Vientiane Views

Laos > Vientiane



VIENTIANE or VIANG-CHAN, 05-06 Oct 2009


From our hotel room, we have a good view of Vientiane city, with a population of about 200,000 people.
Posted Image

We have got ourself a car today, so a quick outstation trip is in the offing.
Posted Image

And traffic is always interesting to watch here. No hordes of noisy motorbikes, as found in Vietnam or Cambodia. Well, not yet.
Posted Image

As I said before, coconuts are very useful, even in the streets of Vientiane.
Posted Image

We soon hit a gleaming highway …
Posted Image

… and 23km from downtown Vientiane, we come to the 1st Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge, built across the Mekong, linking Laos to Nong Khai (Thailand). Courtesy of the Aussies, the first ever bridge across lower Mekong.
Posted Image

At the head of the bridge, on the Laos side, there’s a commemorative plaque …
Posted Image

… with all the details. By the way the 2nd Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge opened in 2007, located in southern Laos, while the 3rd one is already under construction, somewhere between the 1st and the 2nd.
Posted Image

Laos drives on the right, Thailand on the left, but on the bridge, vehicles follow Thai rule. Note the single 1-metre-gauge railtrack right down the middle.
Posted Image

At last I’m over the Mekong, as rusty-looking as ever! In the distance see the power transmission towers sending juice to Thailand from a major hydro plant north of Vientiane. This electricity sale to Thailand nets Laos 25% of their foreign earnings.
Posted Image

Cars arriving from Thailand are most welcome!
Posted Image

We return to downtown Vientiane, smackbang in the middle of a festival – the Annual Traditional Boat Race on the Mekong, always held the day after Ork Phansa. Offices and schools are closed, but the race site is so congested …
Posted Image

… that this is all I could muster.
Posted Image

Food stalls everywhere, and I spot the Lao lemang (glutinous rice cooked in bamboo) among the roast chicken!
Posted Image

Tired by the sheer number of people, we soon leave and pass by the phalanx of security kids, manning all roads and lanes leading to the riverside festivities.
Posted Image

Monks are also keen on the boat race.
Posted Image

True Francophiles here, unlike in other Indochinese countries, …
Posted Image

… but English is making a strong challenge.
Posted Image

Rue Pangkham is tailor-and-fabric street …
Posted Image

… where one can get fine sinh skirts.
Posted Image

One of the many well-tended roads in Vientiane …
Posted Image

… which are patronised by equally well-tended sets of wheels.
Posted Image

The city is hosting the 25th Southeast Asian Games this December, and preparation is in full swing …
Posted Image

… especially the new shops selling all manners of souvenirs and trinkets.
Posted Image

And the Laotians have selected a cute pair of mascots. Haven’t seen any nicer Games mascots.
Posted Image

After 5 interesting days in Laos, we are back at Vientiane Wattay International Airport for the flight home. Not a bad outing, really; Luang Prabang has been beyond expectations, Vientiane so-so only.
Posted Image

[THE END]

2 Responses to “Vientiane Views”

  1. jam says:

    It looks to me Vientiane is just the size of a big kampung. I saw the characters printed on the board very much similar to Thai’s. I wonder are the 2 countries sharing the same language?

  2. naim says:

    Vientiane is like Kota Bharu, but 3x maybe. Thai influence is strong, and the Laos and Thais can partially comprehend each other. There’s a good write-up here: http://www.thailao.net/both_languages.htm

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Past Places

Super Stories (Recent 75)

DIRECTORY OF PICTORIALS 2004-2009

Please click HERE for a full list of stories from 2004. Pleasant viewing, thanks!