Sunday we caught the 24 hour bus to Laos at 17:00, we quickly grouped with Evelien from Netherlands, Taylor from Canada and 2 French guys- us westerners sticking together! We had a not very good start with the drivers trying to get us to sit on s***ty wet seats so had a bit of an argument with them, they yelled at us and told us the good seats were for Vietnamese people... Racists! The bus got uncomfortably packed with Vietnamese people even sleeping in the isles, luckily we managed to get some sleep.
Monday we were woken around 6:00am at the border where we experienced more discrimination by being pushed out of the queues to get our passports stamped and the immigration officers would not stamp our passports unless we put $1 in them! Eventually we were back on the bus and continued on our journey to Vientiane, we arrived around 17:00, the French guys went their separate ways and the rest of us, Laura & Ben and Evelien & Taylor headed to the same hostel. We dumped our bags and freshened up then met for dinner with the 2 girls, we were all exhausted from the journey with minimal and disturbed sleep so called it a night fairly early.
Tuesday the 4 of us met for breakfast, Taylor announced she was moving on to Vang Vieng today and hopefully we would see her there when we go so we said our goodbyes for now and the three of us decided to have a relaxed day wondering around Vientiane. Vientiane surely must be the smallest capital city ever, we walked to the Presidential Palace which is a beautiful mansion looking building, next we popped into the indoor market for a drink. We walked to the Patuxai which means victory gate, it looks and is situated similarly to the Arc De Triumph in the centre of a roundabout, it's only difference is the Laotian design and decoration, it is dedicated to those who fought in the struggle for independence from France, we climbed to the top and had a nice view over the city. After, we walked to That Dam, a stupa which is a mound-like or hemispherical structure containing Buddhist relics, Laotians believe that That Dam is inhabited by a seven headed Naga which is a being taking the form of a great snake. We popped back to the hostel to cool off and to relax for a couple of hours, Laos is very hot, in the 30s which is a shock to the body coming from Hanoi in the low 20s! At around 17:30 we met back up with Evelien and walked to the river to watch the sunset, we found somewhere to eat some tea then after walked around the night market.
Wednesday we met Evelien for breakfast then the 3 of us caught our bus to Vang Vieng at 10:00.