Pritam Rohila Travels

Reports of my travels along with some pictures

Jun 2, 2012


After breakfast, a Bangkok Air lady came to the Airport Hotel to escort us the Thai Air gate, and on the way got us our new boarding passes.

Our hotel’s car picked us up at Vientiane’s Wattay International Airport, and whisked us to the Best Western Hotel, which is situated in heart of the Laotian Capital city.

About the size of Great Britain or the U.S. state of Utah, 70 percent of its land is mountainous. Laos is and one of the most sparsely populated Asian country.

Although animism is prevalent especially among hill tribes, sixty percent of Laotians are
Buddhists. But vestiges of Hindu influence dating from before the advent of Buddhism are still visible, for example, in some of the country’s monuments.

As is true of the most of the Indochina region, religions and customs of India came to Laos rather peacefully. Long before the mid-13th century, when the first kingdom had been established here, Indian men came to Laos, married local women, and settled in the area. After losing direct contact with India, they had to depend on their memory, which had been inadequate, and sometimes even distorted.

Laos has been politically and economically isolated since communists assumed its control in 1975. Therefore, development here is very limited, and most people live on subsistence farming and in small villages. But recent economic liberalization and embrace of tourism have improved conditions a little.

Vientiane has been described by some as “quiet, provincial, and sleepy,” and looks more like a small town than a capital city.

Apart from a few colonial, civil and religious structures, most buildings that line its streets are unpretentious,

...and people simple and easy-going.

Since here we were on our own, after checking in, we decide to explore the neighborhood on foot.

Just a few blocks from our hotel, we came across Wat Ong Teu. Originally built in the early 16th century, and rebuilt since then, this temple serves as the seat of the patriarch of Lao Buddhism, as well as the national center for Buddhist studies.

It is known for its beautifully carved ornamental details on its doorways and windows.
The doorway to the main temple has the typical Laotian pointed double arches, and is highlighted with gilded vines and leaves against green background.

The temple got its name due to its large, bronze Buddha idol.

Vientiane is situated on the east side of the Mekong River, across which lies Thailand.

We went to the River Walk along the Mekong River. People come there for an evening walk, to meet others, or to just sit and while away their time.
While some come to shop at the night market,...
...or enjoy the sunset.

While there, we ran into Deepa, a young woman from Chennai, India, who had been studying for MBA at a university in the U. S. state of Virgina. In Vientiane for a low-budget sightseeing, she stayed at a youth hostel.

We decided to go together for the next day’s sightseeing in a shared tuk-tuk, a motorcycle-driven top-covered cart. We struck a deal with one for US$30 for this purpose.

Before calling it a day and heading back to our hotel, we walked to Nazim, an Indian restaurant for dinner.

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