Back to Vientiane again! What a change to my former visits. Construction and changes everywhere. Even my favourite restaurants were gone. It’s Pizza everywhere – well, Pizza and Western Food in general! At least in the streets close to the Mekong and the night market the changes are very obvious. Talking to a Lao manager of a restaurant, she told me that most former owners moved out of the city and are now living outside, while their properties are being sold and changed into Hotels and Restaurants.
I still found old-style Vientiane, but further out in the village parts which make up greater Vientiane. Cafe houses and new hotels are going up everywhere and tourists are now the same as everywhere all over Asia. They sit in A/C equipped cafes for hours with their WiFi connection. Decent dress codes have been replaced by western tourists on bicycles with sport shorts and their shirts off.
One thing I saw in my former visits was the excercise action combined with loud music along the Mekong during sunset hours. This was still the same, though two or three groups of them with the sound at extreme levels. No more serene sunset watching!
The night market grew! The products changed. While I still found some local products before, it now seems to be cloths, shoes, touristy things and electronics. Even when I wanted to buy a USB stick in a store, they told me to go to the night market.
And the night market itself has changed it’s face! On the other side of the Mekong dam was a completely new night market, Chatuchak-style (the weekend market in Bangkok) which seems to be targeting the huge number of mainland Chinese tourists. It seemed like it just recently opened, so most stands were still empty. Will be interesting to watch this market over the next few years.
Pizza, Western food, fusion food and even Bitcom accepted signs!