Goodbye to a wonderful country: Vientiane, Laos


Like always, the bus dropped us off at some-out-of-town station meaning we had to pay for a tuk-tuk into Vientiane. This is one additional cost I hate paying and unfortunately I’ve witnessed this money-making scheme throughout Asia and there’s nothing tourists can do about it. After enjoying our stay at Khammany Inn in Luang Prabang so much, we decided to book a night at Sihome Garden Backpackers as it is partly owned by the same family. The room was small but lovely and cool, just what we needed in the sweltering heat. 

Vientiane Night Market

Jamie and I headed to the night market along the river which compared to Luang Prabang was a bit shoddy. Jaimie wasn’t overly hungry whilst I was so we went in search of cheap street food. I couldn’t find the row of food stalls Lonely Planet had mentioned so we opted for a small roadside restaurant which was super cheap. I wanted to try a yellow curry after the girls raved about Laos red curry. I knew red and green curry would be too spicey for me so yellow was a safer option. Jaimie and I also shared some noodles which we didn’t really know what they were but thought we’d point to the unknown on the menu. Just our luck, they were fried instant noodles out of a packet, not the meal we were expecting. The curry was rather bland too and I wish we had visited the sushi restaurant we passed on our way home. Oh well, even though my last supper in Laos was rubbish, the rest of them sure made up for it.

I took many pictures of nice buildings in Vientiane – how cool am I!

We got an early night but I was unable to sleep after the couple in our room came back at 1pm, not late at western standards and I’m pretty sure they weren’t drunk but the events that unfolded were extremely odd indeed. The door opened at 1:30am with one of the staff peering in, turning on the light and handing a backpack to the guy who was in the bunk below me. Maybe he had left it somewhere, who knows. Then, a very bizarre thing occurred.

I couldn’t take a picture of the incident so here’s another nice building

He started shaking the bed below which caused me great concern in case he was having a fit or was simply a headcase. I decided to peer over the edge below to see if he was ok and to my horror he was peeing all over the floor right next to my bags! You may have remembered me telling you about the peeing girl in Phnom Penh but I would have never have believed it would happen to me twice! I mean seriously, what’s wrong with people! I decided to stay quiet for fear he was an actual headcase and couldn’t sleep with the fear he’d climb up and kill me, plus it stank of pee.

Exploring Vientiane by bike

Don’t worry, I got my revenge as I told the tale to everyone in the hostel at breakfast. He wasn’t aware but I hope he received some strange looks that day. Jaimie and I hired pushbikes to explore the city that morning. We knew there wasn’t much there and I would never have gone out of my way to visit myself but it was on my route back to Bangkok and a new place to explore.

COPE Centre

We went to the COPE centre which is set up by the Laos National Unexploded Ordnance Programme (UXO) which produces prosthetic limbs and works to identify unexploded bombs. It’s astonishing to read about how Laos is the most heavily bombed country per capita and thousands of people die each year through unexploded bombs and land-mines, many of them children searching for scrap mental. The fact that scrap metal is such a good way to make money in Laos just shows how underdeveloped the country actually is.

My last Laos noodle soup (sob sob)

Afterwards we went to an Internet Cafe to print off our documents for our Myanmar visa application and then headed for an extremely quick but tasty chicken and meatball noodle soup from a shack at the side of the road before I hopped onto a bus to the station ready to take my night train across the border to Bangkok. As with every journey in Asia, there’s no need to grab food beforehand as there’s always food available at the stations or at stops along the way. This is a lesson I still haven’t learnt and always stock up on snacks before heading into the unknown. It must be in my culture.

Living life, loving travel,

H x

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