Well what to say about Vientiane....not much, its busy, hot and smelly, very much like a mini Bangkok but with zero to see or do, there is really no character or charm about this place and the main reason for people visiting from what i gather is just as a stop off before either catching an onward flight or bus.
We searched for a good hour for somewhere to stay and ended up paying over our budget and even then we dont have a palace, all the rooms we looked at were pretty grim and very expensive, i guess thats what you get for a big city. There are loads of cafes and restarants but there is nothing to see here other than a couple of temples but they wernt open to the public so could only see the outside and gardens around it.
On the day we arrived we went straight out to find a travel shop so we could book our ticket on the sleeper bus down south for the next night, so that left us with the whole afternoon to walk about, we covered pretty much the whole city in an hour and then spent the rest of the day in a cafe having our favourite pinapple shakes. This is where we had the pleasure of meeting Ben 10..... so this cookieloo american guy who looked as though he had been sleeping rough started up a convo as he was walking past on the street, starting telling us about how we needed to look after ourselves as he got in a scrap at one of the clubs and ended up getting shot at..hmmm really? So he then carried on by teaching us some self defence moves, at this point i am biting my lip trying not to laugh at him, he was being deadly serious as he was telling us all these techniques on how to protect ourself from the gangs that ruel Vientiane, Damo wasnt finding the experience quite as funny as me and was starting to get weary of this man who was quite clearly off his rocker! He then went off to go and fetch us a buisness card with his number on incase we run into any trouble which he was quite sure we would do at some point. So he comes back with a random card for a travel agents and tells us we can find him at the address on the card, he kept saying how we should just run for our lives and come and find him so he can protect us, but he then stressed that that was only a last resort as he didnt like to kill people unless he had to! and he was on holiday and only to use him if in total danger! So he wrote his name on the back of the card and is said Ben 10, that is his alies whilst in Laos....BEN 10!!! hahha i found it all extreeemly amusing and damo was left feeling a little uneasy and checking that our belongings were still with us. funny.
So in the evening they had a big market, not the cute handi craft market we have found in most places but more of the kind you would find at home i guess. i managed to find a plain black cardi, another one of the many things i didnt pack, its boiling here in the day but you still need your arms coverd at night. Markets, another one of Damians favourite things to do...haha.
The next day and we know we have pretty much seen all we can see but yet off we go, camera in hand determined to see some sight, we found a temple and then the Vientaine football stadium and tennis club...really clutching at straws for things to see, we found a gym in the park and that kept us entertained for 10 minutes and made for some funny pictures. We gave up in the end and went and sat in the park and ate an ice cream, about the only good thing you can do around here. The sleeper bus wasnt until 20:30 so we had a long day waiting around before we could leave.
When we arrived at the bus station there must have been over 10 big VIP sleeper buses, they looked like party buses with bright disco lights shining from them and multicoloured bedding, you can see from the photo that ours was bright pink inside, it was double decked and we were up top, we were lucky we were a couple because the beds were just a large single but were for two people so if you were a lone traveller you would be getting up close and cosey with a total stranger! we actually didnt sleep too bad, it was bumpy and loud but i think we both managed a few hours.
Just arrived in Pakse which is almost at the bottom of Laos so we have coverd a huge distence during the night, another new place and more things to see, although right now it is 7:30am and we are sat in a cafe as all the guest houses are still full as check outs wont be until about 9, more Laos coffee it is!