The train gets really cold at night. I made the right choice to wear long pants and socks, although they did provide a warm and clean blanket. At 6:00 am, the train staff starts folding the beds and brings them back to their seat positions.

The Friendship Train To Vientiane

The Friendship Train To Vientiane

Last night when I used the loo, I didn’t notice that the wastes go straight to the railroad. I found about it only in the morning when I saw the base of the toilet bowl “moving”. The water is clean enough to wash your face and brush your teeth…I think… but I used it anyway. 🙂

The bottomless loo in the Thai train

The bottomless loo in the Thai train

From NongKhai to Thanaleng to Vientiane

If you are going to Vientiane, DO NOT buy the ticket at the Nong Khai train station. It will cost you 300 Baht.

Go directly to the Friendly Train and pay 20 Baht when the ticket collector approaches you. The train terminates at Thanaleng. From Thanaleng, you can pay a van 100Baht to bring you to the center of Vientiane. This will save you 180Baht! 🙂

The seats inside the Friendship Train

The seats inside the Friendship Train

Day 2 Expenses: Thailand to Laos
Transportation Cost  
Train to Thanaleng 20Baht
Taxi from Thanaleng to Vientiane 100 baht if 4 of you share the taxi.
To Mixay guesthouse 50 baht

Vientiane is like those sub-urban areas in the provinces of the Philippines. There are no skyscrapers. Along the streets are either shophouses or houses themselves. It doesn’t look so “kampong” or village-ish at all! I suddenly miss my mom’s province, Pangasinan. 🙂

Most of the vehicles here are either Japanese or Korean brands. Unlike Vietnam, motorcycles are less prevalent on the road. New cars are everywhere though! I don’t understand why the book I read keeps on saying that it’s one of the poorest country in the world.

A local friend once asked me if I knew what LPDR means and I told him it’s Lao People’s Democratic Republic. He said it’s Lao Please Don’t Rush.

For my lunch, I tried the recommended green papaya salad, Lao grilled sausage and of course the Lao beer! Though I’m not a good beer drinker, I think trying a local beer is a must for all backpackers. I like the taste of their beer. It’s not so bubbly and bitter. The Lao grilled sausage is nice but it’s too sour for my taste. I prefer the sweet and spicy flavor. There’s one delicacy that I’ll definitely miss when I leave this place, the crispy baby frog. It tastes like deep-fried crispy chicken skin. You won’t feel the skull nor the eyeballs being crushed when you chew it. It also tastes better because it is paired with crispy leaves of lime. In fact, I bought a bag of them near the Pha That Luang and finished them before I even reached the hostel.

I only aimed for three destinations today. Wat Sisaket, Patuxai and That Luang. Pha That Luang is considered as one of the most important national monument in Laos. I decided to walk my way to these places. I had this imagination that the city is small. I didn’t regret the decision but if I’d do it again, I would rent a bike next time! The distance is too much to bear under the scorching sun. Although, I managed to visit more than two places because I got lost many times.

One full day is enough to go around the city.

I had ground beef with basil and chive leaves for dinner. It is a bit spicy though but the taste is ok. They also served fresh raw eggplants, chili, lettuce and another type of leaf that isn’t for my tastebud.

Day 2 Expenses: Thailand to Laos
Item Cost (Kip)
Lunch
Beer Lao 10 000K
Papaya salad 10 000K
Lao Grill sausage 10 000K
Rice 5 000K
Water 3 000K
Sisaket museum 5 000K
Patouxai 3 000K
mango juice 10 000K
Fried frog 10 000K
Buko juice 5 000K
Dinner
Beef-Larb "Vientiane local" 25 000K
Rice 5 000K
7-up 6 000K
Small beer 8 000K
Macaroons from Dhavara Boutique Hotel – I can't remember how much. 🙂
TOTAL 125 000K ~ $16USD++