I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again –Vientiane is fun beyond fun. You’re asking about Nightlife? Ooohhh, you so have no idea what you’re getting yourself into.
Back in college, I was underwhelmingly exposed to the Elbi nightlife for two reasons: 1) I had to go home immediately; and 2) I didn’t want my wallet to be harassed. I just curled on my bed at night thinking of what could have been.
So when I arrived here 16 months ago, I wasn’t all into partying mode –for someone who hasn’t been drunk all her life, I was scared to death of the night that I would be. I was wondering what if that night will turn into a total fiasco? Will I fall flat on my face (well, I always do but isn’t it more humiliating when you’re trashed or is it the other way around?)? Will I get hit by a car?
But my resistance to gaining friends can only do so much.
I met Thina, two weeks after my arrival. She’s Lao-American, outgoing and very persistent in inviting me to go out with her friends. She felt I wasn’t “having fun in Laos” so she took responsibilty of giving me Happy in the form of alcohol. That time, I didn’t know I was going to be here for a while so I gave in and went to one of her night-outs. Making the most of out my stay, I told myself.
A tunic top, jeans and flats would have been cool –for malling not for partying. How was I to know? The only partying I knew was the clubs in my university so the ladies were all… laidback! Not here, they are not. It’s like a scene from a sitcom where everyone was in skimpy skirts and dresses, hair all coiffed, heavy makeup with falsies and colored contact lenses, scary high heels and per-fffume, lots of it. Thina was nothing like that though, but still compared to her, I looked like a pitiful girl from the province.
The night always starts with dinner cos apparently, having dinner before getting drunk is a must. So that particular night-out, we headed to Hare and Hound. But what I didn’t get was ordering cocktails and beer that early. I seriously thought the drinking part would commence later that evening –well “later that evening” was actually at 8PM.
Then off we go to the Loft, with a zen-like interior concept, people chill in this part of the city to drink and chat with buddies. After that, I thought, it was time to go home. It wasn’t a big deal because I was getting tipsy from all the margarita. But no, the mere mention of Romeo sent my head spinning more.
Romeo is one huge nightclub along the highway going to the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge. It has been renovated a lot of times within the course of my stay but one thing has never changed in that place, and that is Johnny Walker. I never liked rumcoke because for every sip, the alcohol seethes through my tongue and throat and I hate the after taste. I’d rather get a shot, like on the rocks, then go for a chaser than drink the whole glass every now and then. Rumcoke hammers everyone. Ew, right?
And you know the best and worst part is? Friends, always, ask you: Meud der! (Muht’deu …sorry, I can’t write Lao and phonetic spellings vary) which roughly translates to Finish it. Being all new in the crowd, I finished every glass. I didn’t know you can NOT finish it. I mean, you can let them hound you to drown in it, but they don’t actually mean it.
So, you can guess what happened next –the spot where I had my first throw-up –is just around the corner.
It was my 21st birthday. I felt I couldn’t be any more legal. And as a result of my advertisement pitch being approved, I celebrated it in a nightclub with some of my colleagues; pleasantly surprised that my overly-prim-and-proper friends were all dressed up and partying on a wednesday night.
Marina is one of the famous nightclubs in the city located along the road on the way to the airport. It also has a bowling center so you can play a round or two before getting drunk. It’s small and a little too crowded but that’s just because the Vientiane Partying scene enjoys the tracks in the club so much. It has also been renovated quite a number of times.
Early Nights and Hiatus
I went hiatus from partying because Thina left for the States but I’ve had early nights with some Filipino friends at Bor Penn Yang. Bor Penn Yang (roughly translates to No Problem, Don’t Mention It… something like that) is a bar and restaurant at the rooftop of one building located along the Mekong River banks. Shoot some pool or chill on the couch, the place is pretty awesome. You also got the perfect view of Nongkhai, Thailand with delightful lights at night.
Come Second Quarter of 2010
After my unfortunate fall from Noy’s car because of too much whisky from a wedding reception, I swore I would never ever go out and drink whisky again. But being a foreigner, I felt it was a waste to turn down invites. Mina, invited me one night after she just came from a workshop in the province. I was looking for Noy but she said that Noy was pretty busy. Who knew that Mina and I would be like best gimmick buddies. Whenever Mina, her friends and I go out, we have dinner at Moon The Night or Kong View first. They order bottles of Beer Lao or Spy, it’s like mainstream wine. Both restaurants got really delicious Lao food; they got an open-air setting so you’ll feel the nice breeze from the Mekong River. They also got covered areas just in case it rains.
After binging on Lao food, it’s off to Marina. Upon reservation of a table, it entitles you one Johnny Walker, Pepsi and soda water to mix. First I was like, Can we order beer instead? Apparently, we can –they just prefer whisky.
Drinking a little too regular than necessary, I think, helped me build my alcohol tolerance. So most of the time, I don’t get drunk –tipsy, yes –but not can’t-remember-what-happened drunk. Then I watch my friends dancing hell to the core. HAH!
There were also a couple of times where after the clubs close (like around 1-2AM), we park at one of the noodle shops to level down our drunk state to tipsy and beat.
Going out with them and partying at Marina or Romeo or anywhere else is exhausting but totally unforgettable, drunk or not. We dance, drink and we’re allowed to be wild and shrieky and no one will judge. These memories will surely stay, together with the people I celebrated life with.
So visit Vientiane, and get a life –a nightlife at that.
Some places worth mentioning. Wind West (located near Parkview Executive Suites, close to Champa) – for music and booze. Champa (under renovation; located near Marina) – enormous nightclub as well
You might also want to check out Vang Vieng Nightlife here
Entry title I Love The Nightlife (Disco ‘Round) performed by Alicia Bridges