Laos Memory Lane: Vientiane

A friend had asked me to do a review of my Laos Trip, it has been a year and a half ago but the memory is still very vivid. I found that the most comforting thing about this trip was to have my dad as a travel companion, like the saying “Two heads are better than one.”

The first thing I did was to visit the Health department to get all my shots. I did this 6 months ahead because I had to take the Hepatitis A in 2 dosages and 6 months apart. Then I took the Typhoid and Tetanus shot, here is more information from MD Travel Health.

I packed very light for this trip, only took about 7 outfits with me since laundry service is very affordable and you can get it done at most hotels or guesthouses.  I was able to fit all my clothes in my carryon bag.  My dad did the same, so we didn’t have to check our luggage.  If you plan to travel during the cooler months like November, December or January, make sure you have a light jacket with you.  It does get cold in the morning and late in the evening, and it’s always a good idea to have one to wear on the airplane since the temperature is so cold there. I had another backpack with me to carry my camera. I didn’t have a laptop, so it’s one less items to carry. As for the cell phone, you can get one real cheap there and buy minutes as needed. I brought an electric converter with me, but didn’t get to use it since I was able to use their plug-in with no problem.

I left Laos when I was only 6 (I’m third from left), so my memory of my birthplace is very fuzzy and I read up as much as I can before the trip and watched videos that generous visitors share of their trips.  I think some of my older sisters didn’t understand why I want to visit Laos, after all it is a third world country, been there done that sort of deal.  As for me, I think it is a fuzzy chapter in my life and I want to read and understand more.

As for my dad, he left there with many painful memories, and never crossed his mind to go back.  When he found out that I was going (I didn’t inform him until the last month or so) and he knew that nothing will change my mind. He took the approach of if he can’t change my mind, then he’ll join me and that’s what he did. I’ve to say that it was the best decision for both of us, having my dad with me was great. I don’t make the best decision most of the times and he would warn me when to put my camera away.  There are many places that are off limit and if you see a guard booth in front and it is a government building, then it’s best not to take a picture.  It is not worth it to be put in prison even if you think that you didn’t do anything wrong.

When we checked in at the Charlotte Douglas Airport, they pulled us to a side and checked our bags.  They called a female guard over to check my body and they had the male to check my dad.  Passerby looked at us like we did something wrong, but it is a normal procedure because of where we were going, our destination Thailand. Thank goodness they didn’t strip search us.

From Thailand, we flown in by Lao airline to Vientiane, Wattay (VTE) Airport. I thought I would get very emotional like knelt down to kiss the runway like what you would see in movies.  But I didn’t, thank goodness for that.  We were greeted by my Aunt and her family from Paksan.  They took us to Talat Sao (also known as the morning market) for lunch.  If you’re interested in purchasing Textiles and silks, then this is probably the best place to buy.

There are a few attractions that you must see in Vientiane.  The most breathtaking view is from the top of Patuxay Monument, a walking distance from Talat Sao, here is a post from my trip.

Another must see place is Wat That Luang, we got lucky and visited during the annual celebration in November, a post from my trip.

Wat Si Saket features a cloister wall with more than 2000 ceramic and silver Buddha images, a post.

Hor Phra Keo is an ancient temple that was built in 1565 AD (2108 BE) by the great King Xaisetthathirath, the Lao Lanexang Kingdom (also known as Land of a million elephants) to house the Emerald Buddha 1556-1778, a post.

Wat Simuang is a sacred temple in Vientiane. It is the home of  the Guardian of the city, also known as Jao Mae Simuang, a post of interesting history from my trip.

Wat Xieng Khuan, also known as the Buddha Park is a fascinating place to visit, a post from my trip.

The area from the Mekong River has changed drastically, at night there are outdoor restaurants by the Mekong River.  My uncle in France insisted that we stayed one night in Vientiane just to see this and I’m very thankful. What a view, a post from my trip.

There is Nam Phu fountain, a post.

Continue at Laos Memory Lane: Luang Prabang


  1. Good to see your photos from the trip again Nye 🙂

    I think we all have our own personal reasons for visiting Laos. I still haven’t made the trip, but am hoping whenever one of my cousins decide to go I can tag along with them either this year or next. But for now, must be content in “living” through yours and others’ photos of Laos 🙂

    • Hi Will, thanks. I think the trip brings closure for the both of us. I hope you will get to go soon, and it would be nice to visit your motherland. As for me, I’m not sure when that opportunity will arise again, I know not anytime soon.

  2. Thanks so much for sharing this post with us.

    Looking forward to my next trip there in 70 days. Aon and the boys are waiting for me in our new house (which, according to Aon will be finished very soon.)

    • Jeffrey, sounds like a big Boun event coming up. 🙂

      I wish we had more time in Vientiane, we explore most of the temples by foot, so we didn’t get very far.

  3. Nye – You need to get the current pictures of VTE. This meant you, Bo and Lee will have to make a trip soon:-). Thanks for sharing your stories.

    I’ve been back to Laos about 6 times and each time I’m sad to leave the city. The past couple trips I grew to love the country more and more.

    • seeharhed, it doesn’t look like I’ll get to visit anytime soon, I couldn’t take off that many weeks from my job. But I do want to take Bo and Lee with me someday.

      Speaking of your trip, we want to see more photos. 🙂

  4. I remembered Anousavary (Patuxay as it is now known), but I didn’t remember seeing That Luang in gold color.

    I always think that I will visit Laos someday, but looking at your site and Seeharhed’s site on Laos made me longing for a visit to Laos.

    • Kim, I have an old picture of That Luang, and only the tip was painted gold. I’m not sure when they painted the whole That gold but I think it looked better in the original form. My dad has a poster at home, I think it was the original color, I’ll check the next time I visit him.

      I was very lucky to get to visit Laos with my dad. My dad was happy that he had a chance to see his sister one last time, I think it was over 40 years ago when he last saw her, she got married and moved to Paksan. She was ill at the time we visited her and recently passed away. I’m glad that I had a chance to meet her family and would like to go back and visit them again someday, I’m not sure when that opportunity will arise again.

      • So having your dad along worked out nicely for the both of you. Thanks for sharing your story and tips for traveling to Laos.

        And the black & white photos of the kids are so neat. This is a good reminder for me to scan and save my family photos too.

        • Cambree, I think it was a relief for me when he decided to travel to Laos with me. It’s a once in a lifetime trip. 🙂

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