August 10 | Comments (0)
Another hour on a plane, and we're in another country. We arrived in Vientiane expecting another seething mass of humanity similar to HCMC or Phnom Penh but boy were we wrong. With just over 200,000 people it feels like a tiny backwater in comparison. Everything moves just a little bit slower and the people are wonderful. For the most part, we spent our two days in Vientiane at the JoMa Bakery Cafe (near the fountain) due to the constant rain. (Try the jumbo cinnamon bun, you won't be disappointed.) In between iced coffee and cake we visited a few of the local sights, if I were visiting a second time I'd give the big golden stupa a miss as it's much better looking from a distance.
So far on this trip we've managed to avoid long distance bus travel, and our bus ride to Luang Prabang was vindication of our decision. The ride in our VIP (King of Bus) coach was meant to take 8 hours, but after 4 breakdowns and multiple stops we finally arrived nearly 11 hours later. Fortunately the scenery on the road up to Luang Prabang was the most beautiful we've seen on this entire trip. It would be nice to do the same ride on the back of a motorbike. We'll be here for a week or more so perhaps we'll hire a tuk-tuk to take us out to the country. Getting in so late, we only manged to find a cheapy guest house (Sokdee Guesthouse) that wasn't very nice. This morning we moved to the Sopha Guesthouse which is much more agreeable.
Luang Prabang itself is beautiful, I'm not at all surprised why so many people recommended it to us (before and during the trip). All there is to do here is relax, eat, get massages (1 hour = $3) and other spa treatments.
Off to get a fresh lemon juice...life is rough.