Sal’s Travelogue #6 – Far, Yet Familiar

Fresh of his adventures exploring Pakse on a rented motorcycle, our writer Sal heads on a sleeper bus towards Vientiane. Here he shares his exploration of Vientiane, an urban landscape in stark contrast to his previous few adventures.

Vientiane’s urban landscape was a stark contrast to the rural sights of Laos. Arriving at the capital city, we were immediately caught up by its energetic tones of activity and the colorful, complex flavors of everyday life. Vientiane is is a hub for dining and entertainment, and it was easy to find a good accommodation at a reasonable price. We settled at Yong Chun guesthouse’s air-conditioned double room, a steal at approximately US$7.5 a night, split between the three of us.

Compared to 40km walks and hitchhiking, the luxuries of fast food, restaurant cuisine and air conditioning were temptations hard to resist. Needless to say, our four days in Vientiane involved plenty of indulgence and many awkwardly entertaining games at the city’s bowling alley.

On the western quarter of the city centre, there was a wide array of restaurants serving Chinese food, a luxury I immediately took note of. On our last night in Vientiane, I had the pleasure of introducing the wonders of Peking Duck and Deep Fried Dumplings to the Canadians. The portions were generous, but cheap on the wallets! Our little “feast” cost less than US$18 in total.

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buddha-park

About a forty minute bus ride away from the city’s Talat Sao bus station, we paid a visit to Xiang Khou An, Vientiane’s famous “Buddha Park”. The park plays host to an array of intricate sculptures of various demons and deities, paying homage to the translation behind its name – “Spirit City”. On top of the 5,000 Kip admission fee, be forewarned of a 2,0000 Kip camera fee that you will have to pay. There are plenty of attractions here, so you would definitely want to have your camera with you.

buddha-park-2

From Vientiane, we head towards Vang Vieng, about five hours bus ride away through the hills. We heard a lot of good things about Vang Vieng from other travelers, especially with it being known as a parti-goers haven. We reached just as night fell, and joined by two others – Yuval and Hagar, from Israel.

We were left standing clueless by a wide and open patch of land that was marked as a landing strip on the map. In the distance, we hear deep bass kicks from music we couldn’t really make out. With our curiosity burned, we searched towards the source of music. Little did I know that this place, miles away from home, would strangely resemble the wild late night weekends I was already so familiar with back in Singapore.

Sal’s Travelogue – #1: Solo#2: Saigon Green#3: Detours#4: All Road Leads North#5: Saibadee Pakse

About the Author. Sal S-S. A writer by profession, a free spirit by nature – Sal believes that his life’s one purpose is to see it all, learn it all and do it all. Currently based as a freelance copywriter in Singapore, it is for life’s many unknowns and uncertainties that he sets his sights beyond borders and into new discoveries. Living and working for the journey itself and nothing less, it is with pen in hand and passion at heart that he contributes to Unearthing Asia.

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