As I mentioned, it was a bit of a relief to leave Hanoi. Arriving in Laos was exactly the cure for a tired traveler.
Crossing The Border
The bus from Hanoi, Vietnam to Vientiane, Laos took about 22 hours, shorter than the quoted 24 hours and 30 hours you’ll find quoted on other travel blogs.
The ride is quite decent and it wasn’t as bad as you’d expect. Despite leaving late, we still arrived at the border at 6am, an hour before it opened. I took some pictures at the border, which is beautifully surrounded by mountains and lush greenery.
Vientiane is a quiet, sleepy town set along the Mekong River. The river forms the border between Laos and Thailand.
The city has a small center that caters to tourists. There isn’t much to see or do here and Vientiane serves as a transition point to explore other points in Laos or a place to stop on the way to Thailand.
I ended up staying about a week in total in Vientiane and it was a great place to recharge my batteries. It’s very walkable, not very polluted, and so much quieter than Vietnam.
Laos is still somewhat closed and I kind of appreciated it. It’s not easy to find Coca-Cola, for example. Laos is free of most major Chains. No McDonalds, no KFC, no Hilton, etc. But there is Tiger Beer (Singapore) and Carlsberg Beer (Denmark), for example, and Pepsi products.
Otherwise, some temples, beautiful buildings, a World Peace Gong, and more.