Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Laos: Vientiane & Surrounding Area

Laos, the 9th Southeast Asia country I went last two years when Jeff Chuah, a travel blogger told me that he is planning to go there and instantly I asked whether can tag me along and he agreed. Thanks to Jeff too for helping me to buy the airticket cause I was in Hong Kong at that particular moment. This is the first time I travelled with a travel blogger, who shares the same passion and interest - travelling.

Laos 01
#1: I didn't pre-book in-flight meal but was given by an uncle who sat next to me cause I helped him to fill in quite number of arrival cards.

For Malaysian citizens, visa is not required when entering Laos and allow to stay up to 30 days. From Kuala Lumpur, the flight to Vientiane took 1 hour and 45 minutes and without realised it, we had landed safely in Wattay International Airport.

Laos 01-1
#2: Wattay International Airport

Get In To Town From Airport 
Wattay International Airport is roughly about 4km north-west of the Vientiane city center and in order to access to the city center, there are few transportation mode to choose from; either taking taxi, tuk-tuk or bus. We took taxi which cost US$7 or 57,000 kip. Yes, US dollar is acceptable in Laos but it is advisable to change some kip, their local currency. We changed in airport before taking the taxi as well bought local sim card which comes with data but unfortunately it only last for a day. Paid 20,000 kip (approx. to RM 9) but seems like being conned.
US$1 (Approx. to RM3.50) = 7,760 kip
Where To Stay In Vientiane
There are countless places to stay in Vientiane; from budget accommodation as low as below 120,000 kip (US$15 or approx. to RM50) to splurge hotels as high as over 400,000 kip. I personally would recommend to find accommodation along Rue Setthathirat or Rue Samsenthai which not far away from the Mekong River where most of the budget guesthouses and hotels, bars and restaurants are located. It is advisable to book in advance during the p

Laos 13 - Vientiane Garden Hotel
#3: Vientiane Garden Hotel - Mid range hotel that cost US$36 per night (including breakfast)

Laos 14 - Douangdeuane 2 Guest House
#4: Budget guest house cost 70,000 kip or US$9 (approx. to RM30) per night

Get Around Vientiane
Wandering around Vientiane is practically easier than I thought with less traffic and helpful street signage. Jeff and I mostly walked to all those nearby attractions instead of taking tuk-tuk.

Laos 04
#5: Street sign displayed in French and Lao

Laos - Vientiane 05
#6: Tuk-tuk in Laos almost similar to the one in Bangkok

Sights
1) Patuxai, the Victory Monument 

Laos 07

For panoramic views of Vientiane, climb up to the submit on the 7th floor with admission fee of 3,000 kip and you will surely impress with the spectacular and amazing view.

Opening Hours: 8am - 5pm
Admission Fee: 3,000 kip to climb the submit


2) Wat Si Saket 

Laos 09 - Wat Si Saket

Wat Si Saket is the oldest temple in Vientiane containing more than 2,000 sliver and ceramic Buddha images.

Opening Hours: 8am - 12pm & 1pm - 4pm everyday except for public holidays
Admission Fee: 2,000 kip for the local and 5,000 for foreign visitors

3) Haw Pha Kaew

Laos 10 - Haw Pha Kaew

Just across of Wat Si Saket is Haw Pha Kaew, a royal temple built specially to house the famed Emerald Buddha, but today used as a national museum of religious art where it has the best collection of Buddga images in Laos.

Opening Hours: 8am - 12pm & 1pm - 4pm everyday except for public holidays
Admission Fee: 2,000 kip for the local and 5,000 for foreign visitors

4) Black Stupa (That Dam)

Laos 11 - Black Stupa (That Dam)

The mythical abode of a seven-headed dragon that protects Vientiane but today, it slowly being overgrown again by lush grass vegetation. Black Stupa is located nearby the US embassy. 

5) Pha That Luang

Laos 08

The golden fully covered Pha That Luang is the most important national monument in Laos. This three-layered gilded stupa is a symbol of Buddhist religion and Lao sovereignty. Located about 4km northeast of the city center at the end of Th That Luang, it took us almost half an hour to walk from our hotel to here.

Opening Hours: 8am - 12pm & 1pm - 4pm everyday except for public holidays
Admission Fee: 2,000 kip for the local and 5,000 for foreign visitors

Lao Food 

Laos 06

We came across this small stall selling crusty baguette nearby the bus stop. This French influence food is one of Lao's staple street foods which found at street side stalls. Locally known as Khao Jee, the popular filling of baguette is a set of pork meet, Vietnamese sausage, shredded carrot and radish, few slices of cucumber together with squeezes of mayonnaise and chilli sauce. And how much this baguette cost? 7,000 kip, which less than a dollar. Incredibly cheap!

Night Market

Laos 12 - Vientiane Night Market (Riverside Night Market)

Oh boy! I love night markets and luckily the hotel we stayed, the night market is only a stone’s throw away. This riverside night market begins around sunset when an army of stall vendors ready to set up their red-roofed stalls directly on the Mekong riverside promenade. Fairly typical products can be found here such as Buddhist-inspired paintings and knick-knacks, cheap sunglasses, and Beer Lao T-shirts. No worry about the language barrier as English is widely spoken but be armed with your bargaining skills.

We only spent a day in Vientiane cause on the next day, we bought a bus ticket to Vang Vieng. Stay tune for more!

[Credit To: Wikitravel, Live Less Ordinary, Lonely Planet Southeast Asia On A Shoestring Guide Book]

4 comments:

  1. great that things are pretty cheap there..pretty adventurous trip.

    ReplyDelete
  2. So nice of Jeff Chuah . It's nice to travel with someone who have the same interest.

    USD9 for a SIM card with data plan for only 1 day does seems overpriced. Hope all their telco not like that.

    Interesting to try out the Khao Jee . Must have been tasty.

    I love night market too

    ReplyDelete
  3. Khao Jee looks delicious.Look forward for your Vang Vieng trip :D

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks for the useful tips. I have been procrastinating my trip for years now. This Vientiane has some charms somewhere that interests me.

    ReplyDelete

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