Laos but not least

In 2009, the only country in Indochina that I hadn’t visited was Laos. It is a landlocked country but has the Mekong River flowing through it and that perhaps makes up for a coast. When AirAsia had their sale, I jumped at the chance. We spent a few slow days in Vientiane and a nearby eco resort. As usual for weather in this region, our few days were so very very hot.

We were booked at the Mali Namphu Guesthouse, which was near a garden with a fountain. We later pieced together that Namphu meant fountain, so, very aptly named. The hostel was basic but comfortable enough. Breakfast was nothing to shout about but it was served in a beautiful courtyard.

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Courtyard at the Mali Namphu Guesthouse

The Mekong River front was about 500m from our hostel and we spent a few evenings eating at the many stalls that line the river side looking across the border to Thailand. Some stalls have special seating or should I say lying so that the patrons can lay down and enjoy their meal and beer.  However, a recent check on google earth shows that the area has now been developed and turned into some sort of a garden. I wonder where the stalls have moved to.

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Fine dining by the Mekong River in Laos, across the river is Thailand

We enjoyed the local coffee and baguette at a cafe by the river. The baguettes were second to none!

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Yummy local coffee and baguette

Walking around Vientiane, we found some interesting sights.

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Stupa in Vientiane

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Sculptures adorning a gate

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And the second piggy built his house with sticks

We took a trip out of the city to a nearby resort, Rivertime Resort¬†by the Nam Ngum River. At the resort, we enjoyed a few days of calmness mainly spent enjoying the breeze on the floating restaurant . Our chalet was surrounded by lush tropical growth with many fruit trees. The fruits of those tree are left to ripen and fall, so everywhere there would be rotting fruits on the ground. I suppose that accounted for the many butterflies around that must have been feeding on those rotting fruits. The butterflies were however very hard to photograph, coz they just didn’t stop fluttering!

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Butterflies and longans

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Fishing on the Nam Ngum, seen from the floating restaurant at the Rivertime Resort

The resort owners are big on helping the local community. Among other community work, they have weekly English lessons for a select group of local school girls who have shown an aptitude for learning the language.

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English lessons at the floating restaurant (Kendall was being nosy)

 

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English lessons on the floating restaurant

One afternoon we decided to walk to the village. I don’t know why but we must have set out at 12 noon! No more than 50m from our chalet and we were already sweating profusely. Anyway, we didn’t get very far before we were swamped by the local kids. They were very friendly and curious. Some we found could speak some English, so we were able to communicate. They were very eager for us to visit the local temple which we obliged.

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Local kids eager to see the instant review on the camera

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No real need for words with Canon and instant review

Back at the resort they have a floating swimming pool, we didn’t take a dip though.

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Floating swimming pool

Overall, I found Vientiane to be a nice place to kick back and relax, as it felt like everything and everyone moved a little more slowly. Even the tuk-tuk drivers were mostly too busy napping in their hammock tied within the tuk-tuks to solicit customers.

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Good evening from Laos

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