Things to do in Vientiane, Laos

Things to do in Vientiane, Laos is a list complied by me for those planning to visit this beautiful country here in Indo China. Vientiane which is the capitol of Laos is located in the Mekong Valley and is the largest city with an estimate population of 800,000 people. Currently, this is one of the newest players in the tourism industry for Indochina and Southeast Asia with many international flights landing here.

They have their own local airline called Lao Airlines if you ant to fly internally or out. The country is also accessible via rail and bus from bordering countries. For the first time traveler to Laos, you have the option of exploring this amazing city by either foot, tuk tuk or even renting a bicycle or motorbike and move around town but please follow the local laws and wearing a helmet is a must. 

Things to do in Vientiane;

Buddha Park in Vientiane
Buddha Park in Vientiane - Known as Xieng Khuan, this is one of the must visit places if you are here. Though it is located about 25 kilometers from town, the best way of getting here is via Tuk Tuk or renting your own motorcycle.  Best time to visit is in the mornings and there is an entrance charge at the door of the park. See unique sculptures related to the Buddhist religion here. Massive and creative structures are laid all over the park.

The entrance of That Luang Golden Stupa in Vientiane
That Luang Stupa or The Golden Temple of Vientiane - Another must-visit place due to the stunning gold colors used overall here. Located about four kilometers from town, you can walk, tuk tuk or bike here. This is also one of the most important monuments for the people of Lao. An entrance fee applies while there are many stalls around for food and souvenirs. There are another two temples in the vicinity which can also be visited for free. Temple closes at 4.00 pm so go early.

Patuxay Arch in Vientiane
Patuxay Arch in Vientiane - This stunning monument which resembles the Arch de Triomphe in Paris is another popular site to visit. It stands right in between the main roads of town at the Patuxay Park and is also known as the Victory Monument or Victory Gate as it commemorates those who lost their lives in the war against the French. A fee is required to climb up while this closes at about 4.30 pm. Great for photo opportunities.

Morning Market in Vientiane
Talat Sao Morning Market in Vientiane - A very unique local market that sells all kinds of souvenirs,clothing and just about everything under the sun. On the top floor, rows of jewelers and goldsmith dominate the area. It is also known as the Gold Market as you see gold crafters who custom make jewelry here too. Opens from 7.00 am till 4.00 pm, it is located in the heart of town and easily accessible. Vientiane Post Office is the landmark here. A must-visit when in Vientiane.
 
Black Stupa in Vientiane
That Dam Bluck Stupa in Vientiane - Another unique monument located in town. This is a free attraction where there are numerous restaurants and bars surrounding the place. The nick name Black Stupa comes from the Lao word Dam which is pronounced (Thut) That Dham. Getting here by foot is easy too.

Lao Food

Lao Food in Vientiane - Definitely a must try for those who enjoy local food. Lao food is slightly different from Thai food therefore it is recommended that you try it when in Laos. There are numerous restaurants and hawkers that cater to this. However, if you have an unsure stomach, please keep to the proper restaurants.

Vespa for rent
Renting a motorbike in Vientiane - For the adventurous, it is quite fun to hop on a bike and see Vientiane and its surroundings. Many places offer motorbike and bicycle rentals for tourist. However, you should be sure confident of riding here as this is Asia, loads of bikes, cars, buses and trucks are seen all over the roads so one must observe the law and be extra careful. I personally rented a small bike and saw many of the places around Vientiane on motorbike.

Currently there is the Asian Travel Forum or AFT Laos 2013 going on at the end of January therefore the city will be busy with travel industry players. Overall, there are many things to see and do here in this city. The best is to explore the place by walking as most of the town area is accessible by foot. There are numerous temples and places of worship while restaurants, cafes and bars are also found in the core part of the city.

A latest update is that there will be SilkAir flights to Luang Prabang and Vientiane in September 2016, which is from Singapore. For those heading here, you can also take some time to chill out here by just looking for some of the cafes or restaurants that face the mighty Mekong River that divides Laos and Thailand. Exploring the local art scene where traders hang their paintings by roadsides are also one of the Things to do in Vientiane, Laos.


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