Laos: Vientiane and Vang Vieng
Updated: Feb 8, 2019
Our arrival in Vientiane was late and we made our way to the Villa Manoly - a bit of an eccentric throwback to the 50’s or 60’s. Seriously, we felt like we were being spied on, or just was odd. The owner negotiated with me for the rooms, she’s apparently owned it for a long time but is desperately in need of a facelift. This would be a fun business opportunity for an intrepid soul! I wish we’d taken more pictures of it…funny it seemed like the pool boy was busier than the rest of staff put together.
Anyway, we were out and about soon after (and found some fantastic coffee here…mmmm!). Wat Si Saket was the first of many Wats we would see in our Laos progression. Beautiful, really old and very untouristed. Some extremely beautiful wood carvings from 15th century, nicely restored too.
Afterwards we wandered up to the central area of Vientiane - they have a big faux-Arc de Triomphe, which of course we proceeded to climb. Great views but a bit Soviet in style…
That seemed like enough for the crew, back to Manoly for a bit of down time.
Next day we walked to COPE, where they assist with the massive numbers of limbs lost due to the US bombing in the 70’s. It is pretty crazy the volume of ordinance that we dropped on Laos, that most Americans have no perspective on. Alas they power was out so we couldn’t watch the films, but the displays and descriptions were powerful and moving.
Making our way to the next city, Vang Vieng, oddly we decided to walk to the hotel after a long bus ride - 25 minutes, ugh. We had to walk over the toll bridge, barely larger than a car wide - and we had to pay the toll when walking!
Anyway, at least when we get to the hotel Kong (owned conveniently by Beer Lao) they have a bunch of beer ready to go. The white is actually pretty good, the “hoppy” is ok, and the rest are like Bud. The hotel rooms are made out of old shipping containers, we had a sweet setup with a big upstairs and two bedrooms downstairs. And we found a “toll free” walking bridge - which we took to Mangos for some delish mango foods...
Up early the next morning for caves, kayaking, zip lining and swimming. The scenery is spectacular as the karsts surround the town. We got everyone back in the truck for a jumpy ride…