This capital of a nation of almost 6 million people rather reminds of a busy village. Its 300.000 residents enjoy a city without skyscrapers and a few major streets that are ploughed by a couple of brand new pickup trucks and scooters. What a difference to the crazy traffic jam, noise and pollution in other bigger towns in Southeast Asia, not talking about what we experienced in towns large and small in Latin America!
We liked the city the minute we stepped off the bus and our new home, Villa Manoly, simply tops it all. This old French villa was tastefully extended into a guesthouse with a tropical garden and a pool facing a larger temple area. So all we hear is birds chirping away, mangos dropping from the trees and twice a day the low sound of the drum calling the monks of the nearby wat.
After extensive walking and bike rides, we came to the conclusion that there is an impressive wat on every corner. This may sound heretic, but we think Vientiane can easily compete with Luang Prabang in this regard. The temples do not seem as old, though they are not less inspiring. Living right next to a wat, we might able to watch the monks receiving their alms from our hosts at 6 o’clock in the morning, what we did not succeed to do in Luang Prabang.
Enjoying all these amenities, we decided to stay here a little longer to rest after the very demanding bus trips we endured during the last few weeks and to gather new strengths for the final five weeks in southern Laos, Cambodia and Bangkok. This may sound a bit dramatic, but the decision to stay on was also made because Gilles was suffering from his third bad cold in a month and was prescribed antibiotics each time he came near a doctor. So we will stay until he feels fit to hit the road again, even if it means we have to skip a few destinations that we had planned.