My plan for the morning was to do some sightseeing and with the ultimate aim of visiting Kung’s Cafe. The sky turned bright really early in Vientiane this time of the year. By 6am the sun has shone through the gaps of the curtains of my hotel room…Since breakfast was provided for at the hotel, I had a light breakfast before heading out to explore the town.
A short walk away was the Morning Market, which I made my way to visit expecting to see bustling local activities. Sadly the place was kinda boring, it reminded me of the Chinatown Complex with stalls selling sundries. Perhaps I was at the wrong section? Didn’t see any vegetable nor meat stalls.
Kung’s Cafe is located a distance away from the old town where most eateries congregate. However since I need to work off the breakfast, I decided to make my way to the cafe by foot. Along the way I could stopped by and visit some attractions.
The cafe is located within a small village opposite the Ministry of Health. There was a small signage directing customers to take a small path that leads into the village and to the cafe.
What greeted me as I approached the cafe located at the end of the pavement was “kampong” themed cafe! I liked the pots of plants that were placed or hung around the area along with the rattan chairs that were set in the small indoor area.
I took my seat at an alfresco area, parking myself near a standing fan to cool myself. The lady passed me a menu in English and I placed my order of Lao Coffee with Milk (7,000kip = ~US$0.90) and the Sticky Rice Pancake Sweet Mango (12,000kip = ~US$1.50) which had very good reviews online.
The Lao Coffee was served with condensed milk (kinda similar to the Vietnam coffee) and was thick and flavoursome! It was the best coffee I had in Vientiane as the other coffee served in the Western cafes were not this kind of Asian-styled coffee.
Next was the Sticky Rice Pancake which had a crispy skin but was fluffy and moist in the centre. Not forgetting the awesome sweet Mango in the centre. This was really a fabulous dish which was worth my walk to hunt down Kung’s Cafe!
Although Mangoes are widely available in Bangkok, I’ve not come across such dish in Bangkok before as the more common preparation is to serve with Sticky Rice.
I was raving about the coffee and pancakes so much that I was tempted to make my way again the next morning to have it before I depart from Vientiane. Unfortunately due to time constraint we couldn’t travel out of the old town for breakfast.
This turned out to be my most memorable meal in Vientiane and I would strongly recommend others to visit this quaint and wonderful cafe!
While making my way to the cafe, I covered a few sights. Including the Presidential Palace that looks solemn with the grey coloured facade but adorned with gold ornamental mouldings.
Also passed by the City Pillar Shrine which was newly built and That Dam in the morning. Interestingly I thought That Dam has more of a mysterious feel when seen at night under the moonlight.
My stop at Wat Si Saket to look at the historic structure was the most enjoyable. The main hall was surrounded by cloister walls filled with thousands of Buddha statues made of different materials. The interior of the main hall was filled with ancient murals which were in dire state of restoration, hence no photography was allowed. I think Germany is currently funding the restoration works which is on-going. And in honesty I think they could have collected a more substantial entrance fee than the current 5,000kip (approx US$0.60) to help in the cost of restoration.
The Buddha statues lining the cloister were also in varying condition. Some were corroded while others were more intact depending on the material used to carve the statues. A small section of the cloister wall was restored to its original colours and I was amazed by the sweet pastel colours used. It would probably take millions of manhours to fully restore all the cloister walls since it involves intricate painting and artwork!
Wat Si Saket was my favourite attraction in Vientiane, in fact I can conclude that I enjoyed this place more than the National icon of Laos – That Luang (which I visited later in the afternoon).
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