Blogs from West, Laos, Asia


Asia » Laos » West » Vang Vieng April 27th 2020

Laotian food is really something special, sure in most countries you could go out for dinner and a show. However, when you step into Laos, the Dinner is the show. Performance plays a big role in Laotian cuisine. You’ll likely find a spectacle in every Laotian market, from reckless rolled icecreams to expertly carved fruit, But there’s one show you simply can’t miss, and its performed by the Superheroes of Vangieng, The Sandwich Ladies. It really doesn’t take long to spot the Sandwhich ladies, Their stalls are everywhere around Vang Vieng. All with the same menu and prices, they stand ready from dusk to dawn behind a giant hotplate, the main stage for their creations. It’s a sandwich fairly similar to their own Laotian Bahn Mi called Khao Jee Pate, but customized to fit a pallet ... read more
A sandwich costs roughly 5 NZD
This wasn't my first burger of the night

Asia » Laos » West » Vientiane January 29th 2020

HE SAID... Having checked out of our Vientiane hotel (Family Boutique Hotel) in the mid-afternoon, we shared a light lunch just around the corner at Makphet, the same place we’d lunched the previous day. We were quite taken with the place, as it is a vocational training restaurant for young Laotians, and it is achieving life-changing results. We walked back to the hotel and settled in the lobby for an hour or so, then jumped into a taxi and headed to Wattay International Airport at 6pm. We were leaving Laos. Free face-masks were being handed out by officials at the airport in a half-hearted attempt to protect against the rampant coronavirus that had flared in China in early January. However, the masks really only offered a placebo-induced peace of mind. We were certainly not fully protected, ... read more
our last taste of laos :)
vientiane airport
vientiane airport

Asia » Laos » West » Vientiane January 27th 2020

When you’ve heard it, you must see it; only after you’ve seen it make a judgement with your heart… ~ Lao Proverb HE SAID... Today we were continuing to explore the friendly and peaceful city of Vientiane. We woke late and headed down to the Family Boutique Hotel’s large dining area for a late breakfast. It was the last few days of our Thai-Laotian holiday, and we were focused on relaxing in Vientiane. As was becoming customary on this trip, I enjoyed fresh baguettes and omelettes – my favourite way to start each day in Laos. I also helped myself to cornflakes, toast and jam, excellent coffee, terrible tea and the strange orange cordial that features at every breakfast buffet in the country. After our leisurely breakfast, we shared a jumbo (motorbike with a covered trailer ... read more
pha that luang
pha that luang
pha that luang

Asia » Laos » West » Vientiane January 26th 2020

You know, you teach. You do not know, you learn … ~ Lao Proverb HE SAID... Today we were travelling south from Vang Vieng to Vientiane. We woke early (5:30am), as we had an early start. We were leaving for Vientiane at 8am, and it was our last destination in Laos. We headed down to Phetchaleun Hotel’s large dining area at 7am, where I helped myself to a fresh baguette, omelette, tea, coffee and the ubiquitous orange cordial that our Laotian hosts always offered in the morning. With breakfast complete, we loaded our packs into a minibus and made our way out of Vang Vieng. Within minutes we were speeding towards Vientiane, hitting every conceivable pothole on the way – the roads in Laos are not in the best of condition. At first the terrain was ... read more
iced coffees
khao soi
khao piak sen

Asia » Laos » West » Vang Vieng January 25th 2020

Don’t blame the buffalo if your fence is not good… ~ Lao Proverb HE SAID... Today we were exploring the caves and villages on the outskirts of Vang Vieng. Having arrived in the late afternoon the previous day, we had not explored much of this tourist-centric town on the eastern bank of the Nam Song (Song River). However, we had the whole day ahead of us, and we were intent on getting out of town and into the caves on the western side of the river. We woke late and had a late breakfast – it was the first time we’d taken it easy in Laos. The buffet breakfast at Phetchaleun Hotel was fairly basic, but there was an incredibly fresh baguette on offer, and it mixed perfectly with the freshly made omelette, so I had ... read more
morning view from hotel room
khao piak sen (chicken noodle soup)
nam song bridge

Asia » Laos » West » Vang Vieng January 24th 2020

When the buffaloes fight, it is the grass that suffers… ~ Lao Proverb HE SAID... Today we were travelling south from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng. After bearing witness to monks collecting alms from devotees (and non-devoted tourists) in the old city centre of Luang Prabang, we made our way back to Hotel Legend in pre-dawn darkness to finalise our packs and prepare for a gruelling seven hour road trip to Vang Vieng. We settled in the hotel’s dining area around 7am, where I enjoyed a reasonably simple breakfast of muesli, omelette, tea, toast and jam, along with a couple of glasses of the ubiquitous orange cordial that is a steadfast component of every Thai and Laos breakfast buffet. After a quick trip in a songthaew (a converted pick-up truck with benches down either side) to ... read more
road to vang vieng
road to vang vieng
roadhouse lunch

Asia » Laos » West » Luang Prabang January 23rd 2020

Although he who walks behind an elephant may feel secure, he is likely to get splattered with elephant dung… ~ Lao Proverb HE SAID... Today we were continuing to explore the calm and alluring township of Luang Prabang. We woke early, but headed to breakfast fairly late at 7:30am. I enjoyed muesli with yoghurt and milk, but I made the mistake of ordering the special eggs with toppings – a type of baked eggs with sweet bread and sweet Chinese sausage. I simply didn't like it (which is VERY rare for me), so I had to re-order a vegetarian omelette, which was so much better. The woman in the kitchen wasn’t very impressed with me at all, but then again, I don’t think she was all that impressed with people in general. Cold orange cordial and ... read more
mandalao elephant conservation
mandalao - panda
mandalao - tu

Asia » Laos » West » Luang Prabang January 21st 2020

At high tide the fish eat ants; at low tide the ants eat fish… ~ Lao Proverb HE SAID... Today we were travelling northeast, then east, then south from Pak Beng to Luang Prabang. After a restless night (thanks to the Happy Smoking and Happy Balloons on offer at a nearby bar that lured every young backpacker in the village), we woke early in preparation for our second day on the Mekong. It was 5:30am and still dark outside. We organised our packs and then headed down to BKC Villa’s dining area for breakfast. We enjoyed a selection of fresh fruit (mango, pineapple and dragon fruit), empanadas, omelettes, bread, pancakes, tea and orange cordial. It was a basic breakfast, but perfect for our long day ahead on the Mekong. Feeling suitably refreshed, we handed our packs ... read more
leaving pak beng
misty mekong morning
mekong river

Asia » Laos » West » Luang Prabang January 21st 2020

A person’s stripes are inside; those of a tiger are outside… ~ Lao Proverb HE SAID... Today we were arriving in the calm and alluring township of Luang Prabang. After another full day on the Mekong in a long wooden slow boat (we’d pushed off the riverbank at Pak Beng about eight hours earlier), we arrived at a berthing area for slow boats just outside Luang Prabang in the early evening. We clambered onto the riverbank, struggled up a particularly steep set of stairs to the roadside and jumped into a waiting minibus – we were heading to Legend Hotel, our comfortable accommodation in Luang Prabang for the next three nights. In the lead up to this trip, I found time to read A Dragon Apparent – Travels in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam by Norman Lewis. ... read more
wat ho pha bang
streets of luang prabang
morning market

Asia » Laos » West » Pakbeng January 20th 2020

One has to cross upstream, higher up, to come downstream properly… ~ Lao Proverb HE SAID... Today we were travelling southeast from Chiang Khong (Thailand) to Pak Beng(Laos). We woke early (5:30am) to catch the sunrise and prepare for an early morning border crossing into Laos. We headed down to the breakfast area of our guesthouse (which was located on the river bank) and settled at a long thin bar table overlooking the Mekong. We helped ourselves from the Bain Marie, piling our plates with stir-fried chicken, stir-fried pork, fried rice and fried eggs. I also enjoyed a small bowl of banana and yoghurt, which was very welcome – it was the first yoghurt I’d tried since arriving in Thailand. Unfortunately, the weak tea and orange cordial weren’t terribly appetising at 7am, and nor was the ... read more
breakfast with view of laos
mekong river (thailand)
our slow boat

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