Sunday, May 10, 2009

Vientiane , LAOS

picture of ANOU HOTEL
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g293950-d558046-Reviews-Anou_Hotel-Vientiane.html
at the immigration check point between LAOS and THAILAND

sunset at mekong river


Central vientiane



view in front of my hotel



my train ticket from bangkok to nong khai



Hotel where i stayed


How many people that you know who had actually been to LAOS , i'm very sure it's close to none.Well that is the reason why i need to go to LAOS , because back then nobody i know had ever been there.Most people i know had been to UK,US,AUSTRALIA and etc . But when i had ask my friend about LAOS , majority of them just gave me a blank daze.



I had went to vientiane on the 4th november 2002 via train from bangkok.I had just graduated from universities back then and i had started my career as a consultants.I took 1 week off to travel to Thailand and LAOS .Budget was quite tight back then , therefore i had to cut my travelling cost as much as possible.My budget back then was only RM700 inclusive of everything.To cut cost i had to made my journey by land and stay in a very cheap hotel.I had bought a train ticket from Penang to Bangkok at RM 75 and then from bangkok i continue my journey to the border of thailand and LAOS, Nongkhai.I manage to get an economy ticket to nongkhai at a cost of 390 Baht which is equivalent to USD 10 back then.The journey took me twelve hours to the border of LAOS.I arrived at nong khai at morning , maybe around 7 am if i could recall.From nongkhai i took a tuk-tuk which took me directly to the border.Immigration was a breeze becuase hardly anybody goes to LAOS back then for their holidays or even business.Activity is more concentrated towards thailand.Only a couple of "mat salleh" backpacker including myself is heading to LAOS .Due to its currency control , LAOTIAN KIP(the local currency) is not valid outside LAOS and you have to change your currency at the border.I remember that i had change 50 USD in exchange to a bundle of LAOTIAN KIP which are quite worthless at vientiane as the local traders and hotelier prefer USD which is more stable.Most of the local traders would want US dollar from you but you must insist that you want to used the local currency.If you went along with the local people in using USD there is a possibility that you will get cheated and confused by the conversion.From the border i took another TUK-TUK to the center of vientiene.Language is extremely difficult as the local did not know a single word of english . I did not have accces to internet back then and i didn't book my hotel in advance, my trip to LAOS is actually like a gamble as i didn't make prior arrangement before hand nor do i know what LAOS got to offer.I just bought a map in bangkok and from there the trip just expanding and in the end i'm in LAOS.My taxi driver took to ANOU HOTEL in central Vientiane.I can't remember how much i had to pay for the hotel but it is around 20 to 25 usd.The temperature at vientiane is quite cold at this time , around 20'C at noon time.Entering Vientiane for the first time i was so amazed with the people hospitality , generally people are very poor and there is not a single tall building in central vientiane and the main road is still dirt road.Vientiane look like a very big village and its people are poor but i could see that they are not desperate and they are happy with their lifestyle.


Safety is not a problem in LAOS and i was not harrased not even a single moment unlike my other journey to other poor country.Where else you could find chicken running around right in the middle of the city.i started to love vientiane as it is very rustic and the temperature was lovely.to be continued.......

4 comments:

  1. wow! that's really quite an adventure!

    By the way, thanks for dropping by! You should visit Yangon then...the political situation there is not that good, but then I think it's still safe to go there ( since we all came back in one piece :)) I've actually seen quite a number of foreigners (mostly westerners) while we were there.. and yes, the military will always be there to watch you..as they said,there's a 'spy'/military assigned for every foreigner that visits the place.. but they're just there to watch and make sure you're not doing anything they don't want you to do..:)

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  2. maybe i postponed my plan to yangon . seem like it is still not safe

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  3. very good blog, congratulations
    regard from Reus Catalonia
    thank you

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  4. thank you and welcome to my blog Te la ma Maria

    ReplyDelete