friendly warning : this is boring. its not you Vientiane; its me. lol
i woke up in a beautiful island named Phi Phi. and as usual, i woke up late. that morning, i was bound to Laos; Vientiane.
that day, i was supposed to take the boat to Phuket then a plane to Udon Thani then a bus, or whatever, to cross the border to Laos. i was not following any strict itineraries at this time of the trip. one of the perks of long travels. the plan was to wake up early before 6am to take pictures of sun-up along the beach. walk around. jog a little( lol). then, breakfast. a subtle plan for a somber morning.
but due to my defected body clock- it has something to do with the brain i guess- my brain was buzzed 3 hours later. at 8:30 i was still curled up in bed in a room at the foot of the hill 1 zillion miles away from the port where my boat ride awaited. so i skipped the whole-somber morning plan, instead i was forced to a mad-frantic-dash. i flashpacked all my stuff, showered, got to the pier at 9am. one minute later and i shouldve been subjected for rebooking charges for my ticket.
Crossing to Vientiane
the plane arrived in Udon Thani Airport early. the van terminal bound for Thai-Laos border- the Friendship bridge- easily. they are in the right just outside of the arrival area, conveniently situated. once i was in the van i started figuring out how to reach Vientiane since i have no itinerary, no map, no plans yet.
i was lucky to have ridden in the van with some helpful though shady characters. theres this lovely woman who was very kind enough to elaborate on how i can reach Vientiane and how to go around and enjoy the Lao Capital. she was beautiful and poise like a beauty queen. there was a certain grace in how she spoke and moved.. i carried her styrofoam box full of seafoods as we alighted the van down to the Thai immigration, passport stamped, then took the bus that crosses the friendship bridge to the Laos border. we met some people she knew in the bus which was good because that meant additional people to split the taxi fare with. From the friendship bridge, it is still a fair distance to Vientiane.
one of the guys appealed a little shady to me- literally and figuratively lol. he wore sunglasses inside the van and it was already past 6pm, past sunset so it was already dark. he and his friend are from Udon and they are headed to Vientiane just for a night out. an out-of-the-country night out, technically. beer is cheap, theres a casino, girls are cheaper compare to the ones in Thai, and hotels are cheap too he said. we decided to meet up later that night.
the guys in the van were kind enough to argue on where is the best accomodation for me. lol. they dropped me in Mixay.
Vientiane = Beer Lao
Mixay is a good option in Vientiane. rates are on the cheap side($5/bed). friendly staff. free breakfast. great location.
I met Mike and Jake, both Aussies who happened to be in the same dorm. they were travelling south east Asia riding in bicycles. from the looks of their soiled backpacks alone, they sure had been to a lot of rough and rugged roads. i share the same passion in two-wheels.
i rented one for myself to explore the place. Vientiane is the national Capital but with a small town feel. most probably, because, uhm, it is small.
its a mellow option to kickstart a backpacking trip around the country.
bike rent is less than two-dollars. its a perfect way to explore the neat and laidback urbanscape. though it gets tricky maneuvering it in the highways. the leisure stride suddenly becomes like one traversing an obstacle course. motorcycles and other vehicles seem not be fond much of traffic rules. they run in high speeds and tend not to stop in red lights at times. i almost got run over in several occasions.
i love the food scene in this city. streetfoods are in abundance; cheap and clean( for my standards). come mealtime, i always go for places crowded with locals. and 90% of the time its these noodle houses that attract lots of patrons. i love Pho and they have good versions of it here, though i try to shy away from soups for lunch since its humid but i found myself chugging down bowls nonetheless. and it would end up with bowl of sweat everytime.
i love their barbecue, subtle flavors. it goes well with their sticky rice.
and of course the best part of Lao… is Beer Lao. its not because the place is not beautiful, its just that the beer is really good. it has a good resemblance to Gold Eagle beer( my official beer when i was still living in Boracay)
**met Alex & Paeson on this trip which became good friends.
***no misadventures on this trip. it bores me a bit to look back on experiences with no hassles/drama. though, its also good, for a change =)
since its a boring a post. i am going to try to be helpful at least. lol
-there are vans from Udon Thani that goes to Lao border. terminal is just outside of the airport arrival area.
-there are buses that cross Thai border-Lao border. 20,000 kips
-you can share a ride with fellow travellers in the taxi ride from Lao border(friendship bridge) to Vientiane. there are local buses but not available late afternoon onwards.
-Mixay dorm room rate(2011) is less than $5 USD
-Bicycle daily rent is 8,000 kips(around 1USD)
-there are vans/buses that go straight to Chiang Mai. travel time is roughly 12hrs. bus exchange at the border