Caught a bargain airfare with AirAsia, just THB 1800 return. Cheaper than a trip to Immigration @ Chaeng Wattana. A weekend escape away from the monsoon rains of Bangkok to explore the sleepy capital of Laos.
The beer Laos. It tastes better than what they brew for the export market, and is cheaper too.
The currency – can never get to grips with it, always checking my notes very carefully before handing them over. Exchange rate: 233 LAK/THB
The hotel – great location but had I known that I was on the 6th floor and the lift was broken I would have stayed elsewhere – should have winged it. Oh well.
Arrived at the hotel (260 THB taxi from airport), dumped my stuff in the room and let the afternoon heat pass until I ventured outside to track down that first beer Laos. Had to barter with THB as I hadn’t changed any money.
Chatted to some folks outside the Funky Monkey Hostel before grabbing a bite to eat at a small French cafe near the ‘Dolphin’. Some chicken satay followed by a buckwheat pancake with bacon and potato.
Breakfast was passable, barely. 4 fried eggs on some fresh french bread topped with chilies did the trick and fuelled my walk to the Patuxay monument, during which I serendipitously stumbled upon the That Dam, which had turned a nice shade of green.
A 4000 LAK bottle of water was most welcoming and on the return leg I stopped in at the M Supermarket and picked up some coffee for the wife. (as per Stickman’s article)
Had Pho for lunch ; a bargain @ LAK 15K but I’ve had better.
Was on budget until I found the only Belgian beer cafe in town, “Chokdee cafe”. Escaped the heat and savored a Belgian Wit ‘Blanche de Namur’, followed by another.
Chatted with a few American guys and sucked down a soda water before the short hop back to the hotel.
Wandered the sois in town at night. Chatted to the owner of Tyson Kitchen whilst wetting my whistle and stopped @ iPho for some Spring Rolls (exceptional!) – was surprised that the Vietnamese offerings to be found in Vientiane weren’t better. Also had a less than memorable Bahn Mi during my visit.
Finished up with a few nice glasses of red and the Chorizo @ Pimenton Tapas bar/restaurant.
Grabbed breakfast at ‘Le Trio’ coffee shop on the main drag. ‘Pain au Chocolate’ with a sickly sweet Vietnamese coffee then set out on a long walk to kill time.
Found ‘Rays Grill’ and had the Blue Cheese burger washed down with two Beer Laos at 11.30 in the morning. Not the best meat patty that has passed my lips but the flavour was there for sure.
The tuk-tuk to the airport cleared me out of my remaining LAK. A minor boarding pass drama later and I was lucky enough to score an empty seat next to me on the flight back to DMG. Didn’t have to wait long for a taxi back home – sometimes the gods smile upon us in mysterious ways.
Was good to see the wife again. Next time I’ll drag her along, I’m sure she would enjoy the place.