Posted by Megan:
To save time, we decided to cheat and book a flight from Siem Reap to Vientiane. Bad timing that there was a plane crash the day before between Bangkok and Phuket, just on cue to freak us out. Hmm. We did arrive in one piece thankfully.
I find it hard to describe Vientiane. It is in fact the capital city of Laos, however to be honest the main street of Morrinsville is busier and more hip-hop happening! Again we noticed the French influence here, delicious coffee and scrumptious baguettes and pastries. The moral of today’s story is: If you go walking and get a bit lost (sorry Julia I mean geographically challenged), take the business card of the hotel you are staying at with you with the address written in Lao script. Lao tuk tuk drivers can’t read the English script in the Lonely Planet and have no idea where you want to go!
We walked around the city taking in the sights and sounds. The highlights being Patuxai (L’arc de triomphe a la Vientiane) and Pha That Luang, an enormous golden monument which is a symbol of both the Buddhist religion and Lao sovereignty.
Late afternoon we had crossed off all of the sightseeing stops and so jumped into a “jumbo” (actually just another sort of tuk tuk) to take us 24km South of Vientiane to a Buddha Park. True to form, it was rather an experience. The trip took over an hour and we inhaled probably about 5 kilos of dust each! Scariest was dodging the potholes – I have seen farm tanker tracks in better condition. The trip was worth the bumpiness as the bizarre concrete sculptures were impressive, especially the enormous reclining Buddha and the random giant pumpkin. For the first time I felt the need to bring out the phrase book and point out to the driver to “Please drive slow”. I wasn’t sure how to tell him that one tuk tuk accident was plenty for one trip!
Next post – A tractor tube down the river in Vang Vieng.