This is my first time to Laos. I arrived yesterday in Wattay Airport at Vientiane. I find travelling in Laos interesting for many reasons. It has been a while since I visited a country where I can’t speak the language. People in Vientiane who I spoke to, were able to communicate in English, but many aren’t fluent and some only understand and speak some important words / tourist basics (btw, check here if you want to learn Indonesian Language: the tourist basics). I started to walk and explore Vientiane as soon as I arrived.
Here are some Laos random facts that I found from my first day! Enjoy!
1. Laotian women in Vientiane like to use umbrellas. It is not only to keep them safe from the rain, but to protect them from the sun as well. They carried umbrellas everywhere, I saw some of them using them during their lunch break.
2. Laotian are very friendly. The taxi driver was super friendly, the hotel reception was really nice, most locals that I’ve met during my first day in Vientiane have been great. They always have a sincere smile. It was so easy to say no to a tuk-tuk driver. Just say no once and they will not brother you at all. Guaranteed.
3. My first attempt for Laos style coffee was a complete failure. From the menu, it looks like a Vietnamese drip coffee so I assumed I would love it! The result was, I dont like it at all. I can’t even finished a quarter glass of coffee. It was too strong for me. Probably they don’t use enough condensed milk in the coffee. I’ll have try again another day (at a different coffee shop of course!).
4. They do make very tasty soup. I tried a chicken soup for my dinner last night and it was so great. It was very rich flavor and lemony, but not that lemony. You’ll get what I mean when you have a chance to try it.
5. Electrical plugs in Laos are the same as the those in Indonesia.
6. The weather is really hot during the day. No joke, it is probably hotter than Yogyakarta and there was no breeze at all. This is probably the reason why women carry umbrellas. It is so hot during the day and rainy during the night, last night the rain was started at 8 pm.
7. The Laotian skirt is cool. They are great with office tops, look cute with a simple t-shirt and come in a lot of colors and embroidered motifs at the bottom of the skirt. Lovely and simple.
8. Not so many people smoke in Vientiane. This is a fact that I am happy to discover. Probably during my first day exploring around Vientiane, I didn’t see anyone smoking really. When I sat at a street side food stall enjoying my dinner, across the street there were some local men and tourists sitting down enjoying the night and drinking beer, but none of them were smoking. I need to keep my eyes open and investigate further.
9. At a side street food/drink stalls, they (most of the time) serve beer with ice cubes. They do have cold beers, they just serve a bottle of beer with a basket of ice cubes and a glass. People do enjoy their beer with ice cubes. I might try how it tastes. One thing for sure, I know that I need to drink it fast before the ice cube ruin the taste of the beer.
10. (of course) They do have the same fruits as in Indonesia. I saw a lot of fruit sellers and juice stalls peddling familiar fruits such as: banana, mango, dragon fruit, klengkeng (btw, klengkeng trees are everywhere), papaya, orange and mangosteen. Oh by the way, I found the same style balloon toys seller on the street in Vientiane.
11. Living cost here for one day (as a tourist) is around 250,000 kip for two people (accommodation, meals, coffee time and some temples entrance fees).
12. Government buildings are massive! They are usually big and look very modern. It reminds me a lot of government offices in small towns in Indonesia.
13. Indonesia is famous! Well at least with the Laos people I met. When I handed my passport to the lady behind the receptionist desk, she said: “Ah.. Indonesia!” and I replied: “Yes. Have you ever been to Indonesia?” she said: “Yes, Bali beautiful! Nice beaches! I see on websites!“. I smiled. Oh well… Though she ‘visited’ Indonesia through the internet, but she did know that Bali is part of Indonesia. (Or perhaps, the only thing she knew about Indonesia is Bali, ah.. I am happier with my first assumption).
So that is all random things that I have found out on my first day! I shall write up more later on!
Have you ever been to Laos? Which part of Laos that you really love? Let me know if you have any recommended activities in Laos!