Hi friends and family.
Not to much to write about on this blog as Vientiane the capital of Laos is not that interesting, (sorry if you live there)! We sort of knew this before we left as most people we had spoken to had told us that you only really need to spend a couple of days there so that's what we did.
We picked up a mini van in Vang Vieng in the morning of the 9th of feb and it took about 3 and a half hours to get there. The journey was fine, not to hair raising and met a few people on the coach so time passed quite quickly. We got dropped of near the main part of city and walked around for a while trying to find a guest house. First impressions was that it wasn't much of a capital, quite run down and dirty with not a lot to go see and do. After checking into a place that was way to expensive for what it was offering, we had a walk to find somewhere else for the next day and to see if we could find stuff to do. We found a nice square with a fountain in the middle and cafes and restaurants dotted around it so decided to eat there that night. We also needed to get our Vietnamese visas from the embassy in Vientiane but discovered it was their new year and the embassy was closed till Monday and it was Saturday. OH NO, we are stuck here!
We made our way back to the Mekong Riverfront near our guest house where we had a drink and met a few girls (who then recommended us to stay at their guest house). After watching the sunset over the River, we booked that place, got ready then finally we went out for dinner in this little French place back in the square. The food was amazing French soup, beef ribs done on the BBQ and the best chocolate dessert, a bit expensive but well worth it.
The next day we checked into the new guest house and thank god we did because the previous night we were awake the whole time as the guys next door had found bed bugs and where going mental at the owner and banging around which woke us up and freaked us out (the sleeping bag liners came straight out after that ha ha) We didn't do much on the Sunday as most places were closed so we had a wander to a local shopping center and walked to find where the embassy was. On the way we checked out Vientiane's own arc de triomphe which was quite nice with big fountains in sync with music, very relaxing.
Finally on the Monday we got up early, headed straight for the embassy and got our visas for Vietnam, $60 dollars each, what a rip, but there you go. Next step was to book a coach out of Laos but when we went to the travel agents all spaces for the next day (Tues) were sold out so our only option was to travel that night as we didn't want to wait till Weds to go as we had done everything possible to do in Vientiane. We booked the coach and then waited till 5 to get picked up. The coach left at 7pm on Monday 11th and we wasn't meant to arrive till 10pm on Tuesday the 12th (over 24hour trip) we wasn't looking forward to it at all. The coach was okay the seats reclined a little and there was aircon (that didn't work)! We met a load of travelers so it was nice to speak to a few other people and to find out their stories. The whole journey was ok although we didn't get much sleep as it was freezing cold and no sleeping position was comfortable. Also the coach driver and his mate where really horrible and rude. They kept bossing us around and shouting "you" and pointing at seats to tell us to move when we didn't need to! We all just said no every time and that seemed to work. We finally got to the border at 4.30am but had to wait till 7 for it to open….
Overall Laos was nice but quite expensive and the people not so friendly as the Thai's, which is strange as everyone was telling us the opposite before we went there! I am glad we went though and the food was really nice. Another country to tick of our list!
We are missing everyone at home but not enough to come home yet SORRY!
Lots of love
Jen and Sean.