looking sculpture. You enter through a demons mouth and there is a passage way on the inside going up three levels that represent hell, earth, and heaven. The interior houses some interesting sculptures that are worth checking out.
Since Vientiane has such a french past, we thought we should try the french cuisine before we leave. After our visit to the Buddha Park we enjoyed some great food at a little french cafe, it was delicious and as with most french dishes, very high calorie. There are so many french restaurants to choose from in Vientiane and little carts selling baguettes are scattered everywhere. I can’t say that we had one bad meal in Laos, the food we had was very good.
Vientiane was our last stop in Laos and we enjoyed our time here although we found there was more to see and do in Luang Prabang. Laos is a laid back and fun country to visit with some really gorgeous scenery. The locals are super friendly and aside from the rural areas, most people speak fairly good english making traveling here easy.
Where we stayed: Golden Sun
Written by: Tammy Hermann…Live~Love~Travel