Thursday, November 15, 2012

Vientiane, Laos 3 - 4 Nov 2012

The journey to Vientiane from Vang Vieng was short, only 3 hours. The minibus drop us in town just 2 blocks from our pre-booked guest house. The city is so much quieter compare to the day when we arrived. The festival is over, no more make shift stores on the riverside. Plus there is the ASEAN meeting starting on the next day. Police standing at every junction and the street looks so clean. 

We checked in to our pre-booked guest house, it was clean but the room was cramp with 3 single bed in it. We don't care as it's only for one night. Our final mission today is to visit the Laos golden landmark - Pha That Luang and the Buddha Park.

Pha That Luang
After lunch we negotiated a taxi to drive us to this 2 places. Pha That Luang is a Buddhist golden stupa, not as big as I was expected. It's only 44m tall but the reflection of the golden stupa from the sun makes it stunning. We could only walk around the ground level of the stupa, there were a few displayed rocks and Buddha heads, not much to see. Outside the compound, there was a small garden and a huge golden sleeping buddha.

Buddha Park
We went on to Buddha Park which is 25km from Vientiane, the road condition was bad and dusty due to the sand removal from Mekong river. Lucky we got a taxi instead of tuk tuk, or else we will end up full of dust and backache. The Buddha Park is a sculpture park the size of football field, it contains weird structure built since 1958. The most enormous is the 120m reclining buddha. The is also a giant ball which has 3 stories representing hell, earth and heaven. One can enter through the mouth and climb up to heaven where there is a view point for the entire park. This place is too far from town and it is not worth the ride.

At the airport, we checked in our 2 bags. While we were getting through the security check. They stop me to check my hang luggage. Shit! I forgot my Swiss Army knife in it! I panic as this was a special gift from my friends, I didn't want to loose it. I plead to them badly to pass it to the crew on board so I could take it when I arrive in Malaysia, but the officer said they can't. I was almost crying, finally one of them said I can put it in a bag and try to check it in again. Wow! I was so happy, now I hope Air Asia won't give me any trouble. I am willing to pay for the extra luggage to check it in. I run down and check with the officer at the check in counter with a pity and guilty face, he asked for my boarding pass and said "Would you like to check in in the existing bag or new bag?",  Huh! I thought in my mind, can I check in into my existing bag? Surely I said "In my existing bag pleaseeee....." He took out his walkie talkie and radio to someone to retrieve my luggage and in 5 minutes, my backpack is there for me to chuck in my Swiss Army knife. Yeah! Superb service! I don't know what to say other than repeating the word "Khop Chai" several times. I was really thankful for the office who suggested this option, and he told me that this is the first time they did it. I was very lucky! :-)

8 days was just perfect to see these 4 important sites, it was not too rush or tiring. I like Laos for it's beautiful country site and the people, their friendliness and great hospitality makes me feel uncomfortable at the beginning because I was too used to harassment and rip off from tout  that I am always ready to defend myself, but hey, I came to realise that I don't need to in Laos. Relax! Chill! Even though I was still on alert with my bags and belongings, especially when my brothers leave their bags and walk away. :-(

Well, this kind of wrap up our trip to Laos and also my trip around the world. Travelling with my brothers was easy as we all like to take photograph and enjoy the laid back countryside. I would like to thank my brother Thomas for suggesting this trip, else Laos will still be in my to travel list.

Mixay Guest house - 150,000kip fan with shared bath and wifi.

Taxi to/return Pha That Luang and Buddha Park 250,000 per car
Entrance to Pha That Luang - 5,000 each
Entrance to Buddha Park - 5,000 each

Taxi to airport - 60,000kip

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the well planned trip,
    maybe we should do it again in future.