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2nd Vientianale International Film Festival

By: Thomas Wanhoff Posted: January-11-2011 in
Thomas Wanhoff

Submissions are open and here we go for the 2nd Vientianale International Film Festival. The first one was such a huge success that the organizers decided to go on with this important event for the Lao movie culture.
The Festival is not only a competition or pure entertainment but has also a focus on education about the potential richness and diversity of Lao film culture by presenting feature films, documentaries, films for children, music videos and short films.

Review: The Loft Lounge

By: Thomas Wanhoff Posted: January-11-2011 in
Thomas Wanhoff

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.

Fitness activities in Vientiane

By: Thomas Wanhoff Posted: January-10-2011 in
Thomas Wanhoff

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.

Review: Lao Roast Coffee

By: Thomas Wanhoff Posted: January-06-2011 in
Thomas Wanhoff

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.

Some advice if you run a coffee shop

By: Thomas Wanhoff Posted: January-05-2011 in
Thomas Wanhoff

I am a bit addicted to coffee shops. The reason is that I like coffee and I like to sit in a Cafe. Since many coffee shops are offering Wifi, they became a workplace for me. What sometimes sucks is the management. You seldom see the owner or manager at the front desk, they leave all the work to the mostly untrained stuff. So some advice for coffee shop owners and managers:

1.) Your customers are important, not you and your balance sheets. If there is any trouble, get your ass off your office and assist your staff

Buying a car and number plates in Laos

By: Thomas Wanhoff Posted: January-02-2011 in
Thomas Wanhoff

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.

Review: Vientiane Healthy Massage

By: Thomas Wanhoff Posted: January-02-2011 in
Thomas Wanhoff

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).

Review: Ansara Hotel and Restaurant

By: Thomas Wanhoff Posted: January-02-2011 in
Thomas Wanhoff

When I travel, I am always looking for something special in my accommodation. I am not a backpacker, so guesthouses are not my game. My preferred hotel must have some basic features like internet, breakfast, restaurant, television and friendly staff. But even more important is that they MUST be special. In Phnom Penh, it is the Pavillion, in Bangkok it is Le Fenix and in Vientiane, it is Ansara Hotel.

Review: Sabaidee Cafe and Bakery

By: Thomas Wanhoff Posted: January-02-2011 in
Thomas Wanhoff

Sabaidee Cafe and Bakery is something of a well known cafe. Although not shiny and modern like the recently opened Joma and True Coffee, the food is awesome. It is an avocado lover's heaven. Try the large selection of bread rolls and bagels. My favorite is the bread roll with avocado spread or the omelet with avocado and cinnamon. They make the bread themselves!

Staff are extremely friendly and nice, just give them a smile and everything will be okay Smile

Vientiane's Buddha Park surreal and fanciful

By: Anthony Galloway Posted: December-30-2010 in
Anthony Galloway

Buddha Park, (the park is not a temple) also known as Xieng Khuan (meaning Spirit City), is a surreal and fanciful sculpture garden full of Hindu and Buddhist statues located about 24km (15 miles) out of town heading south along the river. The park contains over 200 Hindu and Buddhist statues.

The park was built in 1958 by Luang Pu (Venerable Grandfather) Bunleua Sulilat. Luang Pu Bunleua Sulilat was a priest-shaman who integrated Hinduism and Buddhism and later fled from Laos to Thailand after the revolution in 1975.


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