Vientiane is the capital and the largest city of the country. With a long term reputation of sleepy town, the Laotian capital is now waking up. It would be a pity if your next visit to Laos missed the capital. Certainly less aesthetically appealing than Luang Prabang, it is for certain reflecting Laos’ development and vibe for today and tomorrow. Come and witness this fast changing city that is, thanks to its youth going to university and investments bringing new wealth and better conditions of life for those generations to come.
Some of the most famous landmarks include the Patuxay Gate (Vientiane’s very own “Arc de Triomphe”); That Luang with its golden stupa, symbol of a nation; Vat Sisaket with its thousands of statuettes of Buddha; Ho Prakeo Temple, with its collection of Buddhist antiques, all of them almost located within a walking distance from each other. The town is currently building a new riverfront that will contrast subtly with the charming old part of the city, offering great venues to the Vientiane’s inhabitants for recreational time.
The Vientiane’s inhabitants are the capital’s key attraction: hanging out in the traditional restaurants or riverfront cafes and decks for a “Beer Lao” accompanied with a spicy papaya salad, packing the lanes of the local markets, or flirting very late in the bars and nightlife venues.
Finally, Vientiane’s economic boom is very perceptible with the burgeoning of signs of modernization in its consumption habits and more distinguished hotels flourish around town.
Our local agents live in the Lao capital. They know the inside outs of it and will happily share with you their favourite hot spots, away from the crowds. It is very easy to miss these little street side noodle outlets, these family-owned ice cream parlours, these covered snooker venues that help you wait dry while a tropical rainfall is pouring on the steel roof tiles, and other local sporting places and practices that will amaze you! So, if you are looking for beyond travel guide book features, here is your chance to contact our local partners who will take you behind the scenes.
It is also very easy to escape Vientiane’s city centre and finding yourself immersed in the picturesque Lao countryside. Lots of dining experiences await if you dare mingling with the locals for instance on drifting thatched roof barges or at salas (kind of airy huts on poles) on ponds. The not so far area of Nam Ngum Reservoir is also an appreciated spot for those Vientiane residents looking for some casual relaxation. Those in a more active or sporting mood can also walk (and refresh in waterfalls!) at nearby Phou Khao Kwai National Park, famous for its “Orchid Trek” themed trails or take the handlebar of water sports equipment on lakes, rivers or ponds.
Lao people in general snack a lot. There are still plenty of street vendors selling tropical fruits in trolleys, hot soy bean juices, donuts-like cakes, fried banana chips, sandwiches, fritters of all sorts, kebabs, ice creams, jellies, and it is not uncommon to have workers get out of their offices to purchase a bunch of the previously mentioned snacks to share with colleagues any time of the day. Lao people grant a lot of importance to eating. They have this in common with French people who have left a strong legacy in the cuisine. Today, Vientiane is quite renowned regionally for the quality, diversity and value for money of its French cuisine scene. In Laos, alcoholic beverages are mildly priced, so it is reasonable to indulge in a fine bottle of French, Kiwi, Aussie or Italian wine to complete your dining experience. And with French bistrots, American burger houses, Italian pizzerias, Korean BBQ stations, Japanese Sushi bars, Chinese hot pots outlets, Spanish Tapas bars and grill, Belgian beers counters, German delicatessen hideaways, Vientiane is sure to please all palates and budgets!
Vientiane is connected directly to Bangkok, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Kunming, Jinghong, Guangzhou,Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Seoul.