This year I was really undecided were to go. A colleague at my workplace asked me if I wanted to go with him to Laos and Cambodia, then he told me sometime later that he cannot go. I reviewed then Ecuador and Argentina, in the end I decided on doing the proposed trip on my own as I already know this part of the world a bit (have done 3 week trips before to the phillipines, Thailand and last year Vietnam) and know that I can travel safely without knowing the local language (therefore I feared to be back in South America, I remember nobody understood English and I know no Spanish…)
Started the trip on a Friday evening, left office around noon, had a lazy afternoon and started around 8pm with driving to the airport. Public transport to the airport is convenient and cheap in Vienna, the train ticket is less than 2 euros. Arrived in time, had my luggage checked in (and checked through to Laos), flight was in time and we took off around 11:30pm from vienna. As I am no night owl at all (was different when I was younger) I didn’t like the late departure, but in the end it turned out to be a good thing as I fell asleep within 45 min after departure. They really served lunch at that time first, I had a beer (what I normally also don’t do, no alcohol on the plane) and a water and was sleeping soon after 😀. We arrived in Bangkok well ahead of schedule around a quarter to 3, meaning I had now 3 hours for transit. Everything went smooth there, except the whole airport is non smoking since February 2019… I managed the 3 hour stay with only one cigarette (on the toilet like in Moscow and Madrid), only here a girl cried “there is somebody smoking” after I inhaled for the second time, so the one I had was a short one ..
Left Bangkok half past five pm (local time) for Vientiane, capital of Laos. Arrived again ahead of schedule around halp past six.
Where the first for immigration (the plane was literally empty, maybe 30 people, the opposite was true for the flight from Vienna, the Boeing 777 was completely full), had an evisa for Laos, no officer was there so I lined up at another queue. They told me still to wait at the evisa counter, an officer showed up shortly after, it looked like the woke him up for me as he was still looking very tired and he moaned every two minutes. Still everything went smooth and quick, left there, looked for the taxi counter (you have to buy a ticket there, 7 us$ for every downtown adress), bought the ticket, got a driver assigned and left for downtown Vientiane.
First impression: the traffic was not really heavy compared to all other Asian cities I have visited (it was Saturday shortly after 7pm), my driver had a max speed of 40 kmh, still we arrived at the hotel 20 minutes later. Checked in, brought my luggage up and went out again for an ATM and something to eat. ATMs are a little bit strange for me here, I tried several before I received money (it was the fifth that gave me money to be precise, all the other ones only took visa cards, luckily I stay around the corner to the street were all the banks are, so you have an atm every 50 meters). Also here the city was very quite and no people on the street (I stay 10 min walk from the mekong and it was around 8pm). Most restaurants were already closed (,including the hotel restaurant), first I tried a small store with baguettes, the lady didn’t look to happy with the late guest, as she also told me beer is finished I moved on. Found a small restaurant (or a stall but in a building) on the street, lady showed me the menue but no English, tried something because of the picture in the menue, I have no clue how it was called, was chopped pork with chilli (only thing I was asked was if I like it spicy, of course 😀) and some vegetables, togheter with a beer a perfect lunch.
And it was cheap, food plus beer was 25.000 lak (about 2,50 euro). Bought another beer on the way home, had a long deserved shower afterwards and went happily to bed on my first night here.