The Unimpressive Capital – Vientiane

After our great welcome to the country in Pakse, and a couple of nights in Thakek in central Laos, we made it to Vientiane. I had heard rather dull things about this place but, of course, was willing to give it a go. We arrived after a 7 hour bus, negotiated with a tuk tuk and thought we would be in town in no time. 1 hour later, we were finally dropped off and he then tried to charge us more than what we had decided with him. Then, he point blank refused to give us our change. Not the best start to the capital. We checked into our hotel room, which contained our rather comfortable double bed, for the 3 of us. Cosy.

My first impressions on the capital were rather uninspiring, it wasn’t exactly inviting nor was it charming like many other places in Asia. We got a massage, Brad got laughed at because of his giant feet and we had a fix of Western food. The best part about the visit (aside from leaving for somewhere rather more beautiful) was our visit to the Cope Museum. It is a small museum center that teaches its visitors about the unbelievable and hideous history of the country’s war with UXOs that leave Laos scarred beyond belief. A thoroughly interesting way to spend an hour or two if you are even slightly interested in the plight that is still a daily struggle to far too many Laotions.

There are other things to do in the capital – temples, museums etc but we had seen more temples than I care to remember and been to more museums that temples. A couple of days in the city is enough. If you don’t expect a beautiful capital full of culture, buzzing with activity and pots to do, then you won’t be dissapointed.

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