I would have never imagined Laos would be such a disappointment, waste of time and money. I had never experienced such feeling, even when I excitedly arrived in Ukraine and was stuck there for a day while traveling from Prague to Moldova.
To cut a long story short, here are things you need to know about Laos:
Mostly No One Speaks English
Better your body language. You will find very few Laotians who speak English, especially in small towns and villages.
Hostels are Always Full
They never know when will the rooms will be available. During our hunt of the accommodation, we saw the “full” sign on the doors of at least ten hostels. Avoid and go beyond main streets to find a room.
Vientiane Has not Much to Offer
The temples are pretty much the same as in the rest of Asia. And the stupa didn’t look that appealing to us.
We were eager to see the replicate of Arc de Triomphe of Paris, built in 1960 to commemorate those who died in past wars. Climb the top for panoramic views of the city.
Buddha Park similar to one in Thailand is 25km away from Vientiane. Young creation of the founder, this one has smaller statues and is overcrowded by tourists.
Getting Around the Country is a Pain
Tickets in bus stations are expensive compared to the tour agencies in the city center. What???
However, the agencies still don’t provide buses to smaller towns or villages; only to very touristic destinations.
If you are stuck in a small village/town and want to continue your journey to another city, you have to wait for the pass at the highway. The cashier at the bus terminal will tell you that this serves the province only and will advice to return to Vientiane. Seriously???
Sights are Only Approachable by Transport
In Vang Vieng, a party hub of 20-something students, there are caves we wanted to explore. According to the sign, it was 2 km from our hotel. Firstly, we walked more than 2km and secondly, what arrived at a spooky entrance of the cave. We decided to not go in. Another cave was 7km away only approachable by tuk-tuk.
On January 25, we tried to go to the village to see a waterfall and an elephant tower. And again, guess what?? It was not as far as the sign said at the beginning of the village. As we walked deeper into the village we could not find another sign for direction. We gave up and returned to the highway.
Hitchhike Doesn’t Work Here
Exhausted from the walk in at least 35C, we decided to take the chance and hitchhike. Without any luck for more than 20 minutes, we stopped the first bus to nearby town.
Sit in the Aisle If Bus is Full
Literary speaking, I am not even joking!! We passed three buses to realize that it’s common to sit on an uncomfortable chair in the aisle of the bus and still pay the full price.
Whatever! I am tired of all this crap; we are moving to Cambodia.