Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Day Two in Vientiane

I started my second day in the capital city of Laos with American breakfast - toast with butter and jam and a cup of black tea. Andrew had got up earlier and went out for a walk while Masahiede was still sleeping.

Just right before I chewed my last bite of toast, the Dutch lady (I'm so sorry, I really cannot recall her name) came and joined me.

We talked about work and of course, travel. She's a buying assistant (her own word) for a chain of departmental stores in the Netherlands. This is her second time to the Southest Asia region. She visited Indonesia five ago and now she is on a mission to cover Thailand, Laos and Vietnam.

Like Andrew and I, we're leaving Laos today but on different journeys. She will be taking a sleeper bus to Luang Prabang, the journey that I'm dying to go! While Andrew will be taking the 9.30 am bus to Vien Vang, I will be taking a two-hour bus trip to Udon Thani, before taking sleeper train to Bangkok.

At about 9.15 am, I bid farewell to Masaheidi, Andrew, Emma and the Dutch lady. Instead of taking tuk-tuk, I decided to walk my way to the Central Bus Station. On my way there, I stopped for a while at the Vientiane Jamia Masjid, which is next to the Ibis Hotel. The masjid was built in 1970 with the donations from Lao people. It's a small green-coloured mosque, but unlike Jamia Masjid in Bangkok or Yangoon, the nearby food stalls do not sell halal food :(

I also passed by the National Library and the Presidential Palace. Nevertheless, these two places are not open to public (tourists in the case the National Library) and I just took a couple of pictures from outside. Opposite the Presidential Palace is Sisaket Museum, which was in 1818.

Not far from this museum is Sala Tao Mall, and I guess it's the only shopping mall in the city centre because I didn't find any in my two days there. Next to the mall is the infamous Morning Market, which opens until evening every day. I did not give them a visit because I don't have much kip left. So, I went straight away to the bus station, which is just across the street. The bus station was built in 1990 with funding from the Japanese government. If I'm not mistaken, there were quite a number of development projects in Vientiane that were funded by foreign governments such as Japanese, Vietnamese, German and French.

The bus station is also small, which caters both intra and inter city buses. I bought a 10.30 am ticket which costs only 22,000 kip. The bus fare to Nong Khai is only 15,000 kip.

The 48-seater bus was full, with only four foreigners and the rest are Laotians and it departed at 10.30 sharp. It used the same Frienship Bridge as the shuttle train I took from Nong Khai to Thanaleng. The security process at both immigration checks were quick and smooth. Alhamdulillah, slightly over an hour, the bus sped up it way to Udon Thani after crossing the border.

Goodbye Laos, in shaa Allah, will visit you again.
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