It was my second taste of Laos bumpy and horrible roads, the journey was far better this time because I had other travelers to talk to where as last time they were asleep.
I couldn't believe how small it was for a capital city. I was not expecting loads of skyscrapers and bright lights but it was just like a small town. Accommodation was 3 times more costly than in Vang Vieng. I bumped into a couple of people who I met earlier on in the trip and they were not even staying there bus going straight across the border. I found my way around in a few hours, this country does not have a Macdonalds which was a first.
Went for a bite to eat and a beer down the river, got talking to a couple of lads from Holland and ended up staying there until late at night.
On my full day there I went to see the Patuxai which is the Laos version of the Arc de triomphe. At night I went to a sports bar only to find they were showing 10 year old man united matches so I didn't last long.
As I was leaving the country I wrote in my blog the good and bad points of Laos
STARTING WITH THE GOOD
•The cheapest country I have ever traveled in.
•You only have to say no once to the likes of taxi drivers and market traders unlike most other countries round here where they constantly hassle you.
•Only saw a handful of beggars which was a surprise for saying its one of the world poorest countries.
•Less crowded and polluted.
THE BAD POINTS
•The roads are a nightmare to travel on.
•The national airline is dodgy and costs a fortune (mile for mile)
•Nearly everywhere is closed by 11:30pm
•Food is not as good as the other countries in Asia
•The currency is a nightmare at 15000 to the pound and the notes take several glances to figure out what they are. Add to that the fact you can use 2 others here (Thai baht and US dollar) so you can pay for something with one and get your change in another.
Its was interesting to visit a country that most people back home would struggle to find on a map. However like Cambodia I think I had seen the best of what the country had to offer. I wouldn't be in a big hurry to go back again.
On the bus to the border I got talking to one of a group of 5 Germans who were traveling together he said they were constantly arguing with each other over issues such as how much they were prepared to spend,how long they wanted to stay in one place, and other stuff like that. It was nice to hear that from time to time so I kept remembering why I travel alone.
Got the night train towards Bangkok and jumped out at the old capital Ayutthaya.