Nine Hours in Vientiane

Part 6 of 8

Steve and I thought about altering our itinerary a little bit when we heard how bad the road is from Siem Reap to Poipet (Cambodia-Thailand Border). We thought of going back to Phnom Penh and then take a direct flight to Vientiane. But then, our adventurous sides made us stick to our original itinerary (Well, it was only mine ‘coz Steve dreaded to take the rough road.). I wanted (with Steve’s forceful conscent) to experience the ‘rough road’… So we booked a Camry for US $30 to take us to the border.

We left Siem Reap at 8 a.m. and arrived at Poipet at 1 p.m. The road was not only bad. It was worse than we imagined. In fact, this leg was the worst journey I have ever taken in my entire life. We were lucky that it wasn’t raining while we were on the road. If it were, then we would have experienced being stuck in thick mud.

Our plan was to meet Eak, our Thai friend, in Bangkok, then take the bus together to Vientiane, Laos. Eak assured us that the road from Bangkok to Vientiane is good and that we had nothing to worry about.

We were practically in transit the whole day. We arrived in Bangkok from the Thailand-Cambodia Border at around 7 p.m. and took the bus to Vientiane at 9 p.m. The first class bus that we took compensated for the nightmare we had during the morning. The seats were wide enough to stretch the whole body, which made our journey really comfortable.

We arrived in Vientiane at 9 a.m. the following day where we met with Joy, our Lao friend, who was at that time with my SSEAYP Buddy, Edwin, and another Malaysian friend, Daniel. Joy brought us to the popular Lao noodle restaurant (it doesn’t have a name in English though) where we had our first taste of Lao food.

After breakfast, he drove us to the Lao People’s Army History Museum, where we got a glimpse of history of the country. Then, we visited the Golden Stupa, the country’s national symbol and the most important building in Laos. Next we went to the Pratuxai Monument (Victory Gate), a monument which was built by the French and resembles Paris Arc de Triumphe. Its seventh floor serves as the sightseeing point of Vientiane.

We went to the Morning Market (it’s opened the whole day though) after visiting the Victory Gate. For a while, I totally got disoriented with the currency. $1 is equivalent to 9000 Kip. I exchanged some dollars for my shopping in the Morning Market and I never got the chance to bargain properly because I was bargaining in hundred thousands! Haha!

Edwin and Daniel had to leave for Bangkok so we brought them to Vientiane-Udon Thani border after our short stint in the Morning Market, stopping by at some area, where Joy got a cold sugar cane drink for us. Then we proceeded to the hotel to freshen up. We were to leave that evening, so Joy arranged for a dinner-get together with the rest of our SSEAYP Lao friends in an excellent grilling venue – the Poysian Pulkokee. Our early evening dinner started with the most famous local beer – BeerLao – followed by the grilled Lao food. Tik, my SG Mate, Lou Lou, Bobie, Tui-Petchsamorn, and Kao followed during the dinner. The girls still looked great after five years. After a few hours of catching up, we bid them farewell with a promise to come back! 🙂

 (Thank you Joy for bringing us around, and the girls for a wonderful Lao dinner! 🙂 )

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