Vientiane, the capital of Laos is situated on the banks of the gorgeous Mekong River. The city is the hub of history, culture, and natural beauty.
If you are planning to travel be prepared to bookmark this page, screenshot, or write down because we are going to tell the tiniest details that will be extremely significant as you pack your bags for the Capital of Laos.
We will highlight incredible places to visit and some of the most delectable food spots that will tantalize your taste buds. We will also mention nice places to stay, and some discussion on climate, so you can prepare accordingly.
- Currency: Lao Kip
- Places to visit: Pha That Laung, That Dam Stupa, Lao Textile Museum, COPE Visitor Centre, Patuxay, Wat That Khao, Vientiane Night Market
- Must-try cuisine: Papaya pok pok, Sien Savanh, sticky rice, Larb, Khao Paik Sen
- Crime: low to moderate
- Traffic: Moderate
- Transportation: tuk-tuk, bicycle & motorbike
Table of Contents
Must Visit Places in Vientiane
Explore the Grandeur of Wat Si Saket
Kick off your exploration of the capital of Laos with a visit to Wat Si Saket, the oldest temple. The architecture, intricate murals, and serene atmosphere of this Buddhist temple are swoon-worthy. The thousands of Buddha images housed here are a sight to behold. Bring your best camera to take the most Instagram-worthy pictures.
Marvel at the Iconic Patuxai Monument
Arc de Triomphe of Vientiane, the Patuxai Monument is a symbol of Laotian independence. When you climb to the top of the monument, you can capture one of the best panoramic views of the city. You can enjoy the lush greenery of the surrounding gardens. It is also a great place to be at sunset.
Unwind at the Riverside Promenade
Stroll along the beautiful Mekong River promenade and soak in the tranquil ambiance. You can witness the breathtaking sunset views, try local snacks from street vendors, or simply relax in one of the riverside cafes.
Immerse Yourself in History at That Luang
No visit to Vientiane is complete without experiencing the majestic That Luang. This iconic golden stupa is not only a national symbol but also a sacred site for Lao Buddhists. You have plenty to explore on the grounds, learn about its historical significance, and capture memorable photographs.
Step Back in Time at the COPE Visitor Centre
The COPE Visitor Centre provides insight into the devastating legacy of the Vietnam War and its impact on Laos. Meanwhile, gain a deeper understanding of the country’s history and the resilience of its people through informative exhibits and documentaries.
Indulge in Lao Cuisine at the Capital’s Markets
The capital of Laos boasts vibrant markets where you can taste an array of authentic Lao dishes. Visit the morning market, Talat Sao, to savor traditional delicacies like larb (a spicy minced meat salad) or Khao Piak Sen (a comforting noodle soup). And don’t forget to try the flavorful sticky rice, a staple in Laotian cuisine.
Discover Traditional Arts and Crafts at the Morning Market
The Morning Market is not only a food haven but also a treasure trove of traditional arts and crafts. Delve into the market’s maze-like lanes to find unique handicrafts, silk textiles, hand-woven baskets, and intricate silver jewelry. It’s a paradise for souvenir hunters!
Find Serenity at Buddha Park (Xieng Khuan)
If you feel too much clutter is getting to you, escape the bustling city and venture just outside Vientiane to visit Buddha Park, a surreal sculpture park. Marvel at the intricate statues depicting Buddhist and Hindu deities, including a massive reclining Buddha and a towering pumpkin-shaped structure that you can enter.
Enjoy Sunset Drinks at the Night Market
Wrap up your exploration of Vientiane at the vibrant Night Market, where you can browse through a variety of stalls selling clothing, handicrafts, and souvenirs. Find a cozy spot at one of the riverside bars, sip a refreshing beverage, and relish the enchanting view of the setting sun.
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Transportation in the Capital of Laos
In Vientiane, the easiest transportation option for getting around the city is by tuk-tuk or taxi. Tuk-tuks are the famous mode of transportation usually seen in Asian countries. It is a three-wheeled vehicle and a common sight in Laos. They are affordable, available on almost every curb-side, and can be hailed on the street. Tuk-tuks are a convenient way to travel short distances within the city, and the drivers are usually familiar with the main attractions.
Taxis are also available in Vientiane and offer a more comfortable and air-conditioned option for transportation. You can either find taxis at designated taxi stands or book them through a phone application.
TIP: Ask your driver to use the meter before starting the ride.
Bicycles and motorbikes are also popular modes of transportation among locals and often tourists. Many guesthouses and rental shops have bicycles to use for daily or hourly rent. It enables you to explore the city at your own pace or reach places in close proximity. Motorbikes are also available for rent, but it’s important to have a valid license and take necessary precautions while riding.
It’s worth noting that Vientiane is a relatively small and walkable city, particularly in the central areas. If you enjoy walking, you can explore many of the city’s attractions on foot, taking in the sights and sounds at your leisure.
Overall, tuk-tuks, taxis, bicycles, and walking are the most convenient transportation options for getting around Vientiane, ensuring that you can easily navigate the city and visit its various landmarks and attractions.
Crime in Captial of Laos
Vientiane, the capital of Laos, is generally considered a safe city for travelers. Compared to many other capital cities in the region, the crime rate in Vientiane is relatively low.
Nevertheless, it is important to take precautions to ensure your personal safety and belongings are protected. Here are a few key points to keep in mind.
Like in any other city, petty theft can occur in Vientiane, particularly in crowded areas or tourist hotspots. Be mindful of your belongings such as bags and wallets. It is best to avoid displaying valuable items openly.
Be cautious of scams targeted at tourists, such as overcharging for services or products. Always negotiate prices in advance and be aware of the local currency to avoid being misled. Use licensed taxis and agree on a fare before getting into the vehicle.
Be vigilant when traveling alone at night, especially on unfamiliar or poorly lit streets. Try to remain in well-lit and crowded streets. Consider using trusted transportation options like taxis or tuk-tuks.
Public transportation in the capital of Laos is generally safe, but it’s wise to keep an eye on your belongings in buses and crowded areas. Hold onto your bags securely and be weary of pickpockets.
It’s important to note that prostitution and drug-related activities are illegal in Laos. Engaging in or promoting these activities can have severe consequences. It’s best to avoid involvement in any illegal activities.
Vientiane’s traffic can be chaotic, with a high number of motorcycles and tuk-tuks on the roads. Exercise caution when crossing streets, use designated pedestrian crossings, and be aware of your surroundings.
While these precautions are recommended, it’s essential to remember that the Capital of Laos, Vientiane is generally a safe city with a welcoming atmosphere.
Climate in the Capital of Laos
The climate of Vientiane, the capital of Laos, can be described as a tropical savanna climate with distinct wet and dry seasons. Here’s an overview of the different seasons in Vientiane:
Dry Season – November to April
During the dry season, Vientiane experiences hot and relatively dry weather. From November to February, temperatures are milder, ranging from around 20°C (68°F) to 30°C (86°F).
In March/April, temperatures start to rise, often reaching highs of 35°C (95°F) or more. Humidity levels are generally lower during this season; hence you will find most tourists plan to visit around this time.
Wet Season – May to October
May to October is the wet season in Vientiane. There is increased rainfall and higher humidity around this time.
June, July, and August receive the most rainfall. During this time, you can expect frequent afternoon showers and occasional thunderstorms.
The temperatures during the wet season are quite warm, 25°C (77°F) to 33°C (91°F). However, it’s worth noting that the rain usually does not last the entire day, and there are still plenty of sunny periods.
It’s important to be prepared for the weather when visiting Vientiane. In the dry season, lightweight and breathable clothing is suitable, while in the wet season, it’s advisable to carry an umbrella or raincoat. Additionally, it’s essential to stay hydrated and protect yourself from the sun by wearing sunscreen and a hat, regardless of the season.
Overall, Vientiane’s climate offers a warm and tropical environment, with the dry season providing pleasant temperatures and the wet season bringing occasional rain showers to cool things down.