Photo of the Day – Laotian Smile

I was walking towards the Pha That Luang temple and the sun was shining so bright at 4pm in the afternoon. I am just staying in Vientiane for 6 hours (check out my post here – Backpacking Laos: Vientiane) and I took the time to check out the famous sights. When I was taking a photograph of the temple, a lady vendor approached me speaking in Lao and I just smiled coz I can only say sabaidee and khawp jai. She was selling ice cream and it was pretty tempting because it was very hot and I was just resting under the shade of a tree. So I bought 1 stick of local ice cream (it was yummy) and I asked permission if I can take her picture. She agreed and gave a shy laugh when she saw her picture on the camera screen. To the lady vendor, khawp jai for the tasty ice cream and for the photo! 🙂

Backpacking Laos: Vientiane

I was so excited to start my vacation and get away from the daily routine. So excited that I didn’t waste time and left Friday night. I went to Hua Lamphong Station to board a train bound to Nong Khai. The train left the station at 20:30 and scheduled to arrive at 8:30 in the morning.

When I planned this trip, I psychology prepared myself to be open to delays and detours. As it turned out, the train was delayed for 2 hours. We reached Nong Khai at 10:30 AM. After going through immigration, we boarded another train to cross the Friendship Bridge to Thanaleng Station. I thought it will take an hour or so but to my surprise it only took 10 minutes!

I booked the transfers from Nong Khai to Ventiane in a travel agency at Hua Lamphong thinking it’s difficult to do it on your own (it’s my first time to Laos). But I was wrong. It was relatively easy to do it on your own and cheaper too!

Vientiane

After a 30 minute ride, the songteaw dropped me at the center of Vientiane. It was almost 12 noon and I’m getting hungry. Good thing that there’s a resto at the corner where I was dropped off. I ordered food and planned out what I will do until I board the bus tonight. After eating lunch and buying my bus ticket, I decided to walk around. I got a map and went around to take photos of some famous landmarks.

French words on the sign.

First stop is That Dam which is Lao for Black Stupa. It is said to be home of a seven-headed dragon that protected the citizens during the Siam – Lao war in 1828.

That Dam

Next stop is the Arc de Triomphe of Vientiane better known as Patuxai. It is also known as the Victory Gate or Monument Aux Morts by the French. It was built in the 1960s as a dedicated memory of the Lao soldiers who died during the World War II and during the fight for freedom from France in 1949.

The Arc de Triomphe of Vientiane.

It was too hot to walk and Pha That Luang is a bit way off from the center of town so I got a tuktuk. Pha That Luang, which means the Great Stupa, is a national symbol and is considered as the most important national monument in Laos. It has undergone several reconstructions due to damage brought about by several wars.

Pha That Luang.

The final stop is the Wat Si Saket. It is the oldest surviving Buddhist temple in Laos and it was built in the 1800s. Unfortunately, the museum was already closed when I arrived. So I walked around the temple grounds and took a photo of this Buddha.

Buddha at Wat Si Saket

I went back to the travel agency where I left my backpack and waited until it was time to go the the bus station.