FLIGHT TO VIENTIANE
7th July 2012
It was a blessing when AirAsia rescheduled the flight and brought forward the departure time from 3pm to 7:30 am. Arriving in the evening on the original schedule would mean an extra day of stay for a quick "look-see"of Vientiane. Now with the flight arriving late morning, we would have a half-day to do a quick tour of the city. A friend of Hj Khailani, Nik Anway made the group of us into a three-some, but only for a day. Nik had planned to put himself on a bus on the same route that we would be cycling, exit into Thailand and bus back to Bangkok.
Together in the plane were many senior lady golfers, who looked pretty excited at the prospect of enjoying themselves (away from their husbands) for a few days. They with their hobby, and us with ours - elderly folks with hobbies to keep the mind alert and active. Arriving on schedule, the only flight that came in to Vientiane was our flight and the checkout was pretty fast.
|A pose at the arrival hall with our bike bags and panniers|
Also on the same flight with us was a sprightly young lady, Ms Helwa who hailed from Kuala Lumpur. Travelling alone, she had planned to take a bus up north to Luang Prabang. She too had a 7-day planned trip. I admired her courage to travel alone. We gave her a free ride in the pick-up van that fetched us to the hotel we had pre-booked, Hotel Lane-Xang.
|From Left : Helwa, Nik Anway, Khailani and self|
|One of the two Halal restaurants in Vientiane|
With those instant food, hot water would be required. So we toyed we toyed between buying the coiled water heater or a small rice cooker. We reasoned that if we purchase the coiled water heater, we still need to buy a container to boil the water. So we settled for a rice cooker. The rice cooker later proved to be one of the best purchases for the year!
Not far from the hotel is also aTourist Information Centre. This is privately run but indeed convenient for travelers. Both Helwa and Nik bought their respective bus tickets to their destinations from this centre. Pick up arrangement from the hotel is provided free by the bus operators.
We too had some information given by the Centre of our intended cycling route. There was however no free maps available at the centre.
|Gathering information at the tourist information centre|
Vientiane is not very busy and one can move around quite easily on a bicycle. However renting bikes somehow was never popular amongst the Asian tourists.
|Rental bikes anyone?|
|A "permanent" waiter at a roadside restaurant|
We also kill time walking amongst the many stalls of a night market located nearby.
|A night market, typical in all Asian countries|
We looked forward to begin the ride the following day