A Travellerspoint blog

March 2012

Three countries in one day

Overland from Cambodia to Laos via Thailand

sunny 32 °C
View Just a big holiday on ClareAndTom's travel map.

We reached Vientiane in Laos from Siem Reap in Cambodia by travelling via Bangkok. It might not seem the most logical route when you look at a map, but it was a relatively quick, comfortable and cheap way to do it. We also got lots of stamps in our passports.

The Thai sleeper train gave plenty of time for diary writing

Crossing the Mekong into Laos – this is normally a road, so the cars have to wait

Vientiane was hot, dusty and super relaxed. It certainly didn’t have the hustle and bustle of Phnom Penh, or any other Asian capital. It didn’t really feel like a capital city at all, but we liked its laid back, low key feel.

We had our first taste of Beer Lao and sticky rice during a late lunch

There are lots of monks in Laos. We saw these novices being bussed around at the end of the day

We watched the sunset over the Mekong river

As well as not being very busy, Vientiane is quite small, flat and doesn’t have an awful lot to see. It’s all easily reached by bike, so we hired some to explore the sights.

Tom on his stylish steed outside one of the many wats in town

Wat Si Saket, the oldest temple in Vientiane

Just some of the thousands of Buddha statues in Wat Si Saket

Haw Pha Kaeo, the national museum for religious objects

Clare outside Pha That Luang, apparently the most important national monument in Laos

Patouxi, a crazy Arc de Triomphe clone, built with cement that was supposed to be used for an airport

This is the sign on the side of Patouxi, which really promotes the structure: “From a closer distance, it appears even less impressive, like a monster of concrete.” Say it like it is

The most interesting place we visited that day was the visitor centre at COPE, a charity working to help people who have lost limbs – frequently as a result of unexploded mines or bombs. As in Cambodia, this is a huge problem in Laos. We spent some time talking to a 19-year-old guy who had been blinded and lost his arms – he was really into football and knew a lot more about English teams than we did!

We enjoyed trying Lao food, the sticky rice and deep fried river weed being particular favourites. Because of Laos’ French colonial history, there are also quite a few decent French restaurants too. One lunchtime we had really good steak & frites for less than £3.

A Lao food feast

Posted by ClareAndTom 05:57 Archived in Laos Comments (0)

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