ATMS do exist
There are a number of ATM's in Vientiane. But as for which ATM, depends on whether you have Visa or Maestro. We have found that the ATM attached to the Joint development bank on Th Lan Xang accepted visa but was having problems with maestro. The limit is 1 million kip per transaction, maximum of 3 transactions which means 3 million kip.
Banque pour le commerce Exterieur Lao (BCEL) have an ATM just to the right of Patuxai which accepts maestro but not visa (despite the visa sign). 700,000 kip transaction limit, but you can do more than one transaction per day. Not sure up to how many. They are putting in more ATM's, so keep an eye out.
facts, thoughts and impressions
Vieng Chan is the name of the city as it was born in 1563: it means , the "City of the Moon".
The reason? I simply don't know.
In terms of landmarks, sightseeing or size there is not much in Vientiane, and thank goodness for it. Often it is referred as Asia's largest village, just because for a capital city it's extremely small and sleepy, like the location where it sits: on an equally sleepy shore of the Mekong River the broad tree-lined boulevards, colonial mansions and even a Lao version of the Arc de Triomphe. But also the temples, some simple huts, some lively markets, some rice fields.
Drink Beer Lao
Like everywhere else in Southeast Asia, Vientiane is hot and humid. A long day of sightseeing can really drain you quickly. My recommendation is to take frequent breaks and cool off with a refreshing Beer Lao. This is the national beer of Laos and is produced by the Lao Brewery Co. Ltd. which also produces the most popular brand of drinking water. Beer Lao is available in small or large bottles or in cans. If you arrive by the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge, you will see the brewery on the way to Vientiane, and it is surprisingly large and modern. Website: http://www.beerlao.laopdr.com/Product.htm
We were lucky enough to partake in a traditional baci ceremony. It is a ceremony held to celebrate any special event, our return to Singapore in this case. what a great idea to facilitate the outpouring of goodwill and love!
the best part of the ceremony was when the Laotians enthusiastically came up to us and tied cotton threads around our wrists, sincerely wishing us good luck, good health, good fortune, happiness and all the good things that matter in one's life. these came from people whom i had only known for a weekend and hence, it's heartwarming to encounter such warmth. They also informed us that the baci threads had to be wore for at least 3 days. I wore mine for 3 days and now that i paid my dues, I ought to anticipate good things in the future! haha.
this ceremony comes with a feast! we were offered hard boiled eggs, bananas, mandarin oranges, chicken and of course, the ubiquitous whiskey!
Don't do these things:
Don't do the following things while in Laos:
1) Touch a Buddha Immage.
2) Point the bottom your feet at someone.
3) Point the bottom of your feet at a Buddha immage.
4) Kiss in public.
5) Be dirty.
6) Touch someone's head.
7) Women can't touch monks. If they do the monk will have to go through spiritual cleansing.
8) Don't do drugs - this harms you, Lao society, and you again while in Laotian jail for a few years/decades?!!