Vientiane is probably the most quiet and drowsy capital city in whole Southeast Asia. As former French trading post it mixes French-colonial architecture with Buddhist temples which are scattered all around the city. Temples such as national symbol name bearing 16th century Pha That Luang along with wide boulevards and three-lined streets are between many notable shrines.

Wandering in streets of Vientiane brings you to conclusion that there is only couple worth while sights and lots riverside promenades around wide bend of the Mekong river. City looks more like a cluster of small villages with few grandiose monuments in order to fuel the nation as a whole. Sleepy tuk-tuk drivers will be happy to help exploring all of it.

Its only been two decades since Laos reopened to the world. Yet, the city changed rapidly and is already full of various pleasures for all budget travelers. Ranging from low-cost street markets to fancy restaurants and unique accommodation. For those who are happy with river watching while drinking a locally crafted beer and not much else to do, this hospitable place is a paradise.

Helpful tips

Restaurants. There are multiple places in the city where you can find descent food. In most of the local restaurants you will find price and quality ratio alright and fresh food, especially fish as city is close to massive Mekong River. Stop by and try local food in night or street markets, look for a cleaner place and enjoy!

We usually enjoyed food not far from where we stayed in “Via Via” restaurant as it accepted card payments. There is always an option to eat at your hotel, although, it is usually a bit expensive, as many accommodation providers will have a restaurant installed, so you do not need to go look for food.

Markets. In Vientiane not as in almost every other city in Laos you will easily find a lot of cheap souvenirs to put on your fridge. However, we encourage to walk around and look for hand made goods in local markets. Here they will charge you more if you look like a tourist. In shops all over city prices vary around same level, thus, choose a more convenient for you. We did find that “K-Mart” shop they would accept card payment, however, there are much more small shops and markets which do not accept it, thus, be prepared and have some cash with you!

Transportation. To get to Vientiane you can use car, bus, plane or even boat as it is the capital of Laos, it has great accessibility. We traveled to Vientiane using hitchhiking from Thakhek. The road quality is alright, they are not massive but well maintained. We got lucky and reached Vientiane just before the sunset. It was really exhausting and long ride. Either way you choose, be aware that infrastructure is not bad but clearly not the best, roads are small and sometimes two-line road (one line each direction) is already considered as a highway. So, do not forget to enjoy the trip not only the destination.

Inside the city you will find yourself using local Tuk Tuk’s, bikes or mopeds which are one of the most convenient transportation devices used to get around. However, exploration is doable on foot if you decide to skip on bike. Even though it is a capital, it will look a bit drowsy compared to other Asian capitals, that is just how Vientiane is!

Best of luck planning your holidays in Laos!

Is there anything else you would like to visit while in Laos?

If you have anything in mind, please let us know and let’s discuss it.

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