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Lao PDR – Vientiane 21 October 2009

Posted by uggclogs in Life.
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It is hard to believe that Vientiane is a capital city, it has the feel of a large country town.

But it was an amazing and relaxing time that we had there, especially after the less than perfect time that we had in Luang Prabang. We were able to explore the city and see the sights within one day, but had trouble fitting in all the bars and restaurants that we wanted to eat and drink at during the weekend.

During one of the days, we went exploring the National Monument, which is an impressive golden stupa surrounded by beautiful temples. Gold leaf paint and splendour all around, and although Lao buddhist temples cannot outshine its Thai counterparts, we did enjoy exploring them.

Vientiane, for being such a small city, obviously does not have a huge array of restaurants, but the ones that are there are qualitatively very good. Even the interior decoration of most of these places was tasteful and cozy, which was a really nice change to Hanoi, which has an abundance of quantity, but quality is a little less.

We hardly ate any street food, due to my previous bout of food poisoning, so I readily admit that we may have limited our choices quite a lot.

Here are some recommendations;

JoMa

JoMa is A lovely little coffee shop chain with lovely biscuits (their oatmeal cookies are great! But their choc-chip ones are not bad either.) It is apparently a bit pricey for Lao, but all in all, it was a lovely ‘Western’ refuge for a seasoned expat or backpackers alike. There are rumours that they are looking to expand into Vietnam. Yes, please!

Makphet

A vocational training centre, where the staff are disadvantaged youth that receive training and education to break the poverty cycle. The food is also really good, the chicken curry and the larp are really good.

Le Silapa

French food. Need I say more? They had run out of creme brulee (and if you know me, you know this is a disaster) but their food is not half bad. Here’s what Frommer had to say:

For cozy atmosphere and authentic French cuisine, this is a find in Vientiane (if you can find it). The effusive French proprietor will make you feel welcome. There’s a great wine list to go with tasty meals like whitefish subtly garnished with capers, lemon, and parsley. The food is a lot more sophisticated than you might expect from such an unassuming storefront.

P.V.O.

Awesome Vietnamese Banh My (Baguettes). Yes, we went to Lao, and still ended up eating Vietnamese. But it was worth it.

Jazzy Brick, Martini Bar, Spirit House, Kong View

Lovely bars with a nice, relaxing feels to them.We had a few too many cocktails, but what the heck – we were on holidays!

So although a lot of tourists leave Vientiane off the list when they go to SE Asia, I would highly recommend including it if you have the time. Especially if you just need somewhere where you will not feel guilty just relaxing, because there is not that much else to do!

On the Saturday, we went on a day trip outside of the city, to one of the smaller rivers in the area. There, we had booked a boat that serves dinner on the boat while it drives you up the river. At the other end, they turn off the engines, and you float back down to the docs along the stream. It is amazingly relaxing, and with a few beer Lao under your belt, the world could not be a more pleasant place to spend the time.

Thank you, Lao, for a very interesting (although not purely relaxing) week.

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Comments»

1. Lizeth - 22 October 2009

MMmmm..a mouth-watering story!


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