On the left side of the river is Vientiane – the capital of Laos. The territory on the right side belongs to Thailand.
I’ve taken this photo when flying from Kuala Lumpur to Vientiane.
South-East Asia is very hot, so it is quite hard to stay outside for the whole day without any break. So, the people who trade at the markets in Vientiane (and, in fact, in a lot of other cities) decided to trade in the evening or in the early night. And now we call such markets “Night Markets”.
In Vientiane, you will most probably come to a night market for the first time when you feel hungry and realize that the cafes and restaurants are either closed, or too expensive.
There are two night markets. The first one is placed behind the stadium and starts its’ work at 5 PM. The market is mostly concentrated on the food. It is being cooked right on the street, with most probably dirty hands, and you won’t have any washbasin to wash yours. Usually, more than one people stands at the counter: one of them does the cooking and the trading and another one does something to get rid of the flies, because there’re a lot of them at this market.
Doesn’t sound very good, but on the other hand, here you can taste the things that these people cook for themselves in their houses. You can try something delicious (or get a viral or parasital disease, if you’re not lucky enough). All in all, that was the only choice for me, so I’ve bought two dishes, each for 5000 kip ~ 0.60$.
The first was some more or less “traditional” rice with vegetables.
I wasn’t lucky with the second dish – it was uneatable something. I thought I won’t get any further than my guest house in the next day, but I was lucky enough. I’ve given this dish to the homeless dogs, but they weren’t very enthusiastic in eating it too.
The more serious and interesting market is placed in the park on the shore of Mekong river. The main kinds of goods sold are clothes (rather cheap – a T-Shirt for 25000-30000 kip), iPhone covers and necklaces (5000 – 40000 kip). And also some sovenir stuff like old coins and various statues.
The most part of buildings consist only of a few floors. Even the hotels contain no more than five – that feels like too less, but then you understand that it’s enough. Some houses are very poorly built and looks like some ruins. Local Apple-store is doing just fine.
One of the rare non-buddhist related sightseeing places – a thriumpal arc is doing fine too. This is a must-visit place, moreover all the interesting places in Vientiane can be visited within two days. I’ve stayed for three and did not know what to do on the last day.
The reason is probably that the time runs slow here. The information sheet in my guesthouse was dated 2004. Nobody hurries here. Though the room contained anything to live here and to feel what it is like for some (probably reacher that average), but still, local people – an air conditioning system, a wifi, a shower room, and a bit of ants. On the outer walls of the room there were some lizards – common thing, I guess.
Socialism probably killed the opportunity to have a fastfood like McDonalds or KFC here. There are only local cafes, where you never can be hundred percent sure about what you eat – I’ve started to be afraid of local cafes after a rat that I’ve met in the Chinese district in Kuala-Lumpur. But still, the death from starvation didn’t appeared in my plans, so the only choice was to choose some to have a lunch. Well, all three days I’ve eated the same rice from “Sinchuan cuisine” cafe. The owner was very kind to provide an unlimited green tea. Firstly I thought that it is a way to make more money from us, but then it appeared that the tea is completely free of charge and it is just a hospitality. I was touched by this; regardless of the numerous wars, Lao people didn’t became more angry or less hospitable. They don’t want to trick you in every possible way like in some Rome, for example. Going back to the food topic, to make things worse, cafes close before late evening, so they’re not suitable for having dinner. There are night markets though, but they deserve a separate article.
People partly face transport troubles, so anything more or less suitable is used for people transportation.
Some bloggers told that the prices are higher than in the most part of South-East Asia’s countries, but the common poorness wins, so a good lunch will cost for about 20000 kip ~ 3$. A T-Shirt of a good quality costs for about 30000 kip ~ 5$ – checkmate, touristic Europe. But milk and eggs prices are kept reasonably high – about 16000 kip for just 830 ml of yoghurt.
In the evening, lots of couples come to the shore just to watch the lights of another country. While Laos are mainly very poor, they unlikely travel much. So another county may seem like another world, like it seemed for me before I went abroad with my mother for the first time. I started to thought about how romantic it is and actually got inspired to write this paragraph. Looking at these people, I thought about Vientiane like of a small world.
Kind of romantic, isn’t it?
I’ve stayed for 3 days in Laos, tomorrow I will be back to Kuala-Lumpur in order to continue my journey and head to Cambodia.
Laos itself is way more interesting that it seems on the first glance, but I will only post some religous details of the country.
The first thing that I’ve noted even on the way from the airport are temples. There’re literary hundreds of temples, some alleys contains only them. The majority of temples are Buddhist temples, though I’ve seen a mosque here too.
The size varies and probably depends on the status of the person.
Though the country is a bit poor one, every more or less significant building, namely the shop, house, or a hotel has a little buddist temple near it. Perhaps it needed to pray regularly, without visiting the “big brothers” of the temples.
There’re also lots of monks in the town. During the trip, lots of people, especially in Malaysia asked me about where I’m from and stuff, or looked strangely on me. Lao people are nice and very calm. Lao monks are extremely calm. I’ve managed to get a photo with them even twice.
Pha That Luang.