After our 10 nights in Vang Vieng Laos, along with our not so lovely VIP bus ride, we arrived in Vientiane, Laos. The plan was to spend 5 nights exploring this town and then fly to Hanoi, Vietnam next. Well, that happened for the most part, but had a little bit of “burn out” rearing its ugly head. What do we do when you we traveling and have a little travel burn out? We slow down!
When planning our time in Vientiane, I searched high and low for comfortable, clean accommodation within our budget and it wasn’t going well. It seemed like the town was booked up and the prices were outrageous, for Laos. No matter what I searched online, it was more than double, in some cases triple, our nightly budget. I started to get creative with our options and ended up booked 3 king bed rooms, for 5 nights for Free! Yep, we didn’t spend any money on the rooms at all.
I know what you are thinking. How in the world did you get free hotel rooms?
Well with credit card points of course!
For years we have been using our credit card for as many purchases as we could. Only purchases we would normally make and we have always paid the card off in full, every month, to avoid any fees or finance charges. Remaining debt-free for too many years to count! Anyway, I started looking online at our United Airlines flight miles and our Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card miles to see what deals we could find.
I was so excited about our points going a long way in Southeast Asia! Woo Hoo! We found a standard double room (king bed) for just 3400 points a night. As there were 5 of us, we needed 3 rooms and we were staying for 5 nights. Anyway for just a bit over 50k points we had 15 room nights covered (3 rooms x 5 nights).
We stayed at the Sengtawan Riverside Hotel. It was much nicer than places we have been staying, but a little less personal. After all it was a hotel rather than a guest house or homestay. It was a bit of a walk to town, but it was nice to be a little removed from it all and it was free! The rooftop terrace and restaurant had the most beautiful sunset views, with Thailand just on the other side of the Mekong River.
What does a family with burn-out do for 5 nights?
Well, we did a lot of nothing! We tried to catch up on blog posts, photo and video editing and attempted to do some school work. All the while, Gma Bev was out exploring as usual. She meets so many people and is having the time of her life. She has been posting so many photos on Facebook, of her solo adventures, that the family is wondering if we are even spending time with her. Well we do spend time together, but we also all do our own things. Not to worry, Alan has it all under control and is going to keep a tight leash on Gma Bev, so she doesn’t roam off. (NOT!)
By the way, most of our blog posts are a couple of weeks after the fact. If you want more real-time updates of our journey, just follow us on Facebook at Wagoner Abroad.
So we made an almost daily trip to one of our favorite places, Joma. We discovered it in Luang Prabang and we think it was a bit better there as well. It was nice to get a bowl of chili or a cinnamon roll.
The views along the Mekong River were just beautiful and the hotel also provided free bikes. They had a total of 6 bikes, but only 2 were in good enough condition to actually ride. Alan and I took them out for an evening ride and it was hysterical. Both of us were on little bikes that were for small people, so needless to say it wasn’t easy to pedal. We started in to town and stopped for dinner. We passed by the Laos Presidential Palace, but I forgot to take photos. I returned to following morning to grab a few shots.
We did have fun exploring the city, well after dark. We rode down by all of the embassies and the business district, as there was a tall lit structure, which we just had to check out. Turns out it was the Laos version of the Arc de Triomphe (Patuxai). It was very pretty and in a park like setting, surrounded by foreign embassy and government buildings. It looked like a nice day to spend an afternoon or lunch.
Just in case you have trouble reading the sign below, I have the exact text for you here:
“At the northeastern end of the LaneXang Ave. arises a huge structure resembling the Arc de Triomphe. It is the Patuxay or Victory Gate of Vientiane, built in 1962 (B.E 2505), but never complete due to the country’s turbulent history. From a closer distance, it appears even less impressive, like a monster of concrete. Nowadays this place is used as a leisure ground for the people of Vientiane and the seventh floor on top of the building serves as excellent view point over the city.”
The following morning, Anya and I explored a bit on the bikes too. It was a little more difficult for her to navigate the potholes, traffic and poor quality of the bike, so we didn’t last too long. It was nice just riding up and down the riverfront.
Our time in Vientiane was relaxing and we really didn’t do too much. Just a daily stroll into town for food or the night market.
Gma Bev on the other hand has some great stories to tell. Maybe we can make a post from her Facebook posts? Would you be interested? Let us know and we will see what we can do. Next up on our travel plan… Hanoi, Vietnam!
Read more about our
Adventure333 (3 Generations, 3 Months, 3 Countries)
Laos, Vietnam & Cambodia
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