Laos: Vientiane and Vang Vieng
The main part of my trip to Laos was about meeting a friend from Korea in Vientiane. He would be working remotely so that meant we wouldn't be actively traveling around the country. Instead we would be relaxing and taking it easy in the capital city of Vientiane, however, I flew in a couple of days early so I went off to the closest city of Vang Vieng.
Vang Vieng, is a notorious hot spot for backpackers behaving badly. I had read that the city has cleaned up a lot of the problems that made it notorious but the beauty that attracted people in the first place was still intact. I wasn't there 5 years ago so I am not an expert but the backpackers are still there doing their thing and yes it is home to some really beautiful scenery. It has also risen in popularity with Korean tourists and I met some very nice Korean people who made me feel nostalgic about the place I have called home for the majority of my adult life. Overall it was a great time and a beautiful place.
Vientiane is a super relaxed city by Southeast Asian standards. Despite it not being very popular for tourists both me and my friend thought the vibe was cool and the relaxed nature of the place made it a great place to visit. The food is similar to other foods in Southeast Asia but it has its own unique spin with strong herbal and citrus flavors as well as a good dose of spice. One of the more interesting places in the city to visit a small visitor center in a rehabilitation hospital called the COPE visitor center. It gives some in sights into how the Vietnam War effected Laos. It is a pretty dark and brutal history that is still effecting the people in Laos but it was interesting to see. I also saw Logan in the movie theater while in Vientiane. I need lots of breaks inside of malls while in Asia due to the crazy heat, so I am glad I was able to do that.