Vientiane, what can I say? First, I wish we’d come at a different time of year. Vientiane was a furnace. Temperatures were in the upper 90s with humidity pushing the heat index into the 100s. On top of the heat, there were the mosquitoes. So many. So relentless. If not for these two factors, Vientiane would have been unassuming, not very memorable. But thanks to the mosquitoes, I don’t think I will ever forget Vientiane.
The mosquitoes in Vientiane play by a different set of rules. They feast throughout the day instead of the normal dusk and dawn feedings that I’ve come accustomed to. They move differently, more quickly, than any other mosquito I’ve met. And they are not repelled by repellent-treated clothing. These factors made it impossible to protect myself from them. In just a 2 and half day visit, I got 42 mosquito bites despite my very best efforts to keep them away. Perhaps even more disconcerting than the 42 itchy welts covering my body was learning that these fast little buggers were most likely Dengue mosquitos, the often carriers of Dengue fever. Fingers crossed the welts were the only present they gave me.
I’ve mentioned previously that eating is my and David’s favorite tourist activity. And because the temperatures were so unbearable, we didn’t do too much more than meander within a few blocks of our hostel and search for tasty bites. There was one tasty bite worth mentioning – Dhaka Restaurant. Serving Indian and Bangladeshi cuisine, Dhaka served some of the best Indian food I’ve ever had. The aloo palak (potatoes and spinach) and fish curry were amazing. So amazing that we went 3 times and had the same thing each time… well, I did have garlic naan instead of plain naan the last time to add a little excitement.
Although I wasn’t too keen on standing in the sun for hours wandering around temples (and Vientiane has many, similar to most SE Asian cities we’ve visited) I did want to see one – Pha That Puang – which is considered the national symbol of Laos. We went in the morning to beat the heat and it was a lovely stupa, although my favorite aspect was the large reclining Buddha that was outside of the stupa.
There were many more temples and sites in Vientiane that we did not see, and perhaps we missed the most lovely sites. Of the sites we did see, I wasn’t overly impressed, but the mosquito bites and heat may have flavored my opinion.
Click here to see more pictures of our time in Vientiane.