Way back in January, as our time in Laos came to an end, we found ourselves in the beautiful Vientiane for a little over a week as we waited for our visas to be approved to enter Vietnam. It was by no means the worst place to stay: this charming and quiet capital city was – much like the rest of Laos – a perfect place to relax.
At The Vietnamese Embassy
Getting a visa from the embassy was a doddle – we went there on our first day to give in our forms and passports. It took about a week for the visa to be approved, which was fine by us. You can find the embassy on Singha Road. We walked there from Rue Setthathilath, which took about half an hour. The embassy was fairly quick to get us in, take our money, and get us out again, both when we gave in our passports and collected them.
Sunset over The Mekong
One of my favorite things of Vientiane is that the Mekong River forms the border with Thailand. We spend a night or two sat on the edge of the river, watching the sun set over Thailand. It was quite busy on the river front, but there was space on the steps to sit and enjoy the sunset whilst people watching.
Our hotel was nice and close to the river, meaning evening strolls through the night market became an evening ritual. Although I didn’t make any purchases (my bag is too close to exploding to add anything else!) it was a lovely way to end a day. The market is full of clothes, electronics, souvenirs and odd bits and bobs. Head that way around sunset, or after you’ve enjoyed your dinner as a nice way to end the day.
COPE Visitor Centre
COPE is a wonderful charity, and you can go visit the museum in Vientiane. If you spend any time in Laos, it won’t take long at all to begin discovering their history in the Vietnam/American war. As the Ho Chi Minh trail went through Laos, the country was heavily bombed as America tried to cut off supplies to the south of Vietnam. They left behind hundreds of thousands of unexploded ordnance (UXO) that scatter much of Laos’ countryside to this day. COPE provide free care to people with physical disabilities, through rehabilitation programs and giving access to prosthetic limbs. The center highlights how the UXO problem in Laos links to disability.
And here are just a few pics from wandering around in Vientiane.