It is time to say, “Goodbye Laos”. Sad to leave, but happy I came and took the opportunity to see this fascinating country. But before I do jet off and head back home to Australia, I had the chance to have one more decent look at the country’s capital, Vientiane.
It is a city like no other but one worth exploring and getting to know. Here is my last entry into Laos Diaries
The highlights of days 15-17
Quite simply, volunteering and teaching English was one of the greatest experiences in my life. Meeting the smiling school kids, the monks with a crazy sense of humour and the fellow volunteers who I had built a great friendship with during my stay at the Green Lion volunteer house. It was a special two weeks that will always be remembered as one of my favourite travel memories and it was sad to leave the house.
From the volunteer house, I still had two nights left in Vientiane, before a final Goodbye Laos. I stayed at the Intercity Hotel, located right near the Mekong River, with Thailand in full sight. It was quite pretty picture.
The hotel looked crap on the outside but surprisingly the interior inside was quite decorated and of quality. The rooms were spacious, with A/C, large bed, good shower, television and a balcony in some rooms, with the Mekong and power lines in full view. As far as $50 a night rooms ago, the Intercity Hotel was certainly top value for the dollar.
Bor Pen Yang Rooftop Bar
One of the best bars in Laos which I stumbled into by chance. Stylish, laidback, good music, cheap food and beer on the tap. It has everything you need of a bar with good views around you and the bubbly night markets below. The atmosphere never gets too wild and there is no heavy music where conversation is impossible.
The Bor Pen Yang bar was so good that I went back twice. Of course, I could have explored Vientiane for another great diking hole, but then again it is hard to find a bar with a relaxing atmosphere. Check it out when in Vientiane, you will find it close to the Mekong River and at the doorstep to the Night Markets. In fact, just look for the large Carlsberg advertisement.
Strolling Vientiane Again
The first time in Vientiane was short lived, this time it was good to be able to spend a good amount of time, by foot, exploring the capital city a little more thoroughly. It is an interesting city, if it can be called that, there are no high-rises, although China is making their way into the city with a few modern features built and on its way.
Let’s recap a few places of interest, I visited in Vientiane, Laos on this occasion.
– Ho Phra Keo Museum: A stunning temple design with a lovely garden display on the outside. Wandering the boutique but very beautiful temple grounds will leave you refreshed and mesmerised being in a temple that was built in 1565 for the Emerald Buddha.
– Sisaket Museum: Only across the road from the Ho Phra Keo, Sisaket is another proud temple that was built in 1818. Sisaket comes with an amazing architecture design, that is unique from other temples in Vientiane. The main temple, stands tall amongst the surrounding terraces and any lover of temples will be delighted to get their camera out for a photo or two. Both temples have an entrance fee of about a dollar.
– Vientiane Centre: Built by the Chinese, The Vientiane Centre is a modern shopping centre, with great shops, café’s, food court and a major cinema complex. Great to escape the Laos heat for a few hours.
– King Anouvong Statue: Situated at the Chao Anouvong Park by the Mekong, this statue represents the king who led the rebellion as the last Monarch of the Kingdom of Lao. Good to see for a photo opportunity.
– Night Markets: Also situated at the Chao Anouvong Park, the night markets are full of life, and comes with a lot of decent affordable merchandise. It is great stroll through the outdoor night markets, with the luxury of not being hounded by the stall owners to buy stuff. A rare luxury in Southeast Asia.
Always sad to say goodbye to a country, especially one you grow very fond of. As much as I loved my stay in Laos, I missed my family back home very much and it is great to be getting back to them. Laos is a very different country to what I have visited in Southeast Asia and I do recommend if given the chance to visit, to take that chance. I will be back to Laos someday and I am sure it will change a heck of a lot in the years to come as it develops and modernises. But for now, it is goodbye Laos.
Check out Laos Diaries: Days 10-14 – Teaching English
Heading to Vientiane, Laos? Check out TripAdvisor for hotels.