Solo Overland Backpacking Trip to Thailand and Laos – Part 23: Pyongyang? No, it’s Vientiane!

Solo Overland Backpacking Trip to Thailand and Laos – Part 23: Pyongyang? No, it’s Vientiane!

Previously: Part 22 – Pha That Luang and Around

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Still Day 6: Saturday, 31 August 2013

Have you ever feel like travelling to Pyongyang in North Korea? To be honest, I really want to travel there, to really see how the place looks like. Thanks to the advent of technology, I have watched several travel videos on Pyongyang via You Tube and it made me feel like I was there.

Pernah tak korang terfikir nak mengembara ke Pyongyang kat Korea Utara? Aku ada. Haha. Kadang-kadang, aku tengok video orang lain travel ke Pyongyang semata-mata sebab nak tengok suasana kat sana.

So, what is the relationship between Pyongyang and my 23rd post of my travelogue on my solo journey to Laos? Well, there is a relationship actually; both countries are communist states.

Jadi, apa kaitan antara Pyongyang dan post aku yang ke-23 untuk travelog solo aku ke Laos ni? Kaitannya – kedua-dua negara adalah negara komunis.

After I left Pha That Luang complex, I got lost inside an unknown village and suddenly, I exited at a busy road (later determined as Avenue Kaysone Phomvihane). I cycled along the road until I found the National Convention Centre which looked deserted and add the gloomy weather in the city, it looked and felt awfully lonely.

Lepas aku tinggalkan kompleks Pha That Luang, aku sesat dalam satu kampung ni, lepas tu tahu-tahu aku keluar kat satu jalan yang sibuk sangat – Avenue Kaysone Phomvihane. Aku kayuh dan kayuh dan kayuh sampai aku jumpa National Convention Centre yang nampak sunyi, tambah lagi dengan cuaca yang mendung.

This statue is so huge, I couldn’t help but to stop and explore what this building is all about.

After snapping some photos, I continued cycling until I saw a huge statue from the outside of a building and it triggered me to enter into the building without knowing what building is that. In a matter of seconds, I parked and locked my bicycle and the designated area and walked towards the building.

Lepas ambil gambar sikit, aku sambung lagi mengayuh bila tiba-tiba, aku nampak satu patung besar kat dalam sebuah bangunan kat sebelah kiri aku. Terus rasa macam nak masuk. Aku letak basikal aku kat tempat yang disediakan sebelum jalan ke dalam bangunan tu.

Another statue inside the museum.

Ladies and gentlemen, I did mention earlier that there is a relationship between Pyongyang and this post right? Well, welcome to the Kaysone Phomvihane Museum (which is partially funded by Vietnam)!

Tuan-tuan dan puan-puan, ni lah antara persamaan antara Pyongyang dan Laos. Inilah Muzium Kaysone Phomvihane (turut ditaja oleh Vietnam)!

“Watch out folks, I will put my eyes on everyone of you”

Kaysone Phomvihane (the face in the Laos notes is his) was the leader of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party from 1955 and had served as the figurehead role to the party. He was also the Prime Minister for Lao People’s Democratic Republic from 1975 to 1991 after which he served as the President from 1991 until his death in 1992.

Kaysone Phomvihane (gambar dalam duit kertas Laos gambar dia) ialah ketua kepada Parti Revolusi Rakyat Vietnam dari 1955. Dia juga ialah Perdana Menteri Republik Demokratik Rakyat Laos dari 1975 sampai 1991, yang mana lepas tu dia jadi Presiden sampailah dia meninggal dunia masa tahun 1992.

The huge museum dedicated to the one and only – Kaysone Phomvihane.

As the name suggests, this Museum basically is dedicated to Kaysone Phomvihane and his legacy. It has exhibitions which tell the story of this man from his childhood days, his struggle and his journey as a leader. Old uniforms, set up of his hiding place, his office etc were exhibited here. Unfortunately, camera is only allowed until the staircase area, all other areas are not allowed to be photographed.

Muzium ni didekasikan kepada Kaysone Phomvihane dan legasinya. Bila aku masuk dalam muzium ni, memang cerita pasal dia je, dari zaman mudanya, zaman perjuangannya sampailah perjalanan dia jadi seorang pemimpin. Uniform lama, tempat dia bersembunyi, macam-macam lagilah, ada dipamerkan kat sini. Sayangnya, kamera cuma dibenarkan sampai kawasan tangga je. Kawasan lain tak boleh.

Fight together for the nation!

Walking around the museum and looking at the exhibitions couldn’t help me to think that this is so much a propaganda museum, a propaganda for communism. Although Laos is modernizing itself, communism is still deeply rooted within the society. And looking at the statues all around the museum, I couldn’t help but to compare them to the videos I watched on You Tube, showcasing Pyongyang.

Masa aku jalan-jalan kat kawasan muzium ni dan tengok pameran-pameran kat dalam ni, aku dok fikir, ni memang muzium propaganda untuk komunisme. Walaupun Laos dah semakin moden, tapi komunisme masih kekal utuh berakar dalam masyarakat. Bila aku tengok patung-patung Kaysone Phomvihane, teringat aku kat video-video Pyongyang yang aku tengok. Suasana yang lebih kurang sama.

Usual propaganda statue – to show that all citizens are the same, together we work hard for the benefit of the society – but the truth?

After touring the whole museum, I went out of the museum and at the compound, I met a couple from Germany – Martin and Emma. We engaged into conversations and under the cloudy weather, we exchanged our views on communism, history, democracy and other stuff, before decided to cycle together for the evening.

Lepas dan pusing keliling muzium – memang habis satu muzium aku pusing, aku keluar dari kawasan muzium dan terserempak dengan satu pasangan dari Jerman – Martin dan Emma. Sebelum ke basikal, kami borak-borak dulu dan di bawah cuaca yang mendung tu, kami bertukar pendapat tentang komunisme, sejarah, demokrasi dan macam-macam perkara lain, sebelum kami ambil keputusan untuk kayuh basikal sama-sama, menghabiskan petang ni.

What is your view of communism/socialism? Do you think it still has a place in today’s society?

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To be continued – Part 24

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Kaysone Phomvihane Museum is situated along Kaysone Phomvihane Avenue in Vientiane, Laos. It exhibits the history of Kaysone Phomvihane and his legacies in building Laos as a country. Photography is not allowed inside the museum.

The bicycle parking fee is 1,000 kip and the entrance fee is  3,000 kip [as of August 2013].

7 Replies to “Solo Overland Backpacking Trip to Thailand and Laos – Part 23: Pyongyang? No, it’s Vientiane!”

  1. Great post! Thank you for sharing. Google pasal makanan halal terus baca entire journey..:) Next week akan ke Laos untuk seminggu… sekarang dapat gambaran penuh pasal Vientiane. Harap sempat baca part 24.. hehe.. Cheers! 🙂

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