Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Things to do in Vientiane, Laos

Vientiane Things To Do

Things to do in Vientiane, Laos is a list compiled by me for those planning to visit this beautiful country here in Indo China.

Vientiane which is the capital of Laos is located in the Mekong Valley and is the largest city with an estimated 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.

Things to do in Vientiane

They have their own local airline called Lao Airlines if you want 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. 

Vientiane Buddha Park
Buddha Park in Vientiane
1. Visit Buddha Park in Vientiane

Known locally as Xieng Khuan, the Buddha Park in Vientiane is one of the must-visit places if you are visiting Laos.

Though it is located about 25 kilometers from town, the best way of getting here is via Tuk Tuk or renting your own motorcycle.

The 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.

Golden Temple Vientiane
The entrance of That Luang Golden Stupa in Vientiane
2. Visit the Golden Temple of Vientiane

Another must-visit place is the Golden Temple or That Luang Stupa in Vientiane due to the stunning gold colors used overall here.

This beautiful temple is 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 other two temples in the vicinity which can also be visited for free. Temple closes at 4.00 pm so go early.

Vientiane Patuxay Arch
Patuxay Arch in Vientiane
3. Visit Patuxay Arch in Vientiane

This stunning monument called Patuxay Arch resembles the Arc 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 small fee is required to climb up the structure while this place closes at about 4.30 pm. Great for photo opportunities.

Vientiane Morning Market
Morning Market in Vientiane
4. Visit the Talat Sao Morning Market

Talat Sao is a very unique and 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.

The Morning Market in Vientiane 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.
 
Vientiane That Dam Black Stupa
Black Stupa in Vientiane
5. That Dam Black 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 nickname Black Stupa comes from the Lao word Dam which is pronounced (Thut) That Dham. Getting here by foot is easy and the Black Stupa in Vientiane is a free attraction. 

Vientiane Food
Lao Food

6. Try Lao Food in Vientiane

If you love eating then you must try the local Lao food when you are here. 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, and they can be found all over the city of Vientiane. However, if you have an unsure stomach, please keep to the proper restaurants.

Vientiane Bike Rental
Vespa for rent
7. 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 tourists.

However, you must be confident of riding here as this is Asia and there are loads of bikes, cars, buses, and trucks are seen all over the roads so one must observe the local laws.

I personally tried renting a motorbike in Vientiane and saw many of the attractions by just riding around. Fuel is cheap while you just have to be extra cautious when riding.

Final Thoughts on the things to do in Vientiane, Laos

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 on foot.

There are numerous temples and places of worship while restaurants, cafes, and bars are also found in the core part of the city.

The latest update is that there will be SilkAir flights to Luang Prabang and Vientiane on 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 many things to do in Vientiane, Laos.

5 comments:

Courtney Mroch said...

WOW! Thanks for the education, David. Did not know about this gem of a travel destination. And our Buddha Park pic....WOW! Pinned it on Pinterest!

David Jr said...

Thank you very much Courtney! Hope you get to visit Laos soon! It is truly a gem.

Elal Jane Lasola said...

I love the sceneries. Totally inviting. When my scholarship bond is done, temples hunting is one of the things to do in my bucket list!

Andy said...

The Buddha park and market look especially cool. I didn't know that existed. Thanks for sharing!

David Jr said...

Andy, hope you have the chance to visit these places in Vientiane. Thank you.