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Short trip to Vientiane


CampariO
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Short trip to Vientiane, Laos. Been here the last time in 2008 and 2012, not counting day trips for visa. E-Visa ordered a few days in advance, for about 1830 Bt. We drove to Chaiyaphum where Mrs. CO's family lives and stayed overnight. Then spent another night in Nong Khai.

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Dinner at Macky's Riverside Kitchen, was excellent.

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The hotel (Royal Nakara) wanted 200 Bt/day parking fee, so I parked the car in one of the guarded parking lots at the border for 100 Bt/day. By tuktuk for 20 Bt/person to the border, stamped out and then by minibus (30 Bt) over the bridge to be stamped in Laos.

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Changed some money at the border (rate 1 Bt = 540 kip), according to the internet the rate was only 420. I have no idea what rate at the ATM will be. Bought a SIM card with 5 gigabytes for 80 Bt at the exchange office.

I'm rich:

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Taxi drivers are already waiting, either by tricycle for 300 Bt or AC Taxi for 400 Bt to Vientiane. No need to negotiate. On the Thai side we were offered the transfer for 1500 Bt, my bid of 400 was rejected because petrol was too expensive and then their offer went down to 1000.

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I had booked the Bloom Boutique Hotel in the center and only 350 m to the night market/promenade via Booking.com for 1600 Bt/night. It doesn't look like much from the outside, but it has a nice lobby and the rooms and bathrooms are large. There are also smaller ones for less money.

 

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Had a drink in another restaurant.

Beerlao small for 13,000 kip = 24 Bt.

Hoegaarden is there for 50 Bt.

The cocktails cost 45,000 kip each = 83 Bt. But only had a few revolutions.

Yoghurt with berries 18,000 and espresso 17,000, so around 30-35 Bt.

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The hotel was rated 9 on booking.com. Unfortunately the restaurant was closed and the breakfast ("very good breakfast" according to booking.com) was delivered to the room from another restaurant. You could choose from 3 variants.
Here's what Mrs. CO and I ordered:

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Plus Nescafe. We were disappointed. Luckily I had some travel provisions with me: cheese, salami and ham. So the baguette was at least put to good use. Let's see what else we can do, the weather isn't that good. A trip to Vang Vieng is planned, but maybe not until Friday when the rain stops.

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Had to withdraw 1,000,000 at the ATM, 2492 Bt deducted, which makes a rate of 1:400, plus 100 Bt ATM fee. So, take a lot of baht with you. I still have euros, they will probably have to go.

Wanted to go to a posh French today, was closed. It started raining. So we looked at the 10 best restaurants on Tripadvisor. Hey, an Italian just around the corner fits.

We go in, there are only 2 Indians inside. Mrs. CampariO asks me if we're at the Italian, but we were. Sit down, ask the Indian for a bottle of red wine. "We have." Me: "Can I see the bottles?" Reply: "Yes, in the shop across the road."

I look amazed.

Ok, I go over to a small shop, choose a bottle, pay for it and go back to the "Italian". There are now 2 small beer glasses on the table. "Do you also have wine glasses?" Yes, there are supposed to be some. One of the Indians is looking for them.

We look at the menu. There is no ham or pork, everything is probably halal. "Do you have a corkscrew?" Inder puts the corkscrew in front of me on the table. I was expecting him to open the bottle. Still no wine glasses. I look at Mrs. CO, she shakes her head. We get up and leave.

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6 hours ago, Painter said:

Khob chai, Campy

Always enjoyed my trips to Laos

Still got it's charme, the people friendly smiling at you. Few buildings higher than 5 floors, though many shops emtpy/out of business.

I miss the wooden restaurants down at the river, they disappeared already over 10 years ago. Beerlao tasted twice as good at these places.

Bor Pen Yang, a bar/restaurant on the 4th floor of a building at the river road with a nice freelancer scene is closed as well. Now for rent.

 

 

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1 hour ago, CampariO said:

Still got it's charme, the people friendly smiling at you. Few buildings higher than 5 floors, though many shops emtpy/out of business.

I miss the wooden restaurants down at the river, they disappeared already over 10 years ago. Beerlao tasted twice as good at these places.

Bor Pen Yang, a bar/restaurant on the 4th floor of a building at the river road with a nice freelancer scene is closed as well. Now for rent.

 

 

I've often wondered how they managed over the past few years, not only in Vientiane but more so in Luang Prabang.... love to go back there one day...

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22 minutes ago, Pumpuynarak said:

Now WTF are these doing in the hotel lobby ? 🤣

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I was in a massage shop the other day and was surprised to see a bike parked up in the back room where they were doing laundry. Probably don't trust leaving bikes parked on the street.

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9 hours ago, Pumpuynarak said:

Now WTF are these doing in the hotel lobby ? 🤣

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The lobby is on the upper floor. The restaurant is on the ground floor but closed. So, I believe it is used by the staff for parking.

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Today the weather was a bit better, so we rented a car with a driver (4000 Bt) and drove to Vang Vieng. After half an hour we were out of Vientiane and after another 90 minutes we reached Vang Vieng. The route outside of Vientiane is a good freeway with little traffic. Total about 130 km.

Unfortunately, some of the sights were not accessible due to road construction, but we were still able to see a lot.

1st stop: the lagoon

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Right next to it, a slippery, steep path leads up to a cave. I won't climb up there again.

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A slightly larger cave but no paths inside and very slippery.

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Going down became dangerous as the bamboo railings were not fixed well.

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2nd stop: The Angel Cave. Here you could fly through the jungle with the zip line, visit 2 caves, one of which was probably only accessible by tubing (tube from truck tires). There was even a swimming pool.IMG20220616121711.jpg

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Some rain is setting in, so time for a Beerlao and some food: Somtum Lao and Pat Krapow Moo.

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On the left is the entrance to the 2nd cave, accessible via the water.

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Posted (edited)

Since part of the route was closed, the driver took us to another cave. So climb stairs again. 🙄 

First the river had to be crossed. The ferryman was about to cast off with his customers.

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Strange oranges .....IMG20220616135838.jpg

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Edited by CampariO
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23 hours ago, CampariO said:

Had to withdraw 1,000,000 at the ATM, 2492 Bt deducted, which makes a rate of 1:400, plus 100 Bt ATM fee. So, take a lot of baht with you. I still have euros, they will probably have to go.

 

Can you pay in Thai baht?

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