The Laos National Stadium is located in the centre of Vientiane – close to the Lao National Museum.
I’m a big sport fan so I had to check out the stadium! Unfortunately it was closed, but I found an open gate and had a quick look. Not much to see… There is a soccer pitch surrounded by a running track. The stands around the track are concrete terraces and the stadium holds a total of 20,000 spectators, but it looked smaller.
I think you must be a sports freak like me to find this interesting… ;-)
On my Sunday morning walk through the city I wanted to check the football stadium. Arriving there it was no problem at all to just walk through inside the stadium. The safety guard just smiled and pointed out the direction. Going in I met a player in the tunnel of the stadium. He looked at me like I was a scout of Man Utd. Going in I found the National team training for there match on Wednesday. I asked the coach's translate when the match was supposed to take place. Appently he only spoke Lao and Russian, as the coach was clearly Russian.
Unfortunatly I didn't have time to go to the match that Wednesday, but watching the training was nice!
The resort is located at the south-eastern shores of Nam Ngum Lake... The lake is known as the Lake Geneva of Asia and is close to the Phou Khao Khouay National Park... With an area close to 58,000 hectares, it is one of the largest lakes in Asia...
The par-72 course measuring 6,503m from the blue tee, is set amidst the lush Laotian countryside and mountain scenery... The sloping fairways is challenging with deadly combination of swamp, wooden forests and water buflo manure...
Along the river just after a sunset, a fair-type set-up materialises and there are numerous rides and sideshows to try out. It's a familar routine. Throw three blunt darts at the balloons and you win a prize if all three darts successfully burst one. My first dart bounced off but the next two were spot on. I thanked the vendor but he was keen for me to continue, so I did. 18 successful darts (and six bottles of Red Bull) later, he sheepishly suggested I move on. I felt bad but he had been so insistent that I keep going. By that stage a crowd had gathered and they were were all keen for a go at it. I'd like to think he finished well in front.
By the way, the trick is to throw very hard :-)
If I had to guess the national sport of Laos based on what I saw people doing in Vientiane, I would say this is it. People of all different ages play it in parks, parking lots, on the road or anywhere where there is a flat surface and some space. This sport is called Sepak Takraw, and originates in South East Asia. I saw people playing it wherever I went, and a lot of people take it very seriously!
At first glance, it's a mixture of volleyball and football. You have to control the ball and get it over the rope. The aim is to make the ball touch the ground on the other side. In that way it's similar to volleyball.You can't touch the ball with your hands though. Some of the players had some amazing skill, with all their acrobatic twirls and juggling and so on.
In this case, there were a bunch of youngsters playing by Inpeng Temple. The monks didn't seem to mind.
The Vientiane Hash House Hariers is a group of people from all ages and from all parts of the world. Every Monday they meet at another location (maps are usually posted at AVR-office, Scandinavian Bakery, Australian Club and some mini-markets) to have a run and a lot of fun.
On monday there are usually 3 runs: a short, a medium and a long. During the run there are 2 places where you can decide to go back or go on.
After the run there is a cirkel where the run is evaluated in a special way. After that, the host decides who eats first and is it time to dig in.
Costs are 50.000 kip for an adult (including drinks and food).
Equipment: Wear running shoes and comfortable clothes. If you are planning to run, bring a clean T-shirt so you can change after the run.
Every Saturday at 3.45 PM a bunch of people gathers round the Nam Phu fountain. They wear colourfull T-shirts, shorts and running shoes and they have funny names, like Knackered, Catch Up and Tapeworm.
The first thing they do is pay Hash Cash (25.000 kip for foreigners) and get registered for the run. At 4 PM they pack themselves in some cars and drive to a nice area out of town, where someone has already set a run. After a drink and some vague instructions, it is "CHECK IT OUT" to find the trail. When the trail is found it is "ON ON" untill the next "CHECKPOINT" is in sight.
Usually everybody is back before dark (the runners as well as the walkers). When the GM is ready, it is time for "the circle", where sinners are being punished with a "DOWN DOWN" or some sitting "ON THE ICE". Most of the time it is great fun. And when the circle is over, you can have dinner with all the other Hashers and drink some more Beer Lao.
Equipment: If you go to the Hash, bring some running-shoes, good sense of humour, T-shirt and shorts and bug repellent. It is smart to bring an extra change of cloths, in case you get wet and/or sweaty.
Lao Bowling Centre has two alleys in Vientiane, one in the center of town and one at KM4. While bowling may not be the first activity that springs to mind when you think of Laos, these alleys stay open until 3am, making them popular with young locals and definitely a unique cultural experience for visitors. Besides, the city doesn't have much else in the way of either nightlife or sports culture. Admittedly, I did not actually go bowling during my trip to Vientiane, as my time there was very short, but I would certainly consider it if I ever go back.