May 14, 2011

Laos - Vientiane/Luang Prabang/Vang Vieng

To go from Thailand to the capital of Laos is a real challenge. We took an overnight train from Bangkok to Nong Khai, the end of the line. Then we bargained with a tuk tuk to go to the border five kilometres away where we delt with the administrative procedures. To cross the Mekong River (the actual border), we jumped on a bus. On the other side of the Friendship Bridge, we met Laotian administration for passport and visa checking before finding a taxi to cover the last twenty kilometres to Vientiane! Not that simple! ;)

Vientiane is said to be the most provincial capital in the world and is a very small town indeed. Not much to see, only the Phra Thatluang, symbol of the country, and not much to do either. 
 
Phra Thatluang


Maybe only to begin feeling the French colonial atmosphere: the names of the streets in the city are written in Laotian and French as the names of the administrative offices. 
 
Victory Monument, supposed to be inspired from the Parisian Arc de Triomphe

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View from That Phousy

We really enjoyed the city of Luang Prabang located at the confluence of the Song River and the Mekong River. This Unesco World Heritage city is really lovely and the landscapes breathtaking. It does worth the ten hours bus through the north of the country where we could admire spectacular green mountains all the way.



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And if you cross this bamboo bridge...

 ...you arrive at a wooden hut...

...and can admire the view!! :))

 

In Luang Prabang we experienced for the first time the mood of the monsoon rain! We only had to adjust our sightseeing planning to the vagaries of the sky. It is incredible how the weather can change so quickly, from sun to violent showers and back to sun half an hour later... But the temperature stays nice.

When it starts, it is not a joke!

After five minutes we can go out and continue the sightseeing...

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Vang Vieng have the same assets as Luang Prabang: a fantastic panorama over the Song River and the mountains, really cute bungalows and stilt houses to rent, etc.




But it became the meeting point for young Westerners to party and drink in Southeast Asia. At night the city turns into a huge night club. During the day those who are not kayaking, tubing, rafting, etc., are just healing from their hangover and spend their afternoon in bars laying down and watching entire seasons of Friends or of The Family Guy. A little surreal!

2 comments:

  1. Non, trop c'est trop !

    La photo de vous deux avec les transats au bord de l'eau, c'est trop !!!

    Vous n'avez pas honte de nous narguer...
    Sans rire, ├ža donne envie. Vraiment.
    Gros bisous

    Votre vieille tante

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  2. Hi Axelle & Luis,
    we are a German couple and during our tour through Asia we will touch Laos and Northern Thailand. We want to travel with local guides/drivers. Do you have any contact addresses of nice, reliable guides and drivers?

    Thanks,

    Gerard and Daniela (flysino@yahoo.de)

    ReplyDelete