Vientiane, Laos, Asia
I got up today and enjoyed a great breakfast at my hotel. They had a few things to choose from and I had the fried eggs and sausages (which are actually hot dogs), with a banana shake and fruit salad. It was a great start to the day. At about 11am I headed over to Joma Bakery to try and meet up with Palli, from the train, but he wasn’t there. I did run into Katy, a German girl who was hanging out at my hotel last night. She was on her way to try and find the Buddha Park, and was nice enough to invite me along.
We found the local bus station and found out that we were looking for bus number 14. Tuk-tuk drivers are very keen to get you to choose them over the bus, so they lie to you to help their case. The tuk-tuk driver wanted 180,000 kip ($23) for a return trip for the two of us, including waiting at Buddha Park for one hour for us. He said his ride would take 45 minutes, but the bus would take 1.5 hours. Katy and I were in no great hurry, so we decided to try the bus on the way out, and then a tuk-tuk back if it was too long. The bus cost 6,000 ($0.75) each way per person, and it only took 55 minutes. Good thing we never took that tuk-tuk! The only part of the bus journey that made us nervous was when we took a turn into the gate for Friendship Bridge. We found out that this was just a normal scheduled stop, and we turned right around and continued on our way from there.
We arrived at Buddha Park and it was a perfect day for it. We had seen a bit of rain while on the bus, but the whole time we were in the park it was beautiful and sunny. There are over 200 sculptures and images of Buddha in this park that was built in 1958. It is right on the Mekong River and it is far enough away from any city that it was perfectly quiet. It was a very serene place to be. The coolest structure there was something that looked like a big pumpkin, and you could enter via a giant demon’s mouth. Inside there were three stories, depicting hell, earth and heaven.
We hung around for about an hour and then jumped on the next bus to come by headed for Vientiane. Less than an hour later we were back in the city and Katy met up with her friend who decided to take today as a rest day. They are heading south on a bus tonight, so I said bye and headed off into the city. We got back at about 4:30pm, and it turns out all the museums and temples close at 4pm, so I was unable to see anything else today.
I hung out at the hotel for a little bit and then ventured out for dinner. I found a place called Sticky Fingers that had a really good menu and had been recommended by the German guys at my hotel. I had a great burger and a pretty good BeerLao. Not much else was going on so I just came back to the hotel and I’m relaxing watching some movies on cable. I’m booked for a bus to Vang Vieng tomorrow afternoon, so maybe I can see some of the city before then…