Sunday, January 08, 2006

Vientiane, Laos

A warm welcome to you to the first posting of my blog in 2006.

We have returned from our holiday with over 450 photos….but, before you click away in horror,.................. I promise I am only selecting a few for you to see! It has been difficult because we saw so many lovely things and places.

Too much to cover with one posting, so I am going to do it in three instalments. One for each city.

We begin with Vientiane, the capital of Laos.

A developing city but small and easy to walk around. Eight years ago we would have found no traffic I was told but now Laos is opening up and for this reason it was one of the first destinations on our list. We wanted to see it as soon as possible before it changes even more.
Temples and monks are in abundance. We got to know quite a few monks. In Laos they are very keen to chat with you so they can practise their English. Many are young and studying. But at the same time as energetic and mischievous as all youngsters.

The City is on the Mekong river in the far south of Laos and across the river is Thailand. In the dry season, which is now, the river has very little water. In several parts it is not possible to navigate the river.

These next two photos show the street that
runs along the river. Cafes, guest houses and
local eating places are plentiful.
The French influence means that you can find
delicious baguettes and croissants as easy in
Vientiane as you can in London

The local food is fabulous. They cook using
fresh herbs and with some dishes the taste
literally explodes in your mouth. However
we discovered in Luang Prabang and aslo
Chiang Mai that some ingredients of some
meals would be somewhat challenging for us!
So, to our knowledge, we did not partake of
those delicacies. Those of you who know us
well will not be surprised when we tell you
that we also managed to find excellent pizza
cooked in woodfire ovens.

I have chosen the next set of photos to show
some of the temples, their grounds and
their Buddhas

Laos had quite a difficult relationship with
Siam (Thailand). Most of the temples in
Vietiane, being so close to the border,
were destroyed or badly damaged and so
much rebuilding has been done

The latest destruction took place
in 1828 during the Siamese
invasion. Over the years Laos
has been close to Vietnam but
now relationships with Thailand
are warming and there is a new
Friendship bridge between
Thailand and Laos to facilitate
easy movement of the two peoples

The last three photos were taken
at That Luang - the symbol of
Laos and its most important
monument. This temple stands
a little way out of the city. It was
the last temple we visited before
leaving Vientiane and it blew
us away. The sun was setting in
an almost cloudless sky and the
temple was on fire as it reflected
the rays of the setting sun.

The setting was so peaceful at the end of the
day and such a stunning visual feast that we
found it impossible to tear ourselves away
until the sun had slipped away

We returned to town, quietly, for our last meal
in the capital, very grateful for the magical
moment, and eagerly anticipating the next
stage in our trip, Luang Prabang.

Luang Prabang will be the next instalment.

We fell in love with it and definitely wish to
return before leaving Asia.
Come back to find out why........



Anonymous said...

Wow - what incredible photos, Alan, I'm so impressed with them, you are quite the photographer... and also the subject matters are so interesting and beautiful... thanks for providing this slideshow of your time in Asia - I feel like I'm there with you and Dani. Much love - Lizzy xx

Joanna said...

I really like these pictures. Laos and Birma (or Myanmar how it should be called)are my next destination. How would you compare it to Thailand and Vietnam?