|Another long 6-hour bus ride from Vang Vieng to Vientiane on the “so called” VIP bus! Vientiane is very relaxed and slow place for a capital city. This is the capital city where as soon as you venture off the main road the streets are still unsealed dirt roads.
We enjoyed walking around this quiet city and visited some wats, beautiful handicraft stores and little cafes to have coffee. At the centre of Vientiane city we climbed up Patuxai - Laos’ Arc de Triomphe replica built for the Lao people who had died in the war. On top of the Patuxai we met a young monk and had a good chat with him. He was very curious to know what it’s like outside Laos, and asked us many questions about Australia and Japan. He also told us a bit about himself and how he became a monk etc. Life isn’t easy here.
In the afternoon we decided to try a local bus to visit the Buddha Park 25km away rather than taking a taxi or tuk tuk. The bus was very cramped with local Lao people and we are the only foreigners on the bus. Locals helped us with directing us to the right bus and the girls on bus offered to share their seat so Lexi could sit down. It’s just another incident that made us appreciate how friendly the Lao people are.
The Buddha Park is full of large Buddha and Hindu sculptures and is located on the bank from the Mekong River not far from the Thai border. We enjoyed impressive collections of Buddha’s there and had fun taking pictures and climbing up through a sculpture that gives you a great view over the park. In the park we bought a little boy an ice cream who had been following us around and that made him very happy.
At night we went to a Laotian BBQ restaurant and it was full of locals, we struggled a bit at first there as no one speaks English and we weren’t sure how to cook it. We eventually learnt by looking at other tables. It’s basically a charcoal-flamed hot pot with a BBQ in the middle of it and you cook the meat in the middle BBQ section, and boil the vegetables in the water around it. It is designed for the juice from the meat to flow into the boiling water which eventually would become a good stock soup. What a great invention. We loved our last dinner in Laos and are now off to Vietnam. Good bye Laos, we’ll be back one day!