Longer than expected in Vientiane
We were travelling from Vang Vieng to Vientiane and it was really easy. We paid 60,000 Kip to get a mini bus that took around 3 hours.
The bus station is just outside the city centre so you have to get a tuk tuk into town, everyone piles on and it drops you off in the city centre. It cost around 20,000 for the tuk tuk.
We stayed in two places while in Vientiane (I’ll explain later).
There is Avalon B&B and Avalon hotel. We booked to stay in the B&B but when we arrived we were taken to the hotel, just down the road. We didn’t complain the hotel was nicer, but we weren’t sure why they upgraded us.
Stephen and I stayed here 3 nights and it was around £15 a night between 2. The breakfast was ok, nothing special. The rooms were clean and modern, slightly on the small size but acceptable.
Vientiane Golden Sun Hotel
This hotel was a lot nicer, though that was reflected in the price at £22 a night for two people.
But for is it was worth it seen as we were spending 4 nights here. It also had two pools and a ‘fitness centre’ (a room with some crappy half broken gym equipment and no air-conditioning).
The breakfast was good, they had omelettes, with sides such as sausage. Fruit and cereal. Probably the best hotel breakfast we have had.
The staff are really friendly and helpful, they allowed us to print our Vietnam visas there and always had a smile for us.
Why so long in Vientiane I hear you ask?
Well it wasn’t planned, we headed to Vientiane from Vang Vieng with the intention of getting my stitches out and moving onto 4000 islands.
However, when I went to the hospital to have my stitches removed 10 days after the incident as instructed, they wouldn’t remove them. The doctor said the cuts were not healed enough and that if they took them out it was likely to rupture requiring more stitches and high risk of infection.
He did say he would take them out for me, if I wanted but I thought it stupid to go against the doctor’s advice and agreed to wait 5 days to have them out.
So what now?
Like I said we had wanted to go to 4000 islands but when we checked out the hospital situation there it was apparent there was pretty much no where that could safely remove my stitches.
So we had a choice to make, take the 16 hour bus to 4000 islands and back to only really have 3 days there or stay in Vientiane.
Given that we hated night buses and it meant paying more money out we decided to stay in Vientiane. Hence why we changed hotels.
We would have headed to Vietnam sooner but we had booked our flights a few weeks previously to avoid the last minute price hike we have fallen victim to recently. Can’t win right?
Making the most of 7 days in Vientiane
When you read travel blogs or speak to travellers a lot of people say not to spend to much time in Vientiane, and I get it. There isn’t a massive amount of stuff to do, there’s not a big night life scene and the town is pretty sleepy.
However we were determined to make the most of it! And that included relaxing…
It had been over 60 days since I left the UK and it felt as though I had been non-stop since then.
While travelling is amazing and so much fun it can be pretty tiring. Constantly moving around, getting used to new surroundings, planning your next stop, sightseeing and of course drinking.
So the idea of having a few days to chill by the pool, read a book, catch up on my blogs and sleep was a welcome one (hence why we moved hotels).
Chilling by the pool
We spent 3 days chilling by the pool, attempting some exercise in the gym and researching Vietnam. It was really good to just take a few days out and feel rested. Plus to top up the tan obviously.
We also met a Turkish guy, Marret, who we later renamed to Dangerous Man by the pool. We ended up getting pretty friendly with the 57 year old gent, who was a real laugh providing us with much entertainment.
Eating in Vientiane
I am not going to lie to you, the food in Vientiane wasn’t great. The general style isn’t massively to my taste but we did find a few good spots to eat during our time here.
This is a traditional Laos style restaurant serving local dishes at reasonable prices. The restaurant was always busy, and filled with locals, something which we have learnt to be a positive sign.
Most of the dishes were between 25-40,000 so good value for money compared to some of the western alternatives. Good news for me, considering how over budget I am!
Bor Pen Yang
Probably our favourite spot in Vientiane. It is a rooftop bar looking over the night market and river in the heart of town.
A great place to watch sunset and enjoy a few drinks.
We visited here a lot during our 7 days and became very friendly with a couple of the staff. Playing tricks and games with them, and just generally learning about life in Laos.
The food is average price and generally pretty good.
Something we did realise though was that it’s a hot spot for older gentlemen and young Laos woman (or lady boys who knows) to meet to form mutually beneficial agreements.
We had much fun watching ‘dangerous man’ try his luck with the singletons. Just to clarify he didn’t sleep with them before you judge, it was just a bit of fun.
This is a pizza place in town. We choose to eat here based on the amazing trip advisor reviews saying ‘best pizza in Laos’. However we were disappointed with the food, it was average at best.
I also ordered a BBQ pizza and when it arrived there was no BBQ at all.
Not sure if we went on an off day, but we didn’t bother returning.
Fruit shake is an ideal spot for lunch, the shakes are yummy and the food is really good value.
A massive chicken and salad baguette was only 25,000 Kip and the falafel wrap was amazing too.
Really modern western looking place with a restaurant and live music area. Better for drinks than food.
We wondered here for lunch and the service was pretty crap.
We ordered two mains and two drinks, my main arrived I had finished it (I am a slow eater) before Stephens even arrived.
Stephen had finished his main and still no sign of our drinks despite asking twice and there being at least 5 members of staff standing around doing nothing and only 3 other people in the restaurant.
It’s a shame because some one has obviously spent a lot of money on the place.
Exploring Vientiane – things to do
Cope visitor centre – learn all about the impact of the Vietnam ware on Laos, great way to spend the afternoon.
Laos National museum – learn about the history of Laos, and indeed the progression in recent years.
Patuxia victory monument– built using a donation from the American government intended for building a roads this monument gives great views over the city when climbed.
Ban Anou night market– get cheap food with a fun vibe just off the river front.
That Luang– a popular temple in Vientiane.
In normal circumstances I would suggest only 3 nights in Vientiane as an ideal amount of time to see and do everything.
But in our situation it was lovely to relax and recuperate by the pool at the golden sun.
It was also great to get to know the staff at Bor Pen yang and enjoy a drink over the river.
The hospital was actually pretty good and it felt no different from hospital at home.
The food is average, nothing special but not terrible.