Oct 2010. Vientiane is the capital of Laos. With the help of abundant foreign aid the capital is actually not a bad place when compared with Phnom Penh. The streets are wide and paved and the buildings have a modern touch to them. The riverfront was undergoing a massive renovation back in October to create a beautiful esplanade when I was there. Along the waterfront there are some great street food stalls with seating serving up cheap food and beer lao.
There aren’t many sights to see in Vientiane other than the riverfront, the somewhat disappointing Arc de Triomph and the Pha That Luang temple. Apparently the concrete used to build the Arc was donated by the US to build roads but someone saw fit to use it for other purposes. The city is however a great place to get some good food and wine. The French colonialism left behind a tradition of baguettes and wine all over Laos. I can’t think of anything else left behind by the French that’s any good. In fact, it was the French who introduced the squat toilet to Asia. Yep, that’s right, the French.