Take a Tuk-Tuk Ride
Tuk-tuks are an essential Bangkok experience and the same is true of Vientiane. Although none of the Lao cities are as crowded as Bangkok, tuk-tuks are still the most authentic way to get around for short distances. There is no local train and a one km tuk-tuk ride can often cost as little as 20,000 kip (around $2.50 US).
Learn About Kaysone Phomvihane
Vietnam had Ho Chi Minh, Cuba had Fidel Castro and Laos had Kaysone Phomvihane. Born in 1920 to a Vietnamese father and Lao mother, he left university in Hanoi before completing his law degree in order to join the Pathet Lao. Kaysone was a founding member of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party and served as Prime Minister from 1975 to 1991. His picture adorns most of the Lao banknotes and his house is open to the public. While Kaysone himself tended to shun the cult of personality, no other Lao revolutionary has a museum named in his honor and his bronze statue can be seen from Route 13. Since most of the signs are not in English it’s best to ask for an English-speaking guide.
SAMPLE THE STREET FOOD
While you don’t have to go to a market to enjoy the street food, markets are certainly the best option if you want variety. Either way, you can get quality food on the street for a fraction of what you would pay in a restaurant. Many street food peddlers have small seating areas as well. Most are cash only.
Walk to the Top of Patuxai (ປະຕູໄຊ) Monument
Patuxai (ປະຕູໄຊ) is a war monument in the center of Vientiane. It was built between 1957 and 1968 and means “Victory Gate” or “Gate of Triumph.” The monument is dedicated to those who fought in the struggle for independence from France. It is also called Patuxai Arch or the Arc de Triomphe of Vientiane since it resembles the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. The main difference is the typically Laotian design. It is decorated with mythological creatures such as the kinnari (half-female, half-bird).
For just 5,000 kip (less than 1 USD) you can walk to the top. There are multiple floors and each is replete with souvenir shops. When you make it to the top, you will be rewarded with panoramic views of the Lao capital.
Try the French Cuisine
The French may have left Laos more than 60 years ago, but their ovens are still there. The night markets and streets in general are replete with crepe vendors. French bakeries are easy to find as well. You can dine in a classy French restaurant for a fraction of what you would pay in Paris or Quebec. Although most people are not visiting Laos to eat French food, you owe it to yourself to try a baguette and dine at least one French restaurant.
Visit COPE Visitor Center
COPE (Cooperative Orthotic and Prosthetic Enterprise) is the main source for artificial limbs in Laos. To understand why so many artificial limbs and wheelchairs are needed in Laos, spend an hour at the COPE Visitor Center. Their multimedia exhibits are a sobering lesson on the effects of UXO (unexploded ordnance) throughout Laos and neighboring Cambodia. There’s no admission fee although donations are welcome.
Explore Buddha Park (ວັດຊຽງຄວນ)
Located 25 km southeast of Vientiane, Buddha Park was started in 1958 by priest-shaman Bunleua Sulilat. Xieng Khuan (the name in Lao) means “spirit city.” Beyond the more than 200 Hindu and Buddhist statues, you can see neighboring Thailand east of the Mekong River. The statues in Buddha Park are large enough to be seen from the Thai side of the river. The most challenging sculpture is the three leveled pumpkin. You can enter through the mouth and climb from hell to earth to heaven, where you’ll have the most panoramic view of the park.
Stroll the Vientiane Night Market
The main night market in Vientiane overlooks the Mekong River and is replete with vendors hawking everything from sports bras to coconut ice cream. While some night markets in Asia are more representative of youth culture, you can find mostly locals of all ages casually strolling the promenade along the Mekong well after dark. The more adventurous can parasail over the Mekong River under the Lao flag.
This place looks amazing. I have never been brave enough to travel out of the country. I look forward to traveling some when my husband retires!
Street food is the best way to get to know a place. And it’s always so freaking good no matter where you go!
The victory gate is beautiful and what a wonderful way to mark the struggle of gaining independence.I would love to try some coconut ice cream x
Oh WOW this place looks absolutely amazing! I would love to visit but am terrified of flying, I can just about manage Europe!
Vientiane Laos looks like a great trip! I have to admit, I am wigged out a bit about outdoor meat. I’m always worried about contamination and temperature. But it’s neat seeing what’s local.
This looks incredible! Lots of memories to make and beautiful attractions to visit. Maybe one day I’ll experience this too!
Beautiful photos! I spent a day in Vientiane last year and had a great time, but the weather did not cooperate nearly as well for photos.
Thanks for sharing! the night market sounds like a really cool place to visit. And I like street food – it would be great to test out what other countries have to offer.
This place looks amazing so much to see, would love to visit some day
WOW!All your pictures and videos look very amazing. What do you use for recording?Aside from that,Laos is really a great place to be at. I stay in the Asia region but havent travel to Laos before. Your posts give me some inside about the country and what are things that we need to know when travelling there.
I use a Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100
I didn’t know that the French has influence in Laos until you pointed it out in the architecture and the food! Only US$1 to go to the top of Patuxai Monument? I’m in!
Great post! I think that trying the food in any location (especially Asia) is the first thing to do in the journey for descovering the true culture of that country. I had also no idea about the Budha park and would be a great place to visit!
Your pictures are like postcards .. they make me feel like I’m right there with you! The Buddha Park .. I had no idea there was such a thing. My son has been reading his way through the Dalai Lama’s books and when we see each other we talk about the concepts. Also .. who knew there would so much French food in Laos .. that’s crazy. (ps: How were the macarons?)
Glad you like my pics Alison. Love your cooking posts! I can’t recall seeing macarons. I would have tried too. Laos was part of French Indochina until the mid 20th century.
This place looks cool to wander around. I find the BUDDHA PARK so fascinating to explore.
I wish I had time to see the sister park on the Thai side of the border.
The street food would be first on my list! Did you have a favorite food you tried?
Alexa, I would say mok pa. Have you had?
Laos looks like an incredible place to visit!
That’s an understatement Theresa!
These are lovely images with a beautiful post.Fell in love with the place
I have visited Vientiane a couple of times and visited most places you pictured. What I did not know about though is the Buddha Park, I could get plenty of Buddha shots in there! They must be a decent size too, to be visible from Thailand.
It’s has been been a long time since I have been in SE Asia. Laos is one of the countries I don’t know, so this list will be helpful.
Great photos and interesting fact. Never though about visiting Laos but may have to put it on our list
Like Cuba, you need to go see it before it gets overrun with tourists!
Your photography is amazing! I love the last shot of the people in the market. Looks stunning!
Thanks Maria. I’m still learning. Are you in D.C. by any chance?
Fun! I’ve never been to Laos, but I make a point to try the street food wherever I go. Buddha Park looks really cool too.
Never thought about going to Laos! But your post and photos make me think twice. The Buddha Park looks amazing!
Once again you have triggered my wanderlust gene. I love your post and the photos, wish I can visit this magnificent place as soon as possible
Never been to Laos or even researched it – didn’t feel like it could be a place for me, but your post makes me reconsider! Especially liked the photo of the Buddha Park, looks amazing!
First time here and the photos alone are so beautiful. I wonder what a tuk tuk is. I always recommend street food in a new place. You get the best experience. I also really need to try french cuisineâ˜º
I have never been to Laos before, but after reading this I would love to visit, the street food and night market have got my attention, as well as Buddha Park x
Great views. amazing pictures. This looks to be a very good tourist spot.
Great list, thanks! Every time I look at the Lao letters I am wondering – how on earth people actually read and write them!!!
Wow! Laos looks amazing! I’ve never been there but would love to try the street food. Looks like a great time. Thanks for sharing!
What a wonderful tour around Laos. Your photos are as pretty as postcards! Of course .. I’m all about the food. The street food is always our favorite when traveling .. in Laos do you have to worry about getting sick from food our American tummies aren’t used to? Also .. who knew there was so much French food influence? Park me in one of the local cafes with a plate of crepes and I’d be in heaven!
I love the photo of Buddha Park. It looks so relaxing and looks like so much tranquility.
I never imagined Laos to be similar to Vietnam. I always enjoy the street food and the night markets whenever I travel! It’s where you find hidden treasures and experience good food.
Nice photos you have. I think there’s so much more to see in Laos that tourists should explore. Such an amazing place!
WOW.. Vientiane Laos looks amazing and exciting from your photographs. I especially love the Budda park how wonderful are all those great sculptures from every size you can imagine. The night markets would also be on my “To Do” list.
Vientiane is such a charming place. The food and the night market are quite interesting. Nicely made list.
Great post! So stunning pictures you shared. I like the beauty of that place. Glad to find your post. Thanks for sharing it.
Laos has so much to offer for everyone, Brian! Thanks to your post, I’m adding it to my bucket list! 😉
I love to be there Amazing palace. How can get discounted airline tickets?
Nice post! This will be helpful for the readers who are planning for spending vacations in Vientiane Laos. Please keep sharing this type of helpful post with us.
Excellent post on Vientiane, Laos. Thanks for providing such an unique and informative post with us. Keep sharing. Vientiane is the capital and largest city of Laos. It is located on the banks of the Mekong River, near the border with Thailand. The city is known for its French colonial architecture and Buddhist temples. It is home to the That Luang Stupa, a national symbol and one of the most important religious sites in Laos. Other attractions include the Patuxay Monument, a war memorial, and the Lao National Museum, which contains artifacts from the country’s history. The city is also known for its night markets, where visitors can purchase local handicrafts and enjoy local cuisine. To explore more, you can visit 2Passports 1Dream.
Hello blogger! Thanks a lot for this amazing post about ways to experience Vientiane, Laos. Keep sharing. Vientiane is the capital and largest city of Laos. Located on the banks of the Mekong River, it is considered one of the most relaxed and laid-back cities in Southeast Asia. There are also a number of excellent restaurants, bars, and cafes to be found throughout the city. For those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, Vientiane is surrounded by lush countryside and natural attractions such as the Nam Ngum Lake and the Vang Vieng Caves. To explore more, you can visit 2Passports 1Dream.