Published: May 6th 2012April 17th 2012
Tuesday, 17th April 2012
Day 03 of my vacation in Indochina.
It was breakfast as usual for me in the earlier part of the day. And of course, being rewarded with the same breathtaking view of the city from one of the vantage points in Pham Ngu Lao district.
In the afternoon, it was time for me to say goodbye to Vietnam as I caught my 4.10pm flight VN920 out of Saigon to Lao PDR. Enroute, the plane stopped for a 50-minute transit at the Cambodian capital before making its way to Vientiane.
Dinner was served on board and it gave my body a much needed boost from the long day of travelling. I proceeded to finish the whole lot in front of me even though it was a simple serving of cold cuts and salads. As my plane landed safely in Vientiane, I was certainly filled with excitement as Laos was going to be the 18th country (a new milestone) to crumble under my travel wishlist.
The first thing that greeted me at Wattay International Airport was however the hot weather. Even though my flight landed at 7.20pm in the evening, I could still feel
the mercury rising. My body was perspiring even while walking the short distance between the plane and the customs building. I had chosen to visit the country at the height of summer right after the Laotian New Year. The good thing was the skies were clear. Chances of precipitation was remote at this time of the year.
After clearing through the customs, I quickly met up with the hotel representative at the arrivals to whisk me to Hotel Khamvongsa
, a boutique hotel about 4km away. Along the way, I was impressed by the general lack of traffic in the Laotian capital. Within 15 minutes after we started, I've reached the doorsteps of the hotel located in the western half of the compact city centre.
For dinner, I had a generous serving of laap, the national cuisine of Laos consisting of minced pork with coriander leaves cooked in a special sauce. This is normally served with a plate of jasmine white rice. After my meal, I lingered at the night market along the Mekong riverfront before heading back to my hotel for a rest.
The long day of travelling had certainly made my body more tired than usual
as I was soon fast asleep. Nothing too eventful for me during my first night in Vientiane but I'm sure things would pick up in the coming days.
For now, my first impression of the city had been positive. Vientiane, with its tree-lined boulevards was more developed than I had envisioned. The general laidback atmosphere provided the perfect excuse to linger my time away. I was equally happy with my bedroom in Khamvongsa which exuded an old world charm in the heart of this former French colony.
Unfortunately, the general costs of things appeared to be more pricey in Laos compared to the rest of her Indochina neighbours. Needless to say, this was certainly not so welcoming for travellers on a shoestring budget.
There are more photos below