Shopping time! I love shopping and we decided to go to the Morning market, a lovely market located in the center of Vientiane under a building designed like a pagoda. There were a variety of different things from handmade handicrafts to DVDs, cigarettes and clothes. Things are not really expensive here compared to western countries but I think it's a bit similar to Viet Nam. I went crazy shopping here buying heaps of silly stuff and trying different foods.
People who sell in the market are so lovely but we have to play our own games - bargaining and we all did well with sometimes about 50% off, which is amazing. I don't think buying DVDs in Lao is a good idea because it's more expensive than in Viet Nam where we only pay about $1.20 and we had to pay $2.50 in Lao, and we're not sure about the quality. I realized that handicrafts and lantern should be bought in Luang Prabang where they are made and it's much cheaper than in Vientiane.
Lao beer is good :) I drank lots of them plus lots of soft drinks with mint flavor which matched my shirt color :) In the afternoon, we went to the sunset restaurant where we sat right on the bank of the Mekong with fantastic views of the sunset. It's a nice spot. Beer Lao is normally $1 or 10,000K but it will be more if you drink it in a western style bar or in a big restaurant, and in local small places it's as cheap as K8000.
If you are a easy going, please try the BBQ food along the Mekong river where they sell the best grilled fresh fish or pork or beef. They serve sticky rice with most of their food but you can ask for steamed rice if you prefer. Lao people eat sticky rice for all their main meals from breakfast to dinner so do not be surprised because their sticky rice is the best.
We hired a tuk tuk for wandering around in the evening for only K30,000($3) for 20 minutes. Tuk tuk is the most common transportation in Lao, do not worry about the traffic because Lao people follow the traffic laws very well and the drivers care about their customer's safety but as usual, try to play the bargaining game :). I love playing this game. It doesn't mean that I am tight as I always give them something extra as drinking money if they are good.
We took a VIP bus(this is a double decker bus which is very popular in western countries and recently appeared in Ho Chi Minh city) to Luang Prabang for only $16 with freezing air-conditioning and horrible smelly toilet and security guard with a gun. We were wondering why there was a guy with a gun outside the bus when we stopped for a break. Finally, we found out that last year some rebels attacked the bus and the goverment decided to always send one security guy along with the bus. Anyway, the trip was fine and we arrived in Luang Prabang safely in the afternoon after 11 hours on the bus. I would say that we had no complaints about the trip but 11 hours is a bit too much for sitting on the bus even though the scenery was beautiful :)
Labels: Laos, Travel, Travel Abroad, Vientiane