July 2008

Before leaving for Vientiane I found it really difficult to find an online map of the city. The best map for sale in Vientiane is by Hobomaps. It lists almost everything in the city and is really large. It’s obviously been written by someone who’s walked around the whole town and tried to label every building they’ve seen. There are labels like “big white house” or “carpet factory???”. Thankfully there is an online version available. The third map is probably the most readable:

Vientiane Map: http://hobomaps.com/vientianemain.htm


If you’re in Vientiane for any extended period of time I’d really recommend buying this map. You can get it from most mini marts or from Monument books. Until google maps can show Vientiane it’s your best option but right now it seems to think roads don’t exist in Laos.


The second time I went to Phuket my friends and I took some time out from the heat to hang out at a new shopping centre. While inside we saw a few beauty salons with opening specials for facials. For about $10 Australian dollars you could get a facial, and face massage. It sounded like a pretty good deal to my friends so we decided to go in. I’d actually got a similar deal during my last visit to Phuket.

After a quick wash and steam the beauticians take out their tweezers and start cleaning the pores of your face. This is an extremely painful procedure and one of my friends admitted to crying during the process. For some reason I forgot about the first time I went through the process and how painful it was then.

The face massage and steam is quite nice but I don’t think the pain of the whole process makes it worthwhile.