Sunday, February 22, 2015

24 hours in Laos

My Experiences from Traveling to Laos for the Weekend

Last weekend I joined a few other friends to make a fast trip to Thailand's nearby neighbor, Laos. I had never been there, so I was eager to see what the country, culture and food would be like.

We took a taxi to the border of Laos and proceeded through the various steps to acquire a visa. It was a fairly quick process, and only a little sketchy, which is typical for Southeast Asia. Once we crossed over, we took another taxi the 30km to the capital, Vientiane.
A view of the town from the top of Victory Gate

I was immediately surprised as we went from very rural settings with only the main highways paved, to a full city, with a noticeably French/European feel.

The flag of Laos on the left
The roads were wide, with sidewalks wrapping around the square blocks. Many streets even had trees lining them in very ordered rows. Buildings were impressive, with balcony's and other features rarely seen in Thailand. However, none of the buildings looked very new, and it seemed as if the city hadn't changed too much in the last 15 years.

There were subtle signs of communism all around. The most obvious were the hammer and sickle flags. But the many different government buildings, some built in the style of Russian communist structures (large concrete, small windows and surrounded by iron fences) also gave it away. Visiting the History of Laos museum cleared any doubt.

I was very interested in the people who lived in this city, and country, and what their lives were like. I tried to take every opportunity to capture their activities. I wish I knew the language, so I could also hear their story.

The many cafes and restaurants were amazing. Lots of baked goods, coffee and other western foods that are a little more scarce in Thailand (although, there really are a lot of great western restaurants here as well, and CoCo's Curry).
Four cafe's in a row. Went to Joma several times and really enjoyed it.

After only 24 hours in Laos, it was time to get back to Thailand and back to the work I'm doing here. I left Laos with a new-found curiosity about the history of Laos, and with an amazement of how different it is compared to America, and even Thailand.

I hope you enjoy the sampling of photos from the trip, and leave a comment with your thoughts or questions!
Went out late in the evening to capture the Victory Gate.

Thanks for visiting!