After escaping Vang Vieng, We headed to the Laos’ capital Vientiane. The city is landlocked, and unlike Vang Vieng, the river is not swimmable. Luckily, the hotel we stayed in for the first two days had a pool, so we could enjoy sunning ourselves one last time (last week in Asia!) The next day we wandered through the many temples that are dotted around the town. They are less of a destination here in Vientiane and more amongst everything in the city centre.
Our favorite was Wat In Peng
One of our favourite things of the week was visiting Houey Hong Centre. It’s a NGO group run by Lao women that train disadvantaged rural women in the dying art of natural dying and traditional silk weaving. We were shown around the centre and met some of weavers. We then saw how they made natural dyes from different flowers and plants. Then we got to make our own tie dye scarves and weave our own swatch. Our tie dye scarves were the colour blue made from a dye based of indigo leaves, water and alcohol.
Textiles and handicraft stores are all over the capital. Although the shopping in general is better in Luang Prabang, Vientiane has a lot to offer with its boutiques and markets. One shop we loved in particular T’Shop Lai Gallery – Les Artisans Lao. A Fair Trade retailer, all their products were made from local, sustainable materials. They specialised in natural skincare products, handcrafted souvenirs, botanicals and fragrances. It’s a bit like a Lao version of Space NK, except everything is environmentally friendly. While we were there, we were photographed for a proposed article for the NY Times, so we’ll be watching out for that issue.
For 55,000 kip (around £5) we treated ourselves to a two-hour traditional Lao massage. I’ve never been so contorted and cracked in my life. It’s most similar to a kind of sports massage and it felt amazing afterwards.
Our last day in Laos has been spoiled by the rain and thunderstorms so it was a day of reading books and playing cards. Next we are heading to Bangkok for the final few days of our stay in South East Asia.