Vientiane 12th – 15th November
We arrived in Vientiane at 11am after leaving Australia at 10pm. What a pain. Thai airways would not let us check in for our Bangkok – Vientiane flight in Melbourne, because we had no proof of onward travel from Laos. Even our Vietnamese visa for the 27th wasn’t accepted, so in Melbourne airport we had to pay $200 each for a flight from Luang Prabang to Hanoi to prove we were departing. We still couldn’t check in for our connecting flight though because Webjet needed 10 hours to process. Stuff it, we got on the flight and hoped we could sort it all out in Bangkok. After a few email confirmations from home and Webjet, we had the flight details as proof of onward travel and that problem was behind us.
On arrival in Laos, the visa on arrival (VOA) form was strange. As it was our first time in Asia, the poor English threw us off, because the questions on the form were bizarre. We had it half filled out, and lined up for a visa. They didn’t care that we didnt have the required photo or about having a departure flight from Laos.
We got a taxi to Mixay Guesthouse, checked into our dorm and then had a walk around town. I was surprised at the motorbikes piled high with anything and everything, people riding on the roof of trucks and general traffic chaos. We got dinner and a few BeerLao’s with some Swedish girls before going back to the guesthouse.
On day two we went to the Buddha Park quite a way out of town. We walked to the bus station and met a German girl who wanted to go to the Buddha Park too. We got a bus to the Laos-Thai friendship bridge (border crossing over the Mekong) and then changed to a dirty old minibus. The roads were at that point the worst I’d ever seen. The Buddha Park was cool, if a little weird.
Later that night we ran into four guys from Sydney who were leaving no stone unturned in SE Asia, despite only having 16 days. We hung out with Mike, Ennis, Ryan and T. We played pool and had a few beers with them and then got tuk tuks to the nightclub. Ennis showed off his tuk tuk skiing skills in his thongs on the way there (Laos has a Curfew of 12pm but some clubs get away with staying open later with a police bribe). In Future Nightclub we got pretty drunk hanging out with the only other tourists in there. Contrary to its name, it was like stepping into the past – the music was all at least a few years old. It’s also strange because where the dance floor should be there is little tables and everyone just stands around them all night. At the end of the night we decided to walk home instead of getting a tuk tuk – it was a long way.
The next day I woke up and my passport was soaking wet with what I presume was beer from the nightclub. I seriously considered going to the Australian Embassy just in case, because I didn’t want to get refused entry to Vietnam further north and have to come back, but I didn’t. For anyone who’s passport gets wet, here’s a tip: put tissues or sheets of toilet paper between every single page, and leave them there for a few days. It dried it right out.
before dinner we checked out the night-market and bought the obligatory Beerlao singlet. That night we were back on the beerlao’s, and back at the club, before returning to the hostel.
The next day before we got our minibus to vang vieng, I got the English breakfast at Full Moon Café – bad idea.
Thoughts on Vientiane:
- I thought it was good at the time but I can now say that it was just the novelty of our first stop, there’s not much to do there.
- 3 nights is almost too much.
- Mixay guesthouse was $6 a night and we went there thanks to lonely planet, but Vientiane backpackers looked more fun and social.