We spent the better part of a day flying from Hanoi to Bangkok and dropping off around 100 pounds of souvenirs in two bags at the airport. We then flew to Udon Thani in Northeastern Thailand, took a shuttle to the Friendship Bridge joining Thailand and Laos and took a taxi to Vientiane after crossing the bridge. Unfortunately we found that the hotel we had tried to reserve was full. We spent part of the evening finding another which was more expensive and further from the center. The next morning it was off to the Morning Market for some serious shopping. Actually named Talat Sao it really is open all day. There are several booths selling Hmong items. They are usually family run...one member runs the booth on a rotating basis and the others are busy sewing new stock. The quilts are all handmade without a single machine sewn stitch. There are almost three long aisles of handwoven silks and other textiles.
Nam Phu circle. The "heart" of Vientiane. While it is the capital of Laos it is actually a very small (around 200,000) laid back city with a lot less traffic than either Hanoi or Bangkok.
The Scandanavian Bakery is right on the circle and one of my favorite hangouts. The croissants in the morning are superb and the cakes......................... Oh my.
Traffic on the circle is not much of a bother. Mostly tuk tuks waiting for a fare.
An old telephone exchange in our hotel lobby. Our first sightseeing stop was the famous Pha That Luang. It's the most famous national monument in Laos and its name means World Precious Sacred Stupa. A beautiful building on the grounds.
The stupa was built in the 16th Century by King Settathirat.
Birds for sale. If you free them it is supposed to bring good luck.
The stupa lies 4 km north of town and is the That Luang festival in November. I was lucky enough to be here for it two years ago. During part of the festival several thousand monks from around the country come to receive alms from thousands of Loatians. There are fireworks and processions and the event lasts several days.
Closer to town Wat Si Saket is Vientiane's oldest surviving temple. It contains over 300 seated and standing Buddhas and over 2000 in niches on the walls.
Monks quarters. Each niche has at least one Buddha.
This was a Jar from the Plain of Jars. This is a large plain in northern Laos where hundreds of these jars are spread around. They are probably 2000 years old and no one has figured out their purpose. A decaying home from the French era.
Statue in front of Wat Ong Teu Mahawihan.