We visited both Vientiane which is the capital and Luang Prabang on our trip in October 2016. A year earlier we had met a French chef in Phnom Penh who had lived for 16 years in Luang Prabang and he said we should really visit so we did! It is a landlocked country bordered by China, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. The Mekong River flows through the country.
Vientiane was our first stop as this is where most international flights fly into. We picked up a visa on arrival which seemed pretty simple. They used our passport photos as the photos. It costs around US$20 – 40 depending on which country you are from and last for one month. We stayed here three days at the beautiful Green Park Hotel.
We used one of the hotel drivers for two days and asked the hotel for guidance on where to go. The hotel also has a shuttle bus into town although we found it wasn’t that far to walk. Our first night we took the shuttle bus down town and ate at a very popular Lao restaurant. The Lao food is very similar to Vietnamese and Thai using a lot of rice and noodles with herbs such as lemongrass, coriander and basil. These are some of the dishes you might eat. Sticky rice (Khao Niaw) Sticky rice is a staple throughout the country. Minced Meat Salad (Larb) Green Papaya Salad (Tam Mak Hoong) Steamed Fish (Mok Pa) Baguette Paté (Khao Jii Paté) Wet Noodles (Khao Piak Sen) Lao Sausages (Sai Uah, Sai Gok) Noodle Soup (Phor).
I found the Lao people to be so kind and gentle and very welcoming. Very happy to show you their country.
The next day we met our very affable driver, Mr. Vong. We started the day at Nam Ngum Lake where we took a boat along the Mekong to a restaurant for a seafood lunch, stopping off on the way for refreshment!
Some of Nam Ngum Lake and our lunch
On the trip back we stopped off somewhere in the middle of the lake to a concrete like pontoon where there was a lady selling some of the prisoners’ crafts from the local prison. Of course I had to buy something.
Next up it was back to our hotel with a very interesting stop at the COPE centre. This is an amazing centre for thousands of Laotians who lost limbs due to the amount of landmines that have littered the country for years. It provides prosthetic and orthotic services free of charge, allowing people to regain mobility again.
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