Vientiane, Laos’ capital and largest city, is the country’s most populous metropolis. On my trip south to Cambodia, I stopped here for a few days. I’d return two months later to apply for a fresh Vietnamese visa. I stayed for roughly two weeks during the visit. Although most tourists tend to dislike Vientiane, I found it to be rather enjoyable. It’s for this reason that I’m surprised I only have 8 images from both travels.
The journey from Vang Vieng was rather short. Vientiane was reached in just over two hours. Many Vietnamese people, I believe, would be shocked by this metropolis. During my time in Vietnam, I stayed in a number of places that were scarcely visible on Google maps yet were far larger than Vientiane. Vientiane, the capital of Laos, is not a particularly huge city. I believe there are “villages” in Vietnam that are larger than this city.
There are a few tourist attractions in Vientiane, as well as numerous structures and temples worth viewing. The eateries were one of my favorite aspects about this city. There was a fantastic American-style restaurant with Philly Cheesesteaks and other delectable fare. Although the indigenous cuisine in Laos is delicious, and I particularly enjoy Chicken Lap, I had been away from my home country for nine years, so finding good American food in Vientiane was a tremendous treat. There were also some great cafes and places to sit and people-watch around the city.
If you’ve read any of my earlier pieces in this series, you’ll see that I’ve repeatedly expressed my dissatisfaction with cities. I’m still here. As a result, it’s odd that Vientiane was one of my favorite places to visit in Laos. Although it wasn’t my favorite area to visit or ride through, I enjoyed my stay here.
Looking through my images, I see a 3-day gap between my final photo from Vientiane and the following one from Thakhek. I have no idea what happened. Perhaps the cuisine made me feel at ease, and I don’t photograph my house. Perhaps I was exhausted from Vang Vieng. I’m not sure.
This sign was in one of the corridors of the hotel where I stayed. It appeared to sum up Laos’ mindset, particularly in comparison to Thailand. Laos moves at a much slower pace than its neighbors. It was a refreshing change of pace for me. I immediately grew bored of the touts and bar girls in Thailand’s cities. For the most part, I was left alone in Laos.
For me, Vientiane was an excellent city. If you only have a limited amount of time in the area, I’m not sure it should be on your list. Apart from the cuisine, I’m not sure what it was about it that I appreciated so much.
My next few posts will be a little more difficult for me to write. I traveled to Thakhek after leaving Vientiane and spent approximately a week riding the Thakhek Loop. The issue is that while I shot a lot of images of the travel, I didn’t take nearly as many photos of the sites where I stayed the night. Let’s see how I come up with a solution. I hope you’ll join me as I begin my scooter exploration of Laos!