On the Road: Live from Vientiane, Laos

Gate of Triumph, Vientiane, Laos
Gate of Triumph, Vientiane, Laos

Vientiane, the capital of Laos, is a popular tourist destination. At restaurants it’s common to hear conversations in multiple languages. The international flair of Vientiane in part comes from old French colonial architecture found throughout the city. I’ve chosen Vientiane as the starting point of my latest road trip in search of natural building and sustainable farming projects.

My two main goals for this journey are:
– create more life-enriching experiences by living more intentionally as Thoreau advised;
– visit organic farms in SE Asia to learn more sustainable farming skills, and improve my diet by obtaining fresh organic fruit and vegetables direct from farmers. Through this process I hope to create working relationships with other organic farms in the region as I explained in a previous blog post Distributed Farm/ Community Network.

Here’s a list of different travel options to illustrate how one could live more intentionally: 1) Join a bus tour that makes 5-15 minute pitstops for photos, shopping, etc. 2) Typical vacations to exotic tourist destinations. 3) Take a 1-2 week workshop. 4) ‘Slow travel’ – stay in an area for a longer period of time so you can get to know the people, experience first-hand how locals live by learning how they grow their food, build their houses, etc. WWOOFing falls into this later category, although I may not limit myself to farms on WWOOFing networks.

Just to be clear, I still have a wonderful loving family, comfortable home and homestead with our forest garden. But it’s time to leave the nest and ‘up my game’ so to speak.

Image source: Baolau.com

2 thoughts on “On the Road: Live from Vientiane, Laos”

  1. The fruit has been a highlight of Vientiane. In particular, the fruit and food at Noy’s Fruit Heaven is highly recommended. Their fruit shakes are insanely delicious. They have the best bananas that I’ve ever eaten. Their shakes and smoothies are so popular that tourists are always hanging out here. The ‘smoothie masters’ churn out fruit drinks one after another all day long as fast as they can make them. You can choose from a long list of smoothies or place a special order. The owner and staff are super friendly and helpful. The food has been consistently high quality. My favorite meal is the vegetable stir fry. I have them add a can of beans (purchased at a supermarket) and a hot Thai chili. Also, Noy’s sells fruit for takeaway.

  2. Overall rating for Vientiane: thumbs up. Vientiane is popular for good reason. Plus, it’s a good jumping off point to other destinations such as Luang Prabang and Vang Vieng.

    Most tourists stay in the Central Area of downtown Vientiane, where everything needed is just a block or two away. It’s sort of a village full of shops, dozens of hotels and guesthouses, restaurants, money exchangers, etc. for tourists. Nearby you’ll find major banks, a shuttle to and from the airport and major shopping mall, bustling night market, and major tourist sights such as the Patuxai Gate of Triumph shown above.

    It’s easy to get details on every aspect of visiting Vientiane online (or any other destination) thanks to the Internet. 30 day visas are easy to get on arrival. Get a free tourist map from a hotel or restaurant once you get here to make finding your way around even easier. This free map shows the main streets, names of most hotels and restaurants, tourist sites, etc. You’ll quickly realize everything is just a couple blocks away and so there’s no need to wander around like a lost tourist trying to follow google maps on their smart phones.


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