After 15 hours on a bus to Udon Thani, then another bus to Nong Khai (about an hour or so), then a tuk tuk to the border, a border exit, a bus to the next border crossing entry point, entry at the Lao border and another tuk tuk we arrived in Vientiane and met Dre’s dad Tom’s friends Garry and Suni. We had lunch with them and after a few hours of chatting and formulating a plan of action for the following day, we set out to find somewhere to sleep. This time thankfully we have stayed in a much nicer area of Vientiane than last time, near the Mekong and the main temples and cafes. Vientiane is still really hot, dusty, and congested with traffic, but we are pleased to say that with Garry and Suni’s guidance we have managed to enjoy aspects of this city this time. We have really enjoyed their company also – it’s amazing to us (but not surprising) how much like Tom and Lili they are, such kind people wanting to do anything and everything to make our stay more comfortable and enjoyable and always giving helpful advice.
We had tentatively planned to head south to finally see southern Laos – and we still could if we wanted a really whirlwind tour – but with the visa process taking a few more days than expected (or perhaps more truthfully it was partly expected, since we are in Laos!), we’ve decided that instead of rushing to see the south and missing half of it, we will once again not go there yet. Instead we will head north and see some of the northern parts of Laos that we haven’t seen yet, as well as probably a few that we have, and have time to have a more leisurely break before meeting Dre’s sister Kate in Luang Namtha. We might have to come back to Vientiane again anyway in a couple of weeks to collect the visa, so perhaps we will have time then to see the South. Ironically we would have had plenty of time if we had have left Luang Namtha when we had intended to instead of staying for the Buddhist Lent celebrations; but no regrets there. So tonight we board yet another night bus, and head for Phonsovan to see the Plain of Jars. Our photos of our time in Vientiane are here.