Vientiane a big capital city with a small town feel. It's friendly and laid back atmosphere beckons you in to enjoy some of its charm and warm hospitality.
Its complex history and old wordly charm seem to have kept it back somewhat but this only adds to its magnetism and visitors are easily seduced.
From its striking Temples and their quaint stories and traditions to the mind-blowing beauty of its varied landscape, from traditional massages and treatments to its many icons and Buddhas it truly is a land of many contrasts.
Another place whilst here would be described as the Jewel in Laos Crown, Luang Prabang it has managed somehow to maintain its splendour and preserve its deep-rooted charm while still living a mostly simple life. Read More...
Home of Sacred Temples and Spectacular Religious Monuments a Guided Tour of Vientiane
The big city with a big heart but maintaining its old world charm and hospitality. Many Private tours to see and do are
The harrowing site of the Victory Monument dedicated to the many wars dead.
The magical Temple of Wat Si Muang and its power to grant wishes to its believers
Shopping at the local market for last minute bargains and souvenirs and maybe a spot of food
Demons mouth entrance to the Buddha Park and it's 12 faced four armed deity
A luxurious if somewhat basic herbal sauna and massage to rejuvenate you
A bit of weaving and dyeing at the textile museum on an old traditional loom
For something, a bit different have a guided tour around the stunning landscape of Vang Vieng draws you in enticingly.
This action packed town is really little more than a bus station and a few streets and was once just a stop off point on the journey to the Thai border.
Top 10 Things to Do in Vientiane
Patuxai Victory Monument
Dominating the Vientiane skyline is the stunningly ornate towers of the Victory Monument. Dedicated to the many lives lost in the Independence wars from Japan, Siam and France it lies in pride of place at the centre of the park. The outside walls are decorated with lotus leaves, dragons and kinnaris while the inside has richly painted ceilings and walls depicting elephants, Gods and Goddesses. A moving tribute to the fallen.
Wat Si Muang
We had heard of this Temple as it is believed to hold Good Luck powers and if you pray and make a wish at the same time it will be granted as long as you fulfill your own promise. It is one of the most popular worship sites and attracts crowds on a daily basis. uring The Luang Festival in the latter part of the year it becomes the focal point of the celebrations as Guardian of the City. I wonder if our wishes made there will be granted.
Lao National Museum
An excellent way to learn the culture and history of Laos is a visit to the Lao National Museum. Housed in an old French Colonial building originally occupied by the French Governor it covers the periods from its turbulent history of invasions and wars and its struggle for independence to the present day. Bit of a higgledy piggledy display of Khmer sculptures and photographs but we found it an informative and somewhat moving exhibition.
Xieng Khuan Buddha Park
With its curious mix of over 200 religious Hindu Gods and Buddhas as well as animals and demons from both religions this park is an amazing if not creepy display. The entrance, for example, is crafted as a demons mouth and from the top we got an amazing view of the entire park. An impressive collection from a 4 armed deity riding a horse to the 12 faced many armed deity they were all unique and impressive in their own way.
Vientiane Night Market
Take a wander down to the riverside not only witness the fabulous sunset but also for a bit of retail therapy in the local market. Browse the many stalls for some last minute souvenirs or some clothes at prices that won’t break the bank. Enjoy a bit of bargaining and try the walking away method if still not happy. We didn’t find any food stalls there however but there are loads outside the market nearby.
Wat Si Saket
Built by the last King of the Lan Xang Kingdom this fascinating Temple has a its very own unique style as well as a mixture of Burmese and Bankok architecture. Surviving the Lao Siamese war it became the oldest surviving Buddhist Monastery and is still in use as a place of prayer today for Monks and visitors alike. Its tranquil gardens shaded by tropical fruit trees gave us a welcome break from the mid day heat on our private tour.
One of the country's most impressive and sacred monuments The Great Stupa dates back to the 16th century. See the most amazing gigantic Golden Temple built in traditional Laos style with its red lacquered doors and gold leaf. Take a private tour in November when there is a huge festival lasting 3 days and nights with music and magnificent parades and where Buddhist from all over the nation converge in celebration
Lao Textile Museum
Originally a private family museum it has become a popular cultural centre for traditional Lao crafts. Set in a peaceful traditional Lao compound amongst the shady trees and undergrowth is an old wooden building filled with antique textiles and looms from several ethnic groups. From a demonstration you can learn about the traditions and history behind material patterns and there are also courses in dyeing and weaving.
Wat Ho Phra Keo
An oasis of calm and tranquility the Temple of Wat Ho Phra Keo is probably the most interesting and impressive of Vientianes fantastic Temple collection. Originally constructed as a family chapel it is the only building of the old Royal Palace remaining and is now a museum. Richly adorned with a variety of Buddha statues, carved features and a fantastic lacquered door with Hindu carving a private tour here to relax or meditate is a must.
Lao Herbal Steam Sauna and Massage
Now we have all heard of massage parlours but where else can you get a massage on a veranda within finger touching distance of the jungle. Facilities here are basic but in my opinion you get a more authentic experience from the rustic sauna room and its natural herbal infused steam to the cold shower after with water drawn fresh from an underground well. After a relaxing Laos massage and a hot tea we left feeling relaxed and refreshed.
Travel Tips for Vientiane
Best Time To Visit
Weather can be quite unpredictable here even in their seasons but as a rule Vientiane has 2 seasons with December being the start of the chilly winter and July and August being the humid summer however this is also the rainy season too. Check before you go for festivals and national holidays of which there are many and can affect opening times and service as a lot of people will leave the city for national holidays.
Although they use their own currency the Dong, the US$ is more popular, and most places would prefer payment by the dollar. Try and prebook your tours before arriving. The typical minimum cost for hotel per night is 6 or 7 dollars rising accordingly. Depending on if you want to eat local food or western food on average a full western breakfast would be 40,000 Dong while a steaming bowl of traditional noodle soup would be 10 or 20,000 Dong so you can compa
Know Before Visiting
When visiting some sites, you must dress with respect meaning no shorts and sleeveless shirts, and you may be required to leave cameras and bags at the door. Don’t be alarmed your passport will probably be kept at reception until you check out again. Although many warm against it try the street food but always make sure it is freshly prepared in front of you. Pre-book your tours and guides and save you a fortune!
North Vietnam in particular Vientiane have mainly a summer and winter season. Winter is November to April and is mainly dry and cool averaging 20º with January to March being the coldest. From May to October it is high summer when it can be very hot and humid but also it is rainy season with the chance of heavy downpours and storms.