For a capital city, Vientiane is surprisingly quiet and empty.
Brightly colored temples echoing with children’s voices are interspersed with stark colonial structures.
Wide boulevards lead to towering stupas.
If you listen carefully enough, sometimes you can hear the faint murmur of monks chanting inside.
Here is a city where east truly does meet west.
Traffic is scarce, and the dusty open space ahead entices us to explore.
Bicycles are available for rent on every street corner for less than a dollar a day.
Street sellers sporting bored expressions sit for hours without a single customer.
Golden flames waft from the roofs, blazing in the afternoon heat.
The gentle scent of freshly cooked quail eggs rises to greet us in the crowded marketplace.
She flashes me her Mona Lisa grin.
Seven headed nagas loom threateningly over gate posts as if guarding ancient secrets.
The golden stupa is a majestic landmark, surrounded by crowds of devotees enclosed within thick white walls.
A tuk-tuk driver pauses to check on his vehicle after a long afternoon nap. Street signs are marked in both French and Lao.
This peaceful courtyard is an oasis of greenery surrounded by temples where wanderers can relax.
Heading north from the capital to the backpackers mecca, we arrive at Vang Vieng, home of the infamous Mekong tubing.
Rickety bridges connecting ramshackle homes criss-cross a tempestuous river that has swept many a drunken tourist to untimely death.
As a local man contemplates the mud brown depths of the Mekong…
we eat our delicious baguette sandwiches.