Their products are selling quite good, but not always available - mainly because the supermarkets don't take care of the stock. So founder Nongnut decided to open her own shop. It is conveniently located next to the Vientiane International School and offers the whole range of fresh products from Xao Ban - and even more. I have't seen the Pumpkin Spread in the supermarket shelves yet, neither the passion fruit syrup. Fresh fruits and vegetables are also available, and around noon the delivery man bring fresh bread.
Laos is a relaxed country, times slows down here, you lay back and see what's coming down the Mekong river. One of the places I can relax the best are coffee shops. I usually take a book or my iPad with me and sit there for hours, enjoying the coffee, watching people and read a bit (and work sometimes as well). So this is my personal list of the best places to have coffee in Laos. Please note that Laos is a small coffee producer, but with excellent quality.
Every country has it's own image, like Cambodia as the country where Angkor Wat is located and where the Khmer Rouge killed their own people, or Vietnam as the place where the Vietnam War took place, and Thailand as the land of the smiling people. What about Laos? It is getting a bit of a reputation as an eco-tourism destination, it is known as a laid back country where everything slows down. But not many people know that it actually produces one of the best coffees in the world.
The bright yellow painted walls of the building outside hadn't been there when I passed that street the last time, so I thought it might be worth a stop. On a wooden board, was mentioned the different kinds of ice cream on offer, and a quick look through the window made me confident enough to enter.
Many commuters were wondering why there was a huge traffic jam at Khouvieng road this morning. When they got closer to the Donpalan roundabout, they saw the reason: a car was lying on its side in the middle of the canal. A scan of the scene, showed a deformed crash barrier on Khouvieng road, a chopped tree and a lot of debris from the car.
The Loft Lounge is a combination of a Wine Shop in the front and a huge living room style bar in the back. Designed in red and white with a nice brick wall it takes you into a nightlife place you wouldn't expect here in Vientiane. It is quite stylish, and mostly younger middle class people gathering from 10 pm on. But take a 0,5 liter of red wine during happy hour from 7pm to 9pm or try the finger food like spring rolls.
The life of an expat has it’s advantages and disadvantages. One advantage, in particular in Laos, is good and cheap Beerlao. The disadvantage is that you gain weight easily. So how to get rid of these kilograms and pounds around your hips? Do sports. Vientiane actually offers a lot of activities, you just have to know where and when.
Lao Roast Coffee (no idea who chose the name) is a tiny little jewel not far from the riverside at Rue Manthatourath. With a small garden in front (including a basic swing on a tree for the kids) and a contemporary design inside, it is a perfect place to rest, read a book or chat with a friend. The shop serves homemade roasted Lao coffee for a reasonable price (12.000 KIP). Note that what they call "drip coffee" is a "filter coffee", not the Vietnamese drip style. You can also buy coffee there.
When you arrive as an expat in Laos, the first thing you want to have is transportation. Beside the golfcarts, which are actually public buses, there is no public transportation in Laos, and Tuktuks are too expensive for a daily commute.
So you want to buy a car. You may find some advertisements at Phimphone or Simuang supermarket. Due to high tax cars are expensive, even if they are 12 years old, so expect to pay from US$3,000 up.
There are plenty of massage places available in Vientiane. What I am talking about is massage and spa, not the one with the special service. If you like to go to spas, then I recommend Champa Spa right in the middle of downtown Vientiane (they have two branches, the one at the river is the one I most like).