4 11 2009

Tuesday 3rd November 2009


Tuk-Tuk taxi

Tuk-Tuk taxi to the airport

We may have suffered from strained necks today – gawking out of a plane window as we traversed some of the most beautiful, but tragically exploited forests and mountains in Asia. The flight from Luang Prabang only took 35 minutes in a Turbo-Prop plane and the view was awe-inspiring the whole way. To give an idea of the terrain the same trip takes 9 hours in a VIP coach. We wondered why until we saw range after range of jagged soaring peaks and deep shadowed ravines. The heart break was that so much of this rolling jungle is scarred with huge patches of clear-felled forest coups and the whole vista is clouded by a pall of smoke haze from forest harvesting.  Read more of this tragedy here:



Maree security checked

Was that Maree security checked or the bag?

In our first impression of Vientiane we are struck by the contrasts to Luang Prabang.  Vientiane is flat, dusty and lacks the laidback ‘chill-out’ atmosphere of LP. If there are any mountains they are far enough away to be lost in the smoke haze that hangs in the air reducing visibility to 5 or 6 kilometres. The city feels less personal and we miss the cheerful, “sa-bai-dee” (hello) from practically everyone we passed in the street.  The Mekong River here is sluggish and probably a kilometre wide with great exposed mud banks stretch almost half way across towards Thailand. Vientiane has a much more cosmopolitan feel; we walked half a kilometre from our hotel looking for a restaurant for tea and saw more Indian restaurants than Lao ones.  But maybe comparisons are unfair. We have only been here a few hours so we shall see what the morning brings.


ATR 72 at Vientiane

The ATR 72 is a very comfortable and quiet plane.

view from Mekong Sunshine Hotel

View from the window of our Vientiane accomodation. Its a better look than the other way!







2 responses

4 11 2009
Ruth and Jeff

Concerned about culture shock you’re going to go through on your return home – may be too quiet for you and food too expensive?? Not to mention the cold wind and temperature changes……….. Ruth

4 11 2009
Roger and Maree

Hmm, maybe you need to stay longer at St Johns so we can hang on to the weather warms up after Christmas?

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