Well after having a great time in the party cities of Hong Kong and Bangkok I arrived in the capital city of Lao PDR, Vientiane. What a shock this was to the system, the streets were quiet, the pubs shut down early and the tuk tuk drivers wanted about three days average wages to drive you a mile down the street.
Yeah, Lao is a very quiet place compared to the rest of SE Asia, and most people seem to love the place because of that. It didn’t really do much for me though; maybe I’ll take another look there when I’m older and want to relax.
I only spent time in Vientiane and apparently there are a few backpacker party towns in Laos. Thing is I’m not really into the backpacker scene; yeah I know that I travel with my backpack, but I’m not really into hanging out with 18 year gap year kids (friendly as they may be, and good luck to them on their travels). I tend to do my own thing and quite often stay in less visited places that seem to have a nice feel for them.
Anyway I’m getting off topic here, Vientiane is a pretty enough place, it has a large French colonial influence with lots of pretty buildings and good food; like in Vietnam Baguettes are very popular here. Vientiane even has its own arc d’triumph! When I was there they were re-developing the Mekong river front, making it difficult to get near; my guess is that when there are cafes and a promenade by the river the place will have a very nice feel to it. Though they do need to keep those pubs open longer!
Here are a few pictures.