Thursday, February 21, 2013

into laos | one day in vientiane . . .

1. a temple peephole 2. postcards from laos {still making their way home} 3. buddah at wat si saket 4. a leafy beer garden for a cold beer lao 5. patuxai gate 6. offerings 7. street view  8. the mighty mekong in the dry

i'm currently reading {and loving} the great railway bazaar by paul theroux. an account of his epic rail journey through asia in the early 1970s. it's giving me a hankering for a great rail journey of my own. one day. theroux travels to vientiane in laos and writes;

vientiane in exceptional, but inconvenient. the brothels are cleaner than the hotels, marijuana is cheaper than pipe tobacco and opium easier to find than an ice cold beer.

on our trip last month we dipped into laos briefly, spending a day in vientiane. it was just a couple of hours drive over the border from where we stayed in thailand. and while theroux's account of the city doesn't exactly reflect our experience, it was a place that thoroughly captivated us.

part of the fascination came from the a tumultuous history this landlocked country has experienced. kingdoms split and reunited, japanese occupation, french rule, independence, civil war, communism. poor old laos has seen it all.

we loved the laid back vibe of central vientiane. it was more tranquil and sleepy than any asian city i've ever visited. a backwater with a bit of a buzz about it. plus a few french influences. we checked out  some of the local attractions. poked around the markets and temples. but mostly it was a spot to just sit and people watch. eat some good food. take in a cold beer lao. get a cheap massage. wander.

one day in laos definitely wasn't enough. as we crossed back over the border and into thailand, the sun setting on the mekong, we agreed laos was a place we'd like to return to and spend a whole lot more time. one day.

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{i've only recently made the connection that paul theroux, the writer, is the father of loius theroux, who does the documentaries for the BBC. the work of both really appeals to me. you can check out the documentaries on abc iview if you are in australia.}


  1. Gorgeous photo's. Laos is a place I have always wanted to visit. Maybe when the kids are a little older.

  2. I love your temple peephole shot. A preview of the delights that lie beyond! Your trip and this day in particular sounds just wonderful. X

  3. You made it there! Here I was thinking, 'they were so close, they should have gone to Laos!' One of my very favourite places. And lovely pics too.

  4. I love your shots! I've been to Laos two years ago and i definetely recommand you Luang Prabang! We spent there a whole week and all the temples and monks and the nature are simply astonishing!

  5. These photos are great, that one of the temple peephole is inspired. Never been to Asia (except an airport stop in Bangkok en route to Sydney 19 years ago) and your pictures make me want to go. x

  6. I love Loius Theroux - his documentaries are just brilliant! And these photos are incredible! :)


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