25 Jul - 27 Jul 2010 Vientiane

Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Laos)
Soukchaleun Guest House +85621218723
Adequate double room with private balcony for LAK 90,000.- or US$ 11.- per night.

Click below for an interactive road map of the Soukchaleun Guest House in Vientiane and for directions:

Rushing through Vientiane’s compact city centre with its baffling pretensions to Frenchness (spongy baguettes, slimy cheeses and sour red wines), wat-hopping the main temples along Setthathilat Road (our favourites: Wat MixayWat Sisaket and Wat Simuang where hundreds of Buddhist devotees bring their offerings to make merit on the first day of the Buddhist Lent, learning that the accumulation of merit is paramount to every Theravada Buddhist’s spiritual strategy and a way to dilute the destructive effects of any sin that may have been accrued by bad deeds) and spotting some typically Southeast Asian styles of riding a motorbike: (i) if it rains you drive with an open umbrella in your left hand in order to protect your face from becoming wet, (ii) if the bike breaks down you can easily find another biker who will push you and your bike, with his right foot connected to your bike’s left foot peg, to the nearest workshop, and (iii) if you can't afford a car you can neatly fit your three children behind one another into the gap between your pillion-riding wife and yourself and look forward to the next addition to your family which will find his or her place right in front of you...
“There is a delicate ridge one must ride between fear and reason on a motorcycle - lean too far in either direction and there will be consequences.”

Saying our goodbyes to rather messy French Indochina, flying uneventfully with Air Asia (“Now Everyone Can Fly”) in an Airbus A 320-200 from Vientiane's Wattay International Airport back into the rather orderly British Commonwealth, to Kuala Lumpur’s modern KLIA-LCCT Sepang, for US$ 15.- per person, one way and all inclusive, and being issued with another 90-day-visit pass for a “social visit” to Malaysia on arrival, free of any charge; once again: "Selamat pagi, Malaysia!", a fascinating mix of the modern world and a developing nation.

Click below for more blog posts about Asia's fascinating capital cities
01 Apr - 09 Apr 2015 Delhi
21 Oct - 28 Oct 2014 Kathmandu

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