Walking the Streets of Vientiane – Laos

Walking the Streets of Vientiane – Laos

There is something a little different about walking the streets of Vientiane in Laos, it’s not your usual Southeast Asian city.

Sure, it still has the food stalls that spread out through the streets, where you remain unsure whether the food is safe to eat (with the consequences being a week on the toilet), I know that I’m always wary of street food.

It has the vibrant marketplaces where a bargain is sure to be found, and the strong Buddhism flavour that is the main strength of religion in Southeast Asia, and the values that the locals live strongly by every day.

 

King Anouvong statue

King Anouvong statue, Vientiane.

 

Furthermore, Vientiane has other familiarities of their Asian counterparts, for instance, stray dogs that are busy wandering the streets and at times will join you at the dining table.

There are the taxis and tuc-tucs drivers on the side of the road that are willing to take you around the city to earn a buck or two, and of course, Vientiane has that familiar smell in the air that lets you know you are very much in the heart of Southeast Asiaand I’m not saying that’s a bad thing either, at least in my opinion.

The obvious difference when walking the streets of Vientiane compared to its neighbouring Southeast Asian cities in the likes of Bangkok and Hanoi, is the population. The hustle and bustle does not exist in Vientiane and how awesome is that.

 

walking the streets of Vientiane

the laidback nature of Vientiane.

 

To stroll through the Laos Capital means no dodging motorbikes on either the road or the footpath, and crossing the road is not as stressful as it is in Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City, although you’ll still need to exercise caution by looking left or right before taking that next step.

Walking along the footpath is a leisurely experience too, with a lot less obstacles and pedestrians getting in the way, which means going from point A to point B is not too much of a hassle when travelling by foot. It truly is a great city wander through and greet the friendly locals at will.

 

Vientiane City

The streets of Vientiane, Laos.

 

To me, being in Vientiane is like going back in time, the modern world has yet to catch up with this little city, with any new polished buildings being a rarity (although they do exist). I can honestly say it is not a bad thing to visit a destination that has a change of pace.

The Vientiane Night markets is another wonderful stroll and is easily the best markets I have seen in Southeast Asia, not that I have been to them all. It is a festive attitude at these markets with great entertainment and quality goods on sale. Even better with the Mekong River and the border into Thailand nearby. Being an Aussie, I just love the fact you can stare into another country from the other side.

 

Night Markets

Night Markets from above on a wet Laos Day.

 

Of course, there are the stunning Palaces, temples and museums to gaze your eyes upon and marvel at the history and culture of the country’s work. Every visitor to the region knows that Southeast Asia get it right with their beautifully designed buildings.

Walking the streets of this beautiful city, you will stumble across some precious buildings like the Sisaket Museum and Wat Phra Keow. Although the Golden Palace and the surrounding structures will knock your feet off, the golden texture is indeed brilliant.

 

Sisaket Museum

Sisaket Museum.

 

Then there is the Patuxai War Monument, the locals are so proud of this mighty landmark that stands out in the capital city ofLaos for everyone to witness. It celebrates the country’s independence from the French.

I remember the first time I saw this iconic structure from several hundred metres away, it’s presence was simply superior to anything around it. No doubt it was built to show its country’s strength. As I stepped closer to the monument, the magnificent structure just blew me away, and then I climbed the steps to the top and the 360 views of the city just capped it off nicely.

 

Patuxai Monument, Laos

The stunning Patuxai War Monument.

 

It was the walking streets of Vientiane, the laidback city full of heart and with a proud culture. A city on the rise, but one I hope that doesn’t change too much, because I enjoyed stepping into a city that simply wasn’t in any rush.

Heading to Vientiane? Check out for hotels on TripAdvisor.

 

streets of vientiane

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About Your fair Dinkum Traveller

Anthony Jury

Anthony Jury

Your Aussie - Asia Adventure
G'day mate, it's your Fair Dinkum traveller who ventures into Asia and around Australia. Stay tuned for epic destinations, great tips and awesome travel stories.Read more...
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Is Your Traveller’s Heart Taking You To South-East Asia?

Is Your Traveller’s Heart Taking You To South-East Asia?

Contributed to Fair Dinkum Traveller

When it comes to planning a weekend break, a lot of people don’t need to invest more than a few hours to research the perfect location and the ideal flight to get there. It’s easy to understand why. Between last minute deals and a getaway that doesn’t require a lot of planning, the click and buy generation is taking over the short holiday market.

There’s no shame about it. After all, sometimes all you need is a quick escape out of everyday routine to recharge your batteries. It doesn’t really matter where you’re going if you’re only going to spend a couple of days there. It’s all about not being at home – or at work for that matter – and instead enjoying the taste of life elsewhere, far away from your daily worries. It’s the quick beach break, the cultural city getaway, or the outlandish countryside weekend.

However, there comes a time when you want something else from your holiday, when it needs to be more than a quick bubble of peace. You know the feeling: You’re drained and you want to rethink your life priorities and set things in the right order for you. That’s the kind of life crisis that calls for a long holiday where you can immerse yourself in a new culture, mindset and landscape. You can’t just click and book a long holiday without considering the destination carefully. If you want to come back feeling refreshed and enlightened, you need to aim for south-east Asia. The Far East, as it used to be called, is rich in history, adventures and flavours. More importantly, it offers the perfect spiritual platform to question your motives and redefine your life.

 

Time in Laos

Enjoy South-East Asia at its finest like at Patuxai War Monument in Vientiane, Laos.

 

The countries of south-east Asia

If you haven’t got a map of the world at hand, south-east Asia is a subregion of Asia that refers to all countries that are situated in a region south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. For simplicity, it’s said to consists of what used to be Indochina, and the historical East Indies and Malay Archipelago. Geographically, it’s the equivalent of about 8.5% of the world’s population, which makes it the third most populous region in the world – the two others being south Asia and east Asia. In other words, if you’re going to south-east Asia for a taste of isolation, you might have picked the wrong part of the world for that. But the region has a lot to offer in terms of tourism, history and even business if you’re looking to start a new life elsewhere.

 

South-East Asia travellers heart

Lara Croft’s temple in Cambodia

 

INDOCHINA

The French influence in Vietnam

Vietnam was one of France’s most profitable colonial possessions after the country gain control over the North of Vietnam as a result of a victory in the Sino-French War of 1883-1884. As with any colony around the world; the themes of exploitation of raw materials, workforce and other natural resources are to be expected. But the French rule has left in Vietnam a variety of historical architecture and customs that give the country its particular attitude. In fact, French architecture is so dominant that the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Hoi An and Hanoi. More interestingly, this isn’t the only vestige of a colonialist past in Vietnam. Indeed, according to https://theculturetrip.com, you can find a culinary influence from patisseries to restaurants in most of the country. In fact, if you’re looking to start your career in the gastronomy industry and learn from the best chefs, Vietnam is definitely the place to be.

 

Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh City – Vietnam.

 

Thailand, a beautiful country that is shut to foreign opportunities

If you want to enjoy more beaches and less colonialist guilt, take a trip to wild Thailand, and especially Khao Lak. Why there? Because it’s a little less than two hours’ drive from the Island of Phuket, but it benefits from a peaceful and relaxing environment. You won’t find the crowd of tourists you expect so that you can have the sunset, the sandy beaches and the resorts almost to yourself. It’s a little bubble of paradise that awaits you every year between November and May in this area of Thailand. However, you may find it difficult to make a living in Thailand, even if you fall in love with the country and decide to stay. There are very little business opportunities for non-native citizens as a Thai-born person has to own the majority of a company. Only US citizens can own up to 100% of a company in Thailand, but they still need a minimum capital first.

 

Koh Samui

Koh Samui – Thailand.

 

A taste of Lara Croft in Cambodia

If you still remember Angelina Jolie exploring the ruins of a temple in Tomb Raider, then you’ll be pleased to know that you can find these temples in Cambodia. Admittedly; since Angelina went running there in her tiny shorts, the place is crawling with tourists. But with a good guide, you can still see everything and revive your old Lara Croft’s memories. If you’re ready to get up early, you can visit the magnificent Sunrise at Angkor Wat – although be ready to be there before 5:30 am. You can find the famous Tomb Raider’s temple, Ta Prohm, with its intertwined tree roots too. You won’t have much difficulty to imagine life in Cambodia if you’re not afraid to downsize a bit. In fact, a couple of American tourists have made Cambodia their home since 2015 and despite low earnings – less than $35,000 a year – they have all they need. They’re the happiest they’ve ever been in Phnom Penh.

 

Start your spiritual journey in Laos

What if you just want a spiritual awakening for your holiday? Laos is often described as a mystical country by those who have visited it. The most important thing that tourists will tell you about the country is that it remains completely outside the spotlight. There’s barely any tourists in Laos, which means that you can take a good look at ancient Buddhist temples without getting up at dawn to avoid the crowd. Consequently, it’s a great place to find out more about Buddhism and exploring your spiritual side at your own pace. Make sure to attend the Luang Prabang ceremony in northern Laos before you leave. Every morning the monks walk in town to collect the food offerings. You can ask the locals how to participate.

 

South-East Asia - Laos

Temple in Laos

 

The city of the many pagodas and temples in Myanmar

Another great place to explore your spiritual side is Myanmar, and especially Yangon, the city that has some of the oldest pagodas and temples in the country. Some are even believed to date back to the lifetime of Gautama Buddha over 2500 years ago. The oldest pagoda in Burma, the Shwedagon is a 99 metre-high stupa that is entirely covered in gold. It’s a place of pilgrimage for many Buddhists as it enshrines a hair relic of Siddhartha Gautama. You can see it from anywhere in town, and it’s impossible not to feel its aura. If you find your calling in Myanmar and are wondering about staying and embracing a new lifestyle, you might be interested in reading this interview http://www.goaway.sg/life-in-myanmar that explains how the expat life feels like in Yangon. As a general rule, locals are friendly and will go out of their way to help you. Besides, you can experience a frontier market in a Buddhist culture, which makes it both challenging and peaceful at the same time.

 

EAST INDIES & MALAY ARCHIPELAGO

Indonesia, the melting pot of cuisines and cultures

There is no bigger melting pot in south-east Asian than in Indonesia. Jakarta, home to 10 million people, offers a tour of colonial architectures, live music venues and fine dining restaurants, all within a few yards from each other. Needless to say that there’s a lot to see and experience in Indonesia, from a metropole culture in Jakarta to UNESCO-listed national parks and volcanoes to hike up on Java. If you love the creative juxtaposition of cultures, wildlife, and without mentioning the world’s biggest Buddhist temple, you’ll be happy to know that the house prices are low: https://rumahdijual.com/. In fact, you can buy a manor house with garden for the price of a small family home in the UK.

 

South-East Asia - Java

Buddhist temple on Java

 

The country of the thousands of islands

With over 7,000 islands to choose from, you know that visiting the Philippines will be an adventurous experience. In fact, for most people, it can be difficult to know where to start, but here’s a little overview of the best sites to see. El Nido, for Pinoy travellers, offers one of the world’s most picture-perfect seascapes, without mentioning its fantastic limestone cliffs. If you’re wondering what Heaven looks like, El Nido might be the closest thing you’ll find to it. If you want a feel for the old history of the place, spend some time in the UNESCO-listed town, Vigan where the Spanish architecture continues to tell the tales of the past. However, you can forget any dream of making your life in the Philippines: Foreigners are not allowed to own property.

Whether you want to reboot your life or just to clear your mind, south-east Asia offers a multitude of landscapes, spiritual encounters, fascinating cultural backgrounds and exciting business opportunities to help you on the way. All you need is to pack your luggage and start your self-discovery tour.

 

Bang Nieng Khoa Lak

Enjoy South-East Asia at its best like at this Khao Lak Markets.

About Your fair Dinkum Traveller

Anthony Jury

Anthony Jury

Your Aussie - Asia Adventure
G'day mate, it's your Fair Dinkum traveller who ventures into Asia and around Australia. Stay tuned for epic destinations, great tips and awesome travel stories.Read more...
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The Lasting Volunteer Memories of my Time in Laos

The Lasting Volunteer Memories of my Time in Laos

It’s been a few months now since my volunteering days in Laos concluded and quite often I find myself thinking back to the days of teaching English in Laos. Often those volunteer memories come flooding back as I reflect on what I enjoyed most when assisting in helping others have the basic understanding of the tricky English language (even myself I find it tricky!!!).

Time in Laos

Teaching English to the monks in Laos.

I think back to the memories that were created and as to be expected there were a number of special memories that always stick in the mind. Lasting memories from the experience of teaching English to the monks and learning how human and downright cheeky they really are. To teaching the primary students and the challenge of keeping the young minds interested, while frantically making a dill out of myself.

All fantastic experiences I will admit.

 

I can tell you now that it wasn’t the repetitive food we had at the Green Lion Organisation, or dorm style setup that didn’t provide any air-conditioning just a fan or two and made a good night sleep near on impossible. But heck, that was what we signed up for, to live in 3rd world kind of conditions, so we could really appreciate the gimmicks and comforts that were left back home.

 

Volunteer memories

The lasting Volunteer Memories of my Time in Laos.

 

So, what volunteer memories really sticks out the most?

 

The single memory that does come to the memory bank often, amongst a lot of cherished memories, was the time spent with the fellow volunteers. A bunch of men and women of all ages who were in the country for the very same purpose as everyone else, which was to give back to the world, where the help was needed most.

Volunteer memories

Fellow volunteers.

It is the greatest unknown when entering a volunteer house for the first time, what kind of people will I be volunteering with? It is one thing you can’t control, especially if going into the journey on your own, which I did on this occassion.

The questions run through your head, what nationality will they be? Will I get along with them? Do they have a sense of humour? What if I room with someone who annoys me or worse snores? Most times the thoughts are negative, that is human nature to have a little fear when entering the unknow, and to be honest those feelings should be quite the opposite as for any worry I had leading into my trip to Laos was unfounded.

Remember this little fact, each volunteer you meet has paid good money for the experience, it is not cheap. Whether is it teaching English or roughing it outdoors while constructing a building, they are all there for the common cause, to lend a helping hand. Therefore, each volunteer who you come across are honest, good folk who just want to assist in whatever way is required at the time.

Volunteer memories

Fellow volunteers and the hosts in Laos.

It was the same for my own experience in Laos, people came to the Green Lion Volunteer organisation from all over the world, there were people from France, Malaysia, Denmark, Holland, England and Canada. I was the sole Australian.

Whatever the nationalities and personality differences there may have been, it didn’t matter, I got along with each volunteer. We participated in sport, played cards, drank beer and sang karaoke. The whole time was a blast, even if there was a few boring down times, that just meant we had to pick each other up and get through the dull periods by saying something stupid to create a little laughter.

Time in Laos

Fellow volunteers at the Patuxai War Monument in Vientiane Laos.

What blew me away the most was the age difference, I got there expecting volunteers of all ages and that I heard is generally the case. Except not during my time in Laos, at the tender age of 35 (which I still find quite youthful), I was the oldest volunteer in my tenure by at least ten years with most other volunteers being college students and under the age of twenty-two.

At first it concerned me. I mean my own kids were not that much younger, thankfully the fears were put to rest quite early, because I quickly learnt that age was no barrier, we all got along and acted as youthful as one another, sure they partied longer than myself in Vang Vieng on the weekend, but that suited me just fine to have a little me time.

Volunteer memories

All smiles in Laos as memories are created.

Anyway, I marvel at the fellow volunteers I had the honour of meeting during my time in Laos with a lot of respect to them. To meet people so young but performing an honest deed and paying good money for the experience, including flights, was a real credit to them and for that there was a lot of respect.

When the program came to an end in Laos, you came to the sad realisation that it would probably be the last time you see any of them again, except for on Facebook, where everyone befriended each other. At the end of the day one common thing will always stick around, there were lasting volunteer memories that will always stay in the mind of the good and wild times that were had in Laos.

check out other articles from my volunteering experience in Laos.

An Epic journey of a Volunteer in Laos.

Why you should consider Volunteering abroad?

What to expect when Volunteering abroad.

Volunteer memories

Good times were had with a few Lao Beers in the evening.

 

 

time in Laos

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Anthony Jury

Anthony Jury

Your Aussie - Asia Adventure
G'day mate, it's your Fair Dinkum traveller who ventures into Asia and around Australia. Stay tuned for epic destinations, great tips and awesome travel stories.Read more...

3 Awesome Inland Destinations to Visit in Southeast Asia

3 Awesome Inland Destinations to Visit in Southeast Asia

When you think of Southeast Asia the instant thought process is beautiful beaches, palms trees and sipping cocktails all day long without a single care in the world. However, there is no need to exclude those inland destinations that often get neglected when planning your next holiday to the famous tourist region of Asia.

Visiting towns away from the coast line does not mean paradise is instantly taken away, in fact, at times it could be the preferred option. When it comes to choosing any amounts of Inland Destinations in Southeast Asia, the choices are plentiful and you are quite spoilt for options when doing your research. How about a lending hand, below are three inland destinations that must be given every consideration amongst many other splendid locations in Southeast Asia.

A man and his bull

Inland Destinations in Southeast Asia.

3 Awesome Inland Destinations to visit in Southeast Asia

Da Lat, Vietnam

Vietnam is full of chaotic cities and glorious coastlines but in the Central Highlands of Southern Vietnam there is another little secret that’s ready to be explored. Da Lat, is the city I am referring to and it is the picturesque scenery, beautiful lakes and a unique township that makes Da Lat a city that needs every traveller’s attention.

Inland Destination

Inland Destination – Da lat, Vietnam.

What’s to like about Da Lat

–          The picturesque scenery –

Within the Da Lat area or the outskirts, the region is full stunning scenery that gives Da Lat its breathtaking views, add the abundance of natural water features and it becomes a photographer’s dream.

Day tours are naturally very popular in the area and a full day exploring the region is the best way to make the most of the outdoors in Da Lat. Hiring a personal driver is the cheapest and most efficient option to get full value in the day.

Da Lat

Ho Xuan Lake in Da Lat.

Where to go

There are plenty of attractions in Da Lat to go and see, like an amazing bakery in down town Da Lat, a host of Buddhist temples and a magnificent flower centre for those who love colour in their life. Here are a few priorities whenever you reach destination Da Lat.

–          Explore the waterfalls –

Da Lat is full of lively waterfalls with many falls situated far and wide in the surrounding region. Grab a personal driver or hire a car and see as many waterfalls as time allows. The popular falls are the Elephant and Datanla Waterfalls, but take a pick.

Da Lat, Vietnam

Elephant Waterfalls in Da Lat, Vietnam.

–          The Da Lat Flower Centre –

Buzzing with glamor and colour, the Da Lat Flower Centre needs no convincing to be on the list of attractions. A short taxi ride or a decent stroll (preferred) from the city centre, the flower centre is full of various plants, flowers and inside attractions.

–          Da Lat Cathedral –

Even if you are not religious, you will love the light coloured Cathedral of Da Lat, that is a popular attractions for all travellers. No entrance fee is required to go inside the grounds of the Cathedral and a few pictures are bound to be taken, for good reason too.

Da Lat Cathedral

Da Lat Cathedral

Where to Stay

Budget stays and boutique hotels are everywhere in Da Lat and if you are travelling with a family, you can save heaps of dollars by staying at the Nguyen Minh Hostel, the hostel contains private rooms, good location, reasonable bedding and all for only $20-dollars a night.

Inland destinations - Da lat

Ngyuyen Minh Hostel in Da Lat.

Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Ubud in Bali is bustling town that is full of life and character. About an hour inland from the tourist hotspot in Kuta, you don’t always need a beach to enjoy paradise in Bali, not when you have epic shopping, lively streets and stunning resorts with gorgeous pools take in the Bali heat.

Ubud

Inland Destinations – Ubud, Bali.

What’s to like

–          A vibrant cultural township –

A vibrant culture hits you at once upon reaching your destination. Fine temples, an abundance of rice fields, traditional dances and busy streets with lots going on, is the masterpiece that makes Ubud popular for all tourists.

inland destinations Ubud

The markets in Ubud Bali.

Where to go

Culture shows, market places, temples and many more places to see in Ubud, below is a list that is a must in this vibrant, Balinese town.

–          Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary –

Flock to the Sanctuary where the monkeys are out in full force and will at times attempt to jump on you. Not only a nice stroll in a magical forest with monkeys, inside there are wonderful temple structures to gaze your eyes upon as well. All for a small entrance fee.

Monkey forest temple

Temple with in the forest

–          Tegallalang Rice Terrace –

The gorgeous rice paddies fields and the surrounding scenery will get your camera clicking frantically as capture images so beautiful. No beaches in Ubud, but the Tegallalang is more than a fitting alternative.

–          Balinese Legong Dance –

Nothing says culture in Ubud like the traditional Balinese Legong Dances, that has all sorts of costumes and creatures coming out at night, including beautiful women in a traditional Bali dress. These performances can be found in a couple of locations at different times in the evening and locals are giving away flyers at every corner.

Inland destinations

Balinese Legong dance.

Where to Stay

Magnificent Resorts make up most of the accommodations in Ubud and it can be quite costly. Anyway, do your homework and you will find suitable accommodation for any required budget. A stunner of a resort in Ubud is the Alaya Resort, great restaurants, stunning gardens and beautifully interior designed rooms that makes Alaya the pick of the crop when seeking a luxury stay.

inland destinations

The Alaya Resort in Ubud, Bali.

Vientiane, Laos

When Laos is a landlocked country, any city or town within the borders will obviously be an inland destination. Vientiane is the pick of a lot, mainly because it is such a fascination to visit a Southeast Asian capital city where the population is modest and the streets are not saturated with pedestrians and motor-bikes.

inland destinations Southeast Asia

Inland destinations – Vientiane Laos

What’s to like about Vientiane

–          The Laid-back Nature of a City –

Being a less populated city, it is enjoyable to be able to walk down the streets with freedom, unlike other over populated cities in Southeast Asia. In Vientiane, you can cross the road without any major fears of getting run down and walk the markets without every shop owner begging you to buy their items.

The Laidback nature of Vientiane allows you to cool off with a relaxing beer in the bar, easy access throughout the city either by foot or a tuc-tuc and enjoy local cuisine without the need to rush. It’s Vientiane and you are in their time now.

Morning prayer in Laos

Morning prayer in a Laos Buddhist Temple in Vientiane, Laos.

Where to go

Lots to see and do in Vientiane, Laos with many temples, palaces, parks and attractions on offer, below is a list of many of must see attractions.

–          Patuxai War Monument –

The Patuxai War Monument stands proud in central Vientiane for all to see. A monument built to celebrate the country’s independence from France in the 1950’s, gather to the fine landmark and capture 360-views of the city from the top.

Inland destinations

The Patuxai War Monument in Vientiane, Laos.

–          Ban Anou Night Markets –

Opened from five every evening of the day, The Night Markets are one of the finest you’ll see. A vibrant atmosphere with good affordable products on offer, where you can also local street food and enjoy river walks by the Mekong River.

–          The Golden Palace –

One of the finest Buddhist temples in the city with plenty of historical buildings that will occupy the photo album. The Golden Palace will take most of your attention with its stunning colour and large presence a clear standout.

The Golden Palace

The Golden Palace in Vientiane, Laos.

Where to Stay

Vientiane is full of affordable hotels or cheap hostels spread out through the city. The Inter City Hotel has spacious rooms and comfortable beds and is as good as it gets if you want a hotel room with all the comforts. The Hotel overlooks the Mekong River and Night Markets, with café’s, Bor Pen Yang rooftop bar and restaurants within close vicinity.

Intercity Hotel

Intercity Hotel, Vientiane, Laos

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Anthony Jury

Anthony Jury

Your Aussie - Asia Adventure
G'day mate, it's your Fair Dinkum traveller who ventures into Asia and around Australia. Stay tuned for epic destinations, great tips and awesome travel stories.Read more...

The Tragic Tale Of Clusters Bombs in the Country of Laos

The Tragic Tale Of Clusters Bombs in the Country of Laos

Every country in the entire world has a story to tell in its long history, whether it is the good, the bad or simply tragic beyond any words. War has divided world for years and the sad truth it will continue down that sorrow path. For the land locked country of Laos in Southeast Asia, cluster bombs were tragic tale of war that claimed innocent lives and is still doing so to this day.

If you visit Vientiane City in Laos, be sure to stop by the COPE visitor centre, not only is it a source of artificial limbs and walking aids in the country, it holds a detailed museum that discusses the tragedy of Laos and its people during the Vietnam war and the following years. It is compulsory viewing to enter the movie room and watch feature length documentary on how the bombs destroyed villagers and their children.

COPE museum

COPE Visitor Centre

 

What are cluster bombs?

A single Cluster bomb is about the size of a tennis ball, the bomblets are then cased together into a larger bomb and ready to be air-dropped. Upon being released from the War planes, hundreds of bomblets are separated from their casing and cause explosion on impact, fatally destroying their intended target. Check out WIKI for more details.

cluster bombs

Cluster Bombs on Dispaly at COPE.

 

How it affected the Lives of Villagers

The problem, apart from the cruel act of war, was during the Vietnam war of the 1960’s and 70’s, the US dropped the cluster bombs over Laos, largely because they didn’t want to bring them back to base in Thailand. Millions of the cluster bombs didn’t detonate on impact and tragically the bombs remained live, buried and hidden from the locals who continued to live and farm in the area.

The villagers needed to farm and the children needed to play and in the years following the War, many lives were lost due to impact with the bomb with gardening tools such as a gardening rake or a shovel. Even uneducated children out having fun had contacted the bomb and were tragically killed or injured in the explosion.

If the bombs didn’t kill, at times the limbs were lost from the explosion and that is how the COPE Visitor Centre came about in 1997. A dedicated area for those who need artificial limbs and help in getting back to some sort of function with walking aids and wheelchairs.

 

COPE

Artificial limbs on display at Cope.

 

What has been done to make it right

To the United States credit, in the following years after the war, a lot of money was put into the project and teams were sent in to recover the undetonated bombs. The good news is the detonation rate has improved, but still to this day many cluster bombs remain live and buried in the soils of Laos.

To end the sombre article on a positive note, in 2016, Barack Obama became the first American President to visit Laos for the Southeast Asia summit and made a $90 million-dollar pledge to clear the unexploded bombs.

For great facts about the Cluster Bombs, check out this detailed website, or even better visit the COPE Museum in Vientiane and find out the tragic details for yourself. I know it left an ache in my own heart but it was great to learn about the history of a nation.

Laos War

Weapons of War

cluster bombs

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Anthony Jury

Anthony Jury

Your Aussie - Asia Adventure
G'day mate, it's your Fair Dinkum traveller who ventures into Asia and around Australia. Stay tuned for epic destinations, great tips and awesome travel stories.Read more...

The Blue Lagoon in Vang Vieng – Laos

The Blue Lagoon in Vang Vieng – Laos

It’s the perfect healing therapy from the unforgiving Laos heat, relaxing in the cool fresh waters of The Blue Lagoon in the stunning Vang Vieng area. It refreshes the body and the mind like no other, cooling off in the shade of the overhanging trees that keeps the water refreshing at all times and quite a chill when you first step in.

The Blue Lagoon caps off most day trips that take place in Vang Vieng, whether it is kayaking the Nam Song River, ziplining in the hills or hiking the fabulous outdoors. After a hard slog during the peak of the heat during the day, The Blue Lagoon is the perfect conclusion before heading back to the town at night for a couple of cold Lao’ beers.

The blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon in Vang Vieng, Laos

 

Getting there

As previously mentioned, The Blue Lagoon can be included on any, very affordable, day trips that are on offer in Vang Vieng. Get down to a travel agent, there are plenty in the area, and check out any deals that include or only include The Blue Lagoon. Either that or get your own way there with various taxis, tuc tuc’s or bikes available in the area.
Staying in Vang Vieng? Check out TripAdvisor for hotels.

Blue Lagoon Vang Vieng

Cooling off in the Blue Lagoon.

 

What to do at The Blue Lagoon

  • Chill in the fresh water: It may come as a horrific fright when you first touch the cold water, but you soon get used to it as you take in the crowds of nationalities around you and marvel in the scenery, then you can sit back and take in the nature around you.

    The Blue Lagoon Laos

    Relax in the cool waters.

  • Splash around: Swinging on the rope and landing in the water, jumping on the tyre, or conquering your fear of heights and jumping off the big branch while making a splash in the water, there is plenty of splash to be had in The Blue Lagoon, whether you’re an adult or a kid in the shallower waters.

    splashing at the Lagoon

    Having a splash.

  • Sunbake in the huts: Had enough of the water in the overcrowded Lagoon and need a little siesta in the Laos sun. Get in quick and grab a hut, roll out the large beach towel and have a little snooze in the afternoon sun, just don’t forget to apply the sunscreen.Heading to Vang Vieng? Check out this guide to the picturesque town.
Vang Vieng

Picturesque Views of Vang Vieng.

Lagoon Vang Vieng

Get ready to jump off a tree.

 

 

 

 

The Blue Lagoon

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About Your fair Dinkum Traveller

Anthony Jury

Anthony Jury

Your Aussie - Asia Adventure
G'day mate, it's your Fair Dinkum traveller who ventures into Asia and around Australia. Stay tuned for epic destinations, great tips and awesome travel stories.Read more...