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.

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Nam Phu Fountain

Nam Phu

Nam Phu

I went by the water fountain on December 2, 2008.  It’s also known as Nam Phu, and I was lucky that the water fountain was turned on because most of the time when I walked passed, there was no water.   I believed I’m not the only one that feel this way, look at this little boy, I’m sure he wants to take a swim… and thinking to self “How do I get up there?”

Nam Phu

Can you tell that he is not Lao, look at his ‘handsome’ pose.

Tourist Boy