We only had the one day in Vientiene because we wanted to get down to the south as soon as possible and heard there wasn't really much to do here anyway. So it was goodbye to Vang Vein and the start of the kayaking journey down river towards Vientiene, which is the capital Laos. It seemed like the river didn't have much of a current, so the first thing we said to the elderly australian couple that were kayaking with us was that we didn't want to capsize and get wet for the 3 hour journey, but that obviously jinxed it and half hour in, we managed to capsize in the slightest of waves. But it was really good fun and our Aussie pals also went in so made us feel a little bit better. Vientiene was one of the more trendy and up market places for Laos with lots of French influence. Only here for a day and with not really much to do, only two things stood out for me from Vientiene, which was the herbal sauna and traditional massage at Wat Sok Pa Luang, which was set back from the road, down a path among some trees. There were a few temples next door, as well as shrines and housing for the monks. It seemed like a hidden gem, elevated above the ground by stilts and made entirely of wood so had a really authentic feel. With only a handful of people there, a mix of tourist and locals. We was given towels and some green tea and made to feel very welcome. After a session in the sauna, it was time for Laos massage, and with no cream or oil, we was quite thoroughly rubbed, pulled, twisted and clicked all over!
It was great experience and well worth the $4 each that we paid. The next was dinner at a Belgian run restaurant, so I tried a Belgian style double cheese burger with chips (see picture). It's was easily in the top three burgers I've ever eaten, an amazing burger. Laos it seemed was proving to be more expensive than Vietnam for food so changing from one currency to the other we had to be careful with the daily budget.