Sabaidee! Khawp jai lai lai for taking time to join me on this journey through Laos. While it may have taken me months to finish the whole Laos Chronicles, the actual trip lasted only 14-days including transit from February 5-18 2009. I would have wanted to wraps thing up quickly but there are so many details to write about the place and I want it written in a way people are traveling with me as well. So here’s the summary of the trip with itinerary details and budget.
It was officially my last day of my two weeks trip around Laos. I can’t help but feel sentimental while I’m having my tea, toasted bread, jam and fruit breakfast at Lao Heritage Hotel. I was already awake by 5:30am just to get ready to go to the airport. Wattay International Airport is just less than half an hour away so I wasn’t in a hurry.
We left Vang Vieng around 10am and arrived in Vientiane by 2:30pm. It’s a good thing the drop off point was near the National Museum so I only had to walk a short distance back to Lao Heritage Hotel where I checked in again. It’s great to be back at the capital city of Laos. I let the city air in and I just relaxed the whole afternoon. I tried the Riverfront Eateries that night for a Lao dinner then rested early for my last day in Laos.
My 2nd day in Vientiane is also the day I leave the city on my way to Luang Prabang. But before that, first, I have to visit Laos most important National Monument, the Pha That Luang. Officialy named Pha Chedi Lokajulamani, which means World-Precious Sacred Stupa is also the symbol of Buddhism and Lao Sovereignity. The stupa image, which is found at the national seal is located some distance from Patuxai, so it’s best to hire a Tuk-tuk going there.
From the main road of Th Lan Xang, it’s hard not to miss the very prominent monument of Patuxai. Even coming into Vientiane for the firs time, this Arch, which unmistakeably look similar to Paris Arc de Triomphe welcomed me coming from the southern bus station. But before I could take a picture and claimed I’ve been Lost in Paris, a closer inspection of this famed monument reveal their differences.
After visiting Xieng Khuan, I had lunch nearby and not to let the tuk-tuk blunder ruin my travel, I went on my afternoon exploring the city of Vientiane, which would be on spotlight in Asia later this year as Laos hosts the upcoming SEA Games on November 2009. For participants and audiences, there a number of attractions to keep them busy around Vientiane in between games. The city is dotted with numerous temples, it may not be as many as Luang Prabang, but there are special ones worth a visit. If I were only to visit a couple, I would definitely go with Wat Si Saket and Haw Pha Kaeo.
On my first day in Vientiane, I decided to visit the Xieng Khuan, also known as the Buddha Park, just 25km off the outskirts of the city. But before that I had to visit the Northern Bus Station to reserve a ticket to Luang Prabang. This is also my first foray to a Tourist Tuk-tuk just waiting at the side street a block away from where I was staying.