Into Vientiane | Laos

Today I left the calm, charming city of Luang Prabang to make my way to the capital of Laos, Vientiane. The ride was like all previous bus rides in Laos: twisty-turny, with loads of up and down. Plastic bags were handed out, and again I was glad for Gravol. The difference though was the scenery: I strongly believe that the 200 KM North of Vang Vien makes for the most stunning ride in South East Asia. Charming traditional villages hang off cliff sides, the greens of spring, plum trees in bloom, majestic mountains and limestone cliffs… only photos could attempt to do it justice, and well, the bus doesn’t stop for those.

I did try to snap a few pictures though, but the result wasn’t so great. The window only opened at the bottom, so the perspective was more limited. And of course, because of the road, attempting to take photos felt like trying to take photographs of landscape while crouching in a roller coaster.

plastic bag
rest stop into the clouds

waiting for the bus

nap time

After 10 hours of this, we finally arrived at the bus station, 9 KM out of town. It was mayhem trying to get into a share tuk tuk, and unfortunately we were in the last one to leave. This brought us into Vientiane well past 7 PM, with almost all guesthouse fully booked. As a temporary remedy, I am sharing a room with two lovely French girls that I met on the bus today.

I find it pretty funny: as soon as I end up being by myself and traveling, I get right back into my old habits of room sharing. Glad I still have it in me! But tomorrow morning will be spent looking for a room, because I am in Vientiane to work on photos and blog posts. Otherwise it will be just as hard to catch up as it is with Travis around!

PS. Tara and Tyler, if you are reading this, I really hope that you are intending on cycling Laos. While every city is far away and the landscape is challenging, it really is one of the most beautiful places around. I can’t wait to see all of the pictures you’d get by going slowly through it all!


About Magalie

Canadian girl living in Texas, off to see the world when she can!
This entry was posted in Asia, Laos, Post with photo. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Into Vientiane | Laos

  1. Ginger says:

    Okay-you asked for responses, here it is. Never, and I mean NEVER, will I get on a bus where they hand out barf bags!!!! To paraphrase Jack to Rose on Titanic, “You hurl, I hurl.”

    As for advise on photo editing-what if while we are in Bankgok and sitting by the pool instead of trying to through an entire folder (one whole day of photo’s) you go through and try to pick just 5 great ones from each day and post those. That might help you feel like you are giving to your followers something great and then you can supplament the images at a leisurely pace and with less pressure to play “catch up”.

    Remember how you stressed over wedding details. It all went flawlessly. If anything was missing or over-looked no one but you noticed. If a great photo gets over-looked your first time around, only you will know.

    You, my dearest, are your own worst enemy and source of pressure. No one out here is putting pressure on you, but you. Please don’t let the pressure to publish stiffle your creativity and enjoyment in taking phots. If you are fretting about editing you just might miss that one career making shot.

    Just my thoughts. But you asked…
    Know I love you enough to be totally honest.
    xoxoxo g


    • Magalie says:

      Ginger, thank you! I love your response, and you are so right. I know that I’m the only one pressuring me – that’s my perfectionist streak! I do feel “lighter” when I feel on top of things, and I do feel better when I have gotten things done. I just need to find that perfect balance of getting things done vs. seeing the world, one that allows me to fully enjoy my trip while getting some work done. I know that I’ll get there, I just need to work at it and try new things until I find the “sweet” spot.


  2. Tyler says:

    We are indeed reading along, Maggie, and we are indeed planning to spend at least a month cycling through Laos!

    On your photos, I just had a look at your EXIF data, and was shocked to see you’re trying to wade through this deluge using Photoshop alone. Do yourself a huge favor and buy Lightroom. I promise you’ll be glad you did. I can’t even begin to describe all the ways it will make what you’re trying to do easier. It is specifically designed for the type of thing you are doing.

    This is how Tara and I deal with our photos, hopefully you find it helpful!

    I can’t imagine trying to do what you’re doing alone; keep it up, your writing and photos are wonderful 🙂


    • Magalie says:

      Thanks Tyler! I know Lightroom is amazing, but I worry that it might be just another challenge to learn a new software! I do most of the work in Camera Raw, but that’s still one photo at a time. As much as I’d love to do batch processing, does it really work? I’m skeptical, since pictures are so different from one another! I do need to look into it though… perhaps I’ll try the 30-day trial, see if I become a convert!


      • Tyler & Tara says:

        Lightroom is basically a streamlined interface to Adobe Camera RAW, I doubt you would have much of a learning curve.

        Batch processing is great, yes, but that really only scratches the surface of why LR rules so much. I feel pretty confident in making the sweeping statement that every professional photographer producing the volume of photographs you do is using Lightroom or Aperture to deal with the majority of their initial post processing, and with good reason!

        Even if you used Lightroom for nothing other than organizing and choosing your final images, you’d save yourself hundreds and hundreds of hours of labor. Seriously, this software is designed for the sole purpose of making exactly what you are doing easier.

        Lastly, jumping from Lightroom into Photoshop takes two clicks; they are tightly integrated, if you’re worried about losing the advanced editing capabilities of PS, it is a non-issue.


  3. Natasha says:

    Tyler suggested I buy lightroom and it has been amazing. I knew nothing about photo editing and it has been incredibly easy to use. Pete and I were thinking of renting some motorbikes for several weeks in Lao and I think this has just sealed the deal. Thanks again Maggie. May contact you in a week or so for some route suggestions.


  4. Magalie says:

    Tyler & Tara – for the sorting of photos I’ve been using Adobe Bridge, and it’s actually really cool. I’ve been enjoying the process of eliminating photos (not deleting) and comparing shots through that software. I also like that I can stack the photos if they are part of a series (like to photomerge later) or etc. I imagine that Lightroom does that too.

    I think I’ll download the demo in Thailand, give it a try and see what works best. I think I’m looking forward to trying out the presets the most!

    Natasha, no problem! Just drop me a line and I’ll help as much as I can.


  5. Tyler & Tara says:

    Stacking is definitely neat! Not sure how it is handled in Bridge, but here is a good article about how it works in Lightroom: Stacking in Lightroom.


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