Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Weekend Trip to Vientiane

Some people go to Vientiane before joining us in Luang Prabang, some people go after they finish with GVI, and a few squeeze a trip in during their time as a volunteer. This is what Hannah, Elizabeth and Avni got up to when they went to Vientiane last weekend.
"We were all really looking forward to our trip to Vientiane. We had spent hours talking about what we wanted to do, where we would go, where we would stay and finally decided we would need 3 days for the trip. We agreed the dates with Tricia, arranged for the other volunteers to cover our classes on the Friday and booked our flights.
When we arrived in Vientiane it was all a bit confusing, the guest house we had chosen from the guide book no longer existed and we spent a bit of time walking around town before finding another one we liked. Once we were settled in to our guest house, we set off to do some sightseeing. We went to the Wat Sisaket Museum (the oldest building in Vientiane) which contains thousands of Buddha images.
Wat Sisaket Museum

We then headed for the Patuxay or 'Arc de Triomphe' of Vientiane at the other end of Lane Xang avenue. It is set in a park with fountains and if you climb to the top there is a great view of the city.

We finished the day with ice-cream, 'The Ultimate Sundae Experience'.
Saturday we explored Vientiane and then headed out to Buddha Park (Xieng Khuang) which is around 25Km outside of the city. This was the highlight of our trip. The various Buddhist and Hindu statues are set in a park which is popular with locals as well as tourists. One statue, a reclining Buddha, is over 50m long!

Buddha Park

On Sunday we started the day with breakfast in a coffee shop. While we were eating, a film crew turned out and started filming for a soap opera! We then set off to visit the national symbol of Laos, That Luang Stupa. The original stupa was built in 1566, but various attacks over the centuries destroyed it. It was rebuilt by the French during the early part of the 20th century.

That Luang Stupa

We then made our way back to our guest house to finish packing before having lunch and heading to the airport for our flight back to Luang Prabang.We all enjoyed our trip to Vientiane, it's very different to Luang Prabang, and we're glad we went."