We left Bali on 6th December and flew to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
One of the things we did during our three days there was check our P.O. Box and, happily there was actually stuff in it – replacement bank cards (stolen when my bag was snatched) – and a few other things we’d been expecting. It works ! 👍
A 45 minute flight to Vientiane and we were back in one of our favourite Asian countries.
The last time we were in Laos was 2008. Back then you had to get your visa in advance, there were no ATMs and it was very difficult to hire any sort of vehicle. How things have changed in such a short time!
Arriving in Vientiane, we handed over 1 passport photo each, the immigration forms (which we’d downloaded and filled in in advance) and in no time, had our 30 day visa.
We stayed at the IBIS Vientiane. Not the most beautiful building in the World, but very centrally located, a good price and comfortable.
The IBIS is one of the many hotels that didn’t exist 8 years ago along with loads of great restaurants and ATM machines on every corner. It may have grown but Vientiane is still one of the most friendly, laid-back capital cities we’ve ever been to.
The French influence is very strong here and fortunately for us, is reflected in the restaurants.
And it doesn’t stop at French, we ate the best pizza we’ve ever eaten anywhere. Then of course there’s the Laos kitchen. Lots of fresh veg, enough chilli to make your eyes water and your nose run: Spicy green papaya salad (Tam Mak Houng), spicy pork sausages (Sai Oua) and my favourite – Larb which consists of meat flavoured with lime juice, fish sauce, and fresh herbs. All washed down with ice cold beer loa🍻😄. And best of all, it costs a pittance!
Our week was over in no time and it was a quick 40 minute flight North to Luang Prabang.
Staying at the lovely Apsara Hotel.
The city is a World Heritage Site and absolutely beautiful.
Most of the city consists of four main roads on a peninsula between the Nam Khan and Mekong Rivers. Young Buddhist monks wander the streets, temples and monastries abound, wonderful old wooden buildings and street markets. The whole place is just very calm and serene.
We expected it to be really busy, but were pleasantly surprised. Not much traffic, not too many tourists and Christmas is very low key.
Once again, the World proved to be a small place when we bumped into another ex-colleague in the centre of Luang Prabang. We hadn’t seen Hans Hesseling and wife Hanni since he retired in 2008, so it was good to meet them again.
And finally, a bit of Christmas spirit from the Mekong
Tomorrow (27th) we fly South to Pakse and then on to the 4000 Islands.