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Vientiane – GreenDiscovery
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Vientiane

Vientiane is the capital and largest city of Laos which lies on the banks of the Mekong River, facing Thailand. With a long-standing history, it is now the economic centre of Laos after having been the administrative capital during the French Colonial. Despite having said to be the capital city, Vientiane defies the stereotypical image of a city. In addition to the absence of skyscrapers, it possesses a laid-back and relaxed atmosphere as a quaint and charming city.

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Find Heaven and Hell at Buddha Park
True to its name, the park is filled with legendary Buddhist and Hindu statues.
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Time in the Buddha Park would fly pass as you learn about the stories behind the statues and gain a deeper knowledge on Lao culture and beliefs. On top of that, discover the levels of Hell as believed by the locals. Only 25 km away from the city, it is suitable for a day trip.

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A panoramic view of the city from the top of Patuxai
A war memorial for those who participated in the war of …
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independence from France, the Patuxai is a famous monument in Vientiane. The Patuxai, which translates to “Victory Gate”, has a Laotian design with mythological creatures carved on the monument. Upon climbing flights of stairs, be rewarded with a picturesque view on Vientiane. Take note of the position of the sun to avoid the monument’s shadow casting over the picturesque view from the top in your pictures!

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The Center of Buddhism in Laos, Pha That Luang
The Pha That Luang, also known as “The Great Stupa”, is the most important Buddhist monument in Laos.
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It is believed that within Pha That Luang, a breastbone of the enlightened Buddha is housed. The interior encompasses a mystical atmosphere with ancient Laos and Khmer artifacts and inscribed steles. Do look out for the That Luang festival as well, where various stalls are set up near the monument and the streets flooded with locals.

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Visit the sacred Temples of Vientiane
Temples are definitely a regular sight in Laos with Buddhism being the predominant religion in Laos.
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They would go to these temples on multiple occasions to pray and seek advice from monks. The most famous temple in Vientiane would be the oldest temple, Wat Sisaket, which was the only temple not burnt during the Thai invasion. Other famous temples would include Wat In Peng and Wat Ong Teu. If you get up early, you can also observe the traditional Alms Giving Ceremony.

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Discover the mighty Mekong River
The Mekong River is of heavy importance to Laotians. The river is seen as the Mother River who brings the locals life and food. Heading over to the Mekong Riverside Park, you can see throngs of people gathered along the river to hang out whilst appreciating the magical sunset view. While at it, grab a drink at riverside bars as you sit back and enjoy the evening breeze.
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Trekking in Phou Khao Khuay National Park
Looking for waterfalls and jungles when in Vientiane? Located near the city, the Phou Khao Khuay National Park calls out to all nature lovers. The park offers a variety of contrasting landscapes and natural beauty, from evergreen dipterocarp forest to bamboo groves. With countless herbs lining the trail, one can learn more about what nature has to offer. This is easily accessible by joining one of GDL’s trekking tours.
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Appreciate Laos Coffee on a whole new level
For all coffee-lovers out there, this is the experience for you. Sample the different Laos coffee as learn more about them. Take on a barista course and challenge yourself to make your coffee aesthetically pleasing. Do a little café-hopping and visit the cafés that make up Vientiane’s café scene. All these activities would leave you wanting more!
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Create your own handicrafts with local artisans
Join a class and be inspired by the positivity radiating from each individual at Laos Disabled Women’s Development Center. The non-profit organization empowers disabled women by training them in handicrafts making while providing them with employment and support. You can also immerse yourself in the Lao tradition of silk weaving at Carol Cassydi Lao Textiles and create your very own precious garment.
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Learn about the outgoing impact of the Secret War at the COPE Visitor Centre
COPE Visitor Centre is an educational place that covers the horrors inflicted on Laotians during the Vietnam War as more than 2 million tons of ordnance were dropped in Laos, making Laos the most heavily bombed country per capita today. It also provides prosthetics for those who were injured and disabled by the bombs, in hopes of bringing hope with their aid.

Vientiane by night

Be surprised by local street foods at the Night Market
The Vientiane Night Market is located right beside the Mekong River, with goods sold at a great price and you can bargain for an even better deal.
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Clothes, shoes, electronics. A plethora of choices available for your choosing as you stroll along the Night Market. If you are looking for food, look no further as just across the street, you will see numerous hawker stalls set up to sell mouthwatering local dishes. Discover the most delicious treats joining a night food tour!

vientiane-10
Unwind with the sunset view at one of the Mekong Bars
There are several bars lining the Mekong River as one walks pass the Night Market.
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There are several rooftop bars and restaurants that can enhance your experience as you feel the evening breeze whilst savoring mouth-watering local foods or relaxing with a cup of beer.

Get your blood pumping with a Zumba session
Vientiane shows the great interest Laotians have in sports, with many locals exercising along the Mekong road.
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Attend a Zumba session near the Mekong River with locals! Prices differ from one group to another, but it is cheap and affordable in general. Dance to the beat of the blasting music and sweat it all out. Popular amongst locals, this would be something you might want to try.

When to go to Vientiane

There are two distinct seasons in Laos, which is the rainy season and the dry season. The rainy season is from May to October, where you can partake in some activities that are especially amazing for this season. For example, you can enjoy a road trip along the Mekong River and the Nam Ngun Dam.

During the dry season, you can experience winter in Laos from November to February, and summer from March to April. It may drop to approximately 15 degrees during winter and can go up to the 30s in the summer, so make sure to prepare well for these temperatures.

Do take note of the festivals that would be held throughout the year. Festivals in Laos are one of a kind and should not be missed! You can join in the fun during the Boat Racing Festival, one of the biggest festivals in Laos.

The weather today in Vientiane

Vientiane
30°
Mostly Cloudy
05:5018:38 +07
Feels like: 37°C
Wind: 3km/h S
Humidity: 81%
Pressure: 1003.05mbar
UV index: 0
Tue
min 25°C

How to get around Vientiane

From & To the airport
taxi

Taxi

Take a taxi from the taxi stand located in the airport. Simply state where you are headed towards and your taxi will be arranged upon payment. A fast, simple, and efficient way of travelling after a long flight.

Public Bus

You can take the public bus from the Wattay Aiport Bus Station if your destination is near any of the stops. It would be very economic and worth it for those who are not lugging around large luggages.

In the city
walk

Walk

The central area of Vientiane is small enough for you to wander around its streets as you head from place to place. However, there are still places that may be too far for you to walk.

tuktuk

Tuk-tuk

The friendly Tuk-tuk drivers would be more than happy to bring you around Vientiane and are located in many places. If there is no rate stated on the tuk-tuk, do try to bargain for a cheaper price and make sure that the driver is clear of the bargained price.

bus

Public Bus

The public bus is the most economic transportation method. Take a look at the routes and figure out which bus you have to take. Upon informing the driver of your location, a price will be stated. When you would like to alight, press the bell and tell the driver to stop the bus.

taxi

Loca

Loca is the Laos’ version of Uber, the only application of its kind in Laos. Although not the best choice for long distance due to the high price, it is a very good option for those who are travelling short distances during non-peak hours.

motorbike

Motorbike

Rent a motorbike at a rental shop and whizz your way through town. However, make sure that you are allowed to legally drive a motorbike in Laos and always wear a helmet before deciding on riding the motorbike.

bicycle

Bicycle

The bicycle is a lovely way to explore Vientaine, whereby you can cycle several kilometers between the place of interests. Not only is it a healthier way, it also allows you to stop when you want to check out a certain place or observe an event.

tour

Tours

Join tours where guides will bring you around Vientiane, feeding you with all the information you would need on the history, culture, and traditions of Vientiane and its people. One of the best ways to experience the city, check out the tours offered now!

Out of the city
minivan

Minivan

Take a minivan out of Vientiane, and head out to other cities and provinces, such as the neighbouring Vang Vieng. You can book through transportation or tour companies.

bus

Bus

There are bus services heading out to Vang Vieng by some transportation companies. These buses area scheduled to go several times a day, so do check the schedule and prices before hand and book a ticket.

What to eat in Vientiane

1. Khop Chai Deu

The Place Where The World Meets, Khop Chai Deu is the choice of all in Laos when selecting where to hang out. Opened every day, it offers all the flavours of traditional Lao food, and international dishes are included in the menu as well. Savour your food while listening to nightly live music.

2. Doi Ka Noi

A restaurant with a daily changing menu, it specialises in slow food and seasonal varieties. Opened Tuesday to Thursday for lunch, and Friday to Sunday for lunch and dinner. Be sure to try their homemade ice cream!

3. Lao Kitchen

A restaurant in the heart of the city that specialises in Lao food, it is toned down for western palates. Still delicious, just not as face meltingly spicy as traditional recipe. It is open every day for lunch and dinner.

4. Phakhao Lao

A Lao restaurant set in a garden in the heart of the city. This oasis has a wide range of Lao and Thai food and is open every day for lunch and dinner.

5. Suntara

One of the best rooftop restaurants in Laos, enjoy your sumptuous meal to the wonderous sunset view along the Mekong River. Serving the best coconuts, make sure to grab one yourselves! It is open every day for lunch and dinner.

6. Noy’s Fruit Heaven

Located near the cultural hall, the food served is truly heavenly, with the best spring rolls and curry. Opened every day from breakfast to dinner, grab yourself a fruit shake or a delicious meal there.

7. Comma Coffee reading room

Surround yourself with books as you sip on the top coffee in Vientiane. A place to relax, filled with the aroma of coffee and books, this café is opened from 7.30 am to 8.30pm daily.

8. Living Library

The go-to restaurant for all looking for vegetarian and vegan options, this café screams aesthetics. Not only is the presentation of the food incredible, so is the taste. Opened 7am to 9pm daily, but do make a call to confirm whether it is opened as hours may vary.

9. The Greenhouse

A café serving the best foods, with vegetarian options included. Select from the menu or customise your own dish. Very beautifully designed, the café would not only wow you with its interior but its mouth-watering food as well! Opened on all day except Sunday, from 9am to 6pm.

10. Street stalls near Home Ideal

The evening spot to hang out for locals, this place offers dishes from various cuisines, from Laos to International to Chinese. Besides that, enjoy the popular dessert, Roti, and a glass of soya milk, to end off the meal. Opened every night.

Some ways to get to Vientiane

*price range is according to price for one-way
*disclaimer: the prices are approximate

*LEGEND:
$: 0-25
$$: 26-50
$$$: 51-100
$$$$: >100

Flight Bus/Van Train

Direct flight from Bangkok

1 hour 10 minutes
$$$
Very convenient
Very comfortable

Indirect flight from Siem Reap
3 hours, with 1 stop
$$$$
Convenient
Very comfortable

Direct flight from Hanoi

1 hour 10 minutes
$$$$
Very convenient
Very comfortable

Flight directly from Hanoi

1 hour 10 minutes
$$$
Very convenient
Very comfortable

Direct flight from Phnompenh

1 hour 30 minutes
$$$$
Very Convenient
Very comfortable

Direct flight from Seoul

5h hour 50 minute
$$$$
Very Convenient
Very comfortable

Bus from Bangkok

9-10 hour
$$

Fairly convenient
Fairly comfortable

Sleeper bus/van from Luang Prabang

10 hour
$$$
Fairly convenient
Fairly comfortable

Sleeper bus from Pakse

9-12 hour
$$$
Fairly convenient
Fairly comfortable

Bus/van from Vang Vieng

3-4 hour
$
Very convenient
Fairly comfortable

Day Train from Bangkok

12-13 hour
$$$
Convenient
Comfortable

Night Train from Bangkok

12-13 hour
$$$
Convenient
Comfortable

What bring to Vientiane

1. Insect repellent

Mosquitoes will be that dark cloud ruining the perfect sky here in Laos. Remember to bring your insect repellent if you do not want to be itching all day long.

2. Sun protection (sunscreen, hat, sunglasses)

The sun in Laos is deadly. Remember your protective gear – sunscreen, hat, and sunglasses.

3. Long trousers

Stay safe with long trousers as you travel around. It will be your shield from the sharp branches and plants that may cut into your skin.

4. Trekking or comfortable shoes

Wear comfortable, preferably trekking shoes, as you will most likely be doing tons of walking here. May the blisters not be with you.

5. Refillable water bottle
As an eco-tourism company, we highly encourage you to bring your own refillable water bottle. Head over to our sales office to refill them (while stocks last). If you are participating in our tours, there will be water stations available, and we will hand you 3L bottles to refill your bottle.

6. Swimsuit (conservative, sarong for women)
Do bring along a swimsuit, preferably a more conservative one out of respect for the locals. With water activities available, this is an essential in your travel pack.

7. Conservative clothes for the temples
Bring along conservative clothes for visits to the temples. These clothes would have to cover your shoulders and knees.

8. Universal Adapter
It goes without saying that the universal adapter is an important item for all those who are carrying electronics with you.

Tips

Money exchange

It is ideal to use USD as the currency to conduct your currency exchange here. Some of the recommended money changers would be -.

Health care

If you feel uncomfortable or have fallen sick in Vientiane, you can head over to the French Clinic and Allianz Clinic Vientiane, where there are English speaking doctors working.