Vientiane, Laos

What we did as of Jan 25, 2008We are now in Vientiane after more than 2 weeks of travelling through Laos. We started in Houay Xai at the border with Thailand, headed north to Luang Namtha, before returning to the warmer latitude of Luang Phabang, the Plain of Jars and now Vientiane, the capital city.

Travelling through Laos is not easy. After 18 days here, 7 full days were “lost” getting from one place to another. But it is rewarding. Just outside the beaten tracks (and it is relatively easy to leave them), the Lao people and culture seem untouched.

This article inaugurates a series of short ones that will keep you in touch with our latest wanderings. They are meant to be factual, describing our latest position and activities. They ought to be more frequently updated. You can consult the latest updates by clicking on “Track us!” in the left menu.

Here is a quick summary of what we did:

  • Cruising the Mekong and Nam Tha rivers from the border to Luang Namtha
  • Jungle trekking in remote areas with a local friend (thanks Julien for the tip)
  • Attending a wedding party
  • Experiencing the local buses with their unreliable tires, overheated brakes, etc
  • Goofing around in Nong Khiaw near the Nam Ou river
  • Cruising the Nam Ou to reach Luang Phabang:
  • Taking it slowly in Luang Phabang: sipping coffee, walking along the Mekong river, visiting temples and witnessing the alms giving of monks at dawn
  • Doing 200km in 9h by bus
  • Having fun with a small motorbike at the dusty roads at the Plain of Jars
  • Experiencing flying on a Lao aircraft
  • Discovering Vientiane and enjoying a bit of its French past


  1. Thomas
    Posted January 25, 2008 at 14:13 | Permalink

    Correct me if I am wrong, but don’t 200km in 9 hours make a 22km/h average speed?!… Was the bus pulled by a goat or something?! :P

  2. Posted January 25, 2008 at 14:21 | Permalink

    Yes a goat. But a real old one… ;-)

  3. Jean-Christophe
    Posted January 25, 2008 at 14:22 | Permalink

    Reason: overloaded bus with a poor engine going through mountain roads.
    But seeing how good driver they are, we’re quite happy that the average speed is only about 20km/h and that they cannot go faster!
    Anyway, imagine (for an example) a bus fully loaded going down hill without shifts (no motor break then)!!

  4. Posted January 26, 2008 at 15:56 | Permalink

    Vos photos sont superbes, de vraies merveilles de pros. Toutes les félicitations d’ un amoureux des photos de qualité.

  5. Posted January 28, 2008 at 20:46 | Permalink

    Dear Vera and Jean-Christophe,
    We hope you both are doing wel in Laos. It seems to take a lot of time to travel through Laos by different engines. What do you mean by a lao aircraft?
    Enjoy your dessert!
    Next Friday we leave for Sibratsgefall (Vera do you remember?) together with Eef.
    Giel and Paul

  6. Vera
    Posted January 29, 2008 at 13:43 | Permalink

    @Giel: We were so fed up with taking the buses and loosing a lot of time, that we took a flight on one part. We were a little bit afraid at first (based on other experiences with Lao means of transport) but it turned out to be ok. :-)

    And of course I remember Sibratsgefall. Spent half of my youth there!!! :-) “Oh du schoenes Alpenland… lalala” ;-)