I live in Hanoi and unexpectedly have to go to Vientiene next weekend to get a new visa. I've been to Vientiene before, and wasn't particularly inspired then, so don't really want to spend the 3 nights in town. I was thinking of hiring a motorbike and heading out to Phou Khao Khouay NP for a night or two, but anyone got any other suggestions of how to make the most of our 3 days there?
A trip to Phou Khao Khouay is definitely worth it. I made a trip there about 2,5 years ago and you can read a small article about it here : http://stevendejaeger.be/sven/news_article.php?nieuws_id=20. probably the only text in English on it.
(don't pay a lot of attention to the rest of the site as it's mostly in dutch (flemish) and I don't use it any more because of another blog from last year somewhere on the internet)
The trip was to the villages of Ban Na and Ban Hatkai, both with jungle trips and 1 night sleeping in the jungle.
Vientianne itself is nice as well, good Lao food, nice bakeries, clean hotels, a Belgian dude running a small pizza place with Belgian beers :).
haha indeed, still love my beers over here but I also do agree with sayadian, beer lao was the first beer from another country that really gave me the taste from back home so I do love it as well (and it's dirt cheep).
and the pizza dude is in the Nokeokoummane street, a bit pricey for lao standards but really good pizza's.
Another thing is to go to the hotel (at night) on the mekong river at the beginning of town, take the elevator to the 3th floor (I guess) and there's a nice party place to hang out!
at the other side of town on the mekong at khum bu lom road there is the Red Mekong bar, proper bar, cheap beers and happy hours, good food and a pool table.
Before this topic becomes about beer I'd just like to say to Svendj, who sounds like he lives in Vientiene?,All those places sound great but if I was visiting (I have been to Vientiane ) I could find all the above and more and better on the other side of the river.I can't criticise Vientiane because, like I said, it's nice and the Laos people are really friendly but it hardly sets the world on fire as far a getting a night out, does it? Vientiane is remarkably unremarkable.
Oh and the beer.Yeh, Madmac the Belgians do some great beers but I've always wondered how-since the water in that part of the world is pretty grim.Maybe they import the water from Germany?doesn't the best stuff get brewed in Monasteries? The Thai Wats are missing out here.I don't think they're allowed to drink though.
Be out on Thursday so I'll be sampling some beer Laos.Can't wait.
Totally agree with your opinion about Vientiane and no I don't live there, used to live in Nong Khai for a while so I went to Vientiane a lot. Now I'm back to crappy western civilization until April I think.
What's also true about Vientiane is that when you arrive for the first time it doesn't feels like a capital as you are used to big cities and buildings, ... And I still love the slow pace of life that's going on in a capital city like Vientiane. so to get back on my first post for travellingsarah, if you want something different go to Phou Khao Khouay and enjoy a few days of jungle.
(btw: the best stuff in Belgium does get brewed in Monasteries )
A far better restaurant is Chock Dee, which is a restaurant/Belgian Beer bar on the road next to the river, just down from that dreadful Tex Mex place. He has a range of about 40 Belgian Beers and also serves Moules Frites on Friday and Saturday. Mains are about 50,000 Kip.
The best pizzas in town are at La Terrasse; really nice thin crisp pastry.
"I could find all the above and more and better on the other side of the river" Not food you can't. Western food in Vientiane is FAR better than in Thailand, cheaper and the wine is MUCH cheaper.
As an aside, for those so inclined, there is even a fishbowl at the Mekong Hotel these days.
Thanks for the tips guys. Sounds from your blog like you really loved Phou Khao Khouay Svendj! It's definitely on the agenda as is plenty of Beer Lao - but that went without saying.
@ rufus : indeed about the Chock Dee place, had a drink a few times with some other belgians I met, the bill was getting expensive after a few beers so we switch it to beer lao.
@ travellingsarah: If you do manage to get to the village of Ban Na without booking a trip at a tourist centre in Vientiane, ask for a guy named "Buntanom", he's like the head of the village. His house is all the way at the back of the main street (uhum, dirt road :) ). This will save you half the price of the trip probably.
"the bill was getting expensive after a few beers so we switch it to beer lao."
Yes his Belgian beers are not expensive by Belgian standards, but they certainly are by Lao standards - 40,000 to 60,000 Kip
back home I pay about 20 to 30000 kip for the beers he had, of course I live at the source [img]smileys/smile.gif[/img].
haha anyway, we're getting off topic here, should open a belgium beer topic but it's not really suited on this site.
Actually I can't wait to be back in Vientiane, if people start talking about it I kinda feel homesick to that place. maybe meet some of you guys over there in a few months