I’ve just spent an absolutely amazing week in Vientiane. Where? I hear you ask. Vientiane is the capital of Laos, and I am ashamed to admit that I could not have answered that question before I came here. It is right in the South of the country,not far from the border with Thailand and it is from there that i arrived. I was spending a month travelling around Thailand and whilst up in the north i thought I might as well tick another country off.
I intended staying for one or two night, but love the place so much I ended up staying almost a full week. I love Southeast Asia, really love the Thai people and couldn’t have thought anyone could be even more friendly. The people of Laos were. I felt completely at home from the minute I arrived. I could have done without the bus trip from the Friendship Bridge at the border, but you can’t have everything. The bus driver was insane, weaving in and oiut of traffic, driving far too fast and constantly beeping his horn. He had the bus on two wheels at one point.
I finally arrived in the town centre and found a quiet bar to calm my nerves. I soon got talking to two people who were also here almost by accident. They recommended their hotel and it was perfect. Nothing flash, but inexpensive and clean. My new friends had said that in the evenings they like to go down to the river and enjoy a few drinks as the sun goes down. This was a great recommendation. The bar was good, selling cheap snacks and cold beers. The scenery was simply jaw dropping. The river takes on a completely new look as the sunset approaches. It was bliss.
Food in Vientiane, must be the main pastime. There are so many restaurants I ate at a different one every meal and never had bad food. In the town centre there is a fabulous square with restaurants all round. The restaurants all have terraces and it creates a superb atmosphere. It was hard to believe I was in Asia, it has the feel of a small Greek town about it. There was food from just about everywhere and I ate well.
For local Lao food, I was informed that the market was the place to go. It was superb. I enjoyed the Larb which is similar to the Thai dish of the same name. There are just a few subtle flavour differences. The food was similar in Thai but not as highly spiced. But it was all so fresh and tasty.
And so my days were spent drifting around and eating, my evenings eating and drinking. I could gain serious weight if I lived in Vientiane. The town is one of the most pleasant restful places I’ve found.