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Day trip to Vientiane, Laos - June 27

From Udon Thani

semi-overcast 94 °F
View Much to Celebrate 2019 on Rowlandfamily's travel map.

This morning our driver picked us up around 8 am, and drove us north to the Thailand - Laos border, about a 45 minute drive. There, we filled out paperwork for our Laos visas and arranged our transportation over the border, and a tour (a package deal).

We the took a different van, to border patrol, and across the Thai Lao Friendship Bridge over the Mekong River. Once there, we had to go through immigration then get in yet another van - this one with the steering wheel on the left, as they drive on the right side of the road in Laos. This was our driver for the rest of the day, until we returned to the border and reversed the process.

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Our first stop was a shopping market (I think it’s seocnd to last on itinerary sheet), then we went to Phra That Luang temple. I won’t pretend to know anything about any of the places we saw today, I’ll just put our itinerary here, and some pics, and will Google it later.

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Phra That Luang temple:

  • Our funny here today also happened to Nick ... there was a guy selling birds (4 or 5 in each very small cage) and he hounded us to buy them. I believe people buy them, pray, them release them as some sort of symbolic gesture. When we all refused and the rest of us passed, he said to Nick, “they’re going to die if you don’t buy them!”

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Next, we went to Pratuxay. Nick and I climbed the steps the the top, the girls and Tim didn’t want to do it in the heat, so they relaxed at the bottom. On each level there is shopping and each time we thought we were as high as we could go, there was another staircase!

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After that, we went to two temples that were right across the street from each other. The first was Sisaket:

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Then we walked across the street to Ho Phra Keo:

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After that, we stopped at one last temple, Wat Chao Mae Sri Muang.

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Our driver then took us to lunch - promised to be a “testy lunch” :) - some of the translations could use some improvement! :)

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Finally, we were driven back to the border and dropped off to shop the duty free store for a little bit while the tour company got our paperwork in order for us (a nice part of what we paid for - they did everything except sign our names!)b - apparently we didn’t have time for the mall.

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After we reversed our tracks getting across the border, we met back up with our driver we’ve had the last couple days, and he took us back to our hotel in Udon Thani where we relaxed and used the pool for a bit before we needed to get ready to meet Nudi’s mom for dinner.

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When we went to leave for dinner, I was surprised our driver was waiting for us - I had assumed we were finished with him. He took us to a Vietnamese restaurant called VT Nam Nueng, a favorite of Nudi’s mom, were we met her. She invited our driver to eat with us too (side note - she just found out yesterday that he is her cousin). Despite the fact that he doesn’t speak any English and Nudi’s mom isn’t as fluent as Nudi, and of course our Thai is pretty much nonexistent, we had lively conversation throughout dinner. The food was excellent - we discovered that we are huge Vietnamese food fans!

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After dinner, Nudi’s mom had to get home to bed, as she has to teach tomorrow. She had planned on taking some time off while we were here, but since she’s taken so much time with her parents recently, she wasn’t able. However. she will come to the airport tomorrow to see us off. The 5 of us went back to the hotel and played some cards, something we introduced Nudi to in the US that she really enjoys.... but - fun fact: playing cards is illegal in Thailand. Which is why we played in our room rather than at a table in the lobby, and why Nick entertained is with the song ”Breaking the Law” by Judas Priest as we played! ;)

Tomorrow we check out of our hotel and fly to Phuket - the last leg of our journey already (not counting the 20 hour stop in Turkey). I can’t believe how fast it’s gone!

Posted by Rowlandfamily 08:40 Archived in Laos

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