Vientiane Off The Beaten Path

  • Main office
    Main office
    by Twan
  • The brewery
    The brewery
    by Twan
  • Our office
    Our office
    by Twan

Best Rated Off The Beaten Path in Vientiane

  • richiecdisc's Profile Photo

    check out the French colonial architecture

    by richiecdisc Written Dec 13, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Part of the charm of Laos is its French colonial past. You will not only find fresh baked baguettes and homemade pate but you will also stroll along palm clad streets dotted with beautiful if somewhat decaying colonial architecture. These are in contrast though somehow meshing harmoniously with the sweeping roofs of the traditional temples of Vientiane.

    colonial charm
    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • kinaly's Profile Photo

    Biking along the Mekong

    by kinaly Written Oct 25, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    There is a very nice three hours ride along the Mekong and the irriated lands.
    Take the road to Thadeua or to the Frienship bridge. After the Km 4 restaurant, try to find a way to the Mekong (a few hundred meters form the restaurant, just after a "BARBER" sign. after half an hour, you will find the road to Bo O village, that you should follow until you find the sign to Hat Dong Keo village. Just follow it, and come back by the main road . It will take you about 3 hours.

    Related to:
    • Cycling

    Was this review helpful?

  • LotusV8's Profile Photo

    Vang Vieng

    by LotusV8 Updated Feb 25, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Try to reach Vang Vieng north of Vientiane (160 km), it is supposed to have wonderful unique natural sites, caverns and tunnels in the limestone are said to be inhabited by spirits.
    Take a bus from the main bus terminal, it leaves daily at 7 am , 10:30 am , and 1:30 pm (1 $).
    We didn´t make it because the weather was so bad, but we met an Israelian couple that told us that it was wonderful, floating at the river in big tubes was a great experience.

    Related to:
    • Adventure Travel
    • Backpacking

    Was this review helpful?

  • Mikebb's Profile Photo

    Visit to Salt Factory

    by Mikebb Written Dec 13, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    My wife and I decided to take a half day private guided tour to districts outside the Vientiane City area. The tour was to include a local village, however it did not work out exactly how we expected.

    After driving through the countryside for 30 minutes we arrived at a salt processing factory. Nothing modern, a traditional salt farm using pools the size of a rice paddies, but instead of rice the paddies contained salty water. The sun evaporated the water leaving salt crystals which were harvested by the locals.

    The factory looked very run down, as though there had been no capital expenditure for decades, most likely not since the French were driven out of Laos.

    We were left to amble around by ourselves for 45 minutes. After the initial shock we sort of enjoyed our self tour. it looked as though the workers lived in a village nearby and had a responsibility for individual "salt paddies".

    The local workers were very friendly and did not mind us observing their activity. They were very willing to pose for photos.

    Local Working His Salt Storage Shed Alongside Salt Crystals Ready For Harvest Iodized Salt Factory Notice
    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Photography

    Was this review helpful?

  • Mikebb's Profile Photo

    Iodizing Salt Process

    by Mikebb Updated Dec 13, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This looked like a very simple process. It works and I doubt if it has changed since the 1950's when the French left Laos.

    There was no smell from the process and I would not expect any harmful chemicals are used in the process. For a small country like Laos, maybe there is no need to modernise the process. Everyone has a job, they look healthy, well clothed and happy.

    Finished Product in Baskets -Salt Iodizing Process Salt Iodizing Process Salt Iodizing Process - Note Steam in Background
    Related to:
    • Photography
    • Family Travel
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • SumTingWong's Profile Photo

    Xieng Khuan Buddha Park

    by SumTingWong Written Feb 25, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Xieng Khuan Buddha Park is a must see off the beaten path excursion. It's about 20 kilometers from Vientiane, accessable by bus, tourist bus, taxi, and or motorcycle. This park contains hundreds of immages of the Buddha, including one of the largest reclining Buddha immages in the world. This is a beautiful and unique park and must see!

    Reclining Buddha Immage
    Related to:
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Mikebb's Profile Photo

    The Local Salt Bagging Staff

    by Mikebb Updated Dec 14, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    As we walked around the salt ponds we came upon the bagged salt store. The staff were having a break and I asked if I could take their photo. Happily they agreed, all had huge smiles.

    You can see the bagged salt inside the store and the loading ramp for deliveries.

    Iodized Salt Bagging Ladies - Huge Smiles Local With Half Bag of Iodized Salt The Salt Bagging Shed & Loading Ramp
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Seniors
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • call_me_rhia's Profile Photo

    the buddha park

    by call_me_rhia Written Nov 16, 2002

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Now this was unexpected: the LP guide did notwrite much (or well) about it - so i was going to give it a miss because of the relative distance fromVientiane. But before leaving Luang Prabang i saw a photo of it and I fell in love - I knkew I had to go there. Now I can proudly say that it has been my most rewarding visit in Vientiane. The Buddha Park is a sculpture garden, full of Hindu and Buddhist statues (small and large) created in the 1950s by a shamanist priest named Luang Pu. It's the place where I enjoyed buddha statues most: i tink - like every other form of art - its best location is among nature. For general direction the Buddha Park is about 24km southeast of Vientiane, about 5 minutes away from the Friendship bridge. A jumbo there and back costs about 5 dollars

    statues at the buddha park

    Was this review helpful?

  • picek's Profile Photo

    Military museum

    by picek Updated Mar 22, 2013

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Well, you thought there is little to see in Vientiane but then you haven't been to military museum. Basically it covers a lot of history, not all with objective view, but then again... where in the world you'll find objectivity in military museums?

    For few hours you can have a more or less detailed view in the machinery donated by Soviets or Chinese during 60'ties and 70'ties used to fight their 'external enemy'. As if this is the most important part of their history, the weapon used at that time expands over half of the building. Well, it is indeed best documented as before those things simply wouldn't be collected and photography was still in rudimental phase.

    What is most interesting is the more or less ancient weaponry used still in Indochina wars, and to some extent... also during their latest wars such as poisoned bamboo arrows and all that what i cannot find name for in English. Lots of local population when they feel opressed and didn't have access to modern warfare simply turned to those ancient techniques purely out of desperation and defiance.

    Well, i know it is not everybody's cup of a tea that kind of exhibitions but on other hand it tells a lot about where's country standing today.

    Admission is 3000 KIP. Opened from 9 - 12, then 13- 16.00 or so. No photography allowed inside.

    Related to:
    • Museum Visits
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • picek's Profile Photo

    greenery amid dry season

    by picek Updated Mar 22, 2013

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    It takes less than 10 kilometers east of capital to reach Vientiane's more interesting (well, more green) places but don't use Thadeua road towards Friendship bridge as that road is very crowded and views are not that nice. Instead better cycle closer to Mekong, pass villages with high coconut trees, you'll get to rice paddies, fruit orchards and vegetable gardens that feed whole city. Plenty of birds screen for insects here and life takes slowlier pace. Dry season can be so green thanks to this old irrigation system of well established canal network.

    Related to:
    • Cycling
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons

    Was this review helpful?

  • ValbyDK's Profile Photo

    Wat That Foun

    by ValbyDK Updated Mar 3, 2013

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Wat That Foun temple and the surrounding garden are located between Lane Xang Avenue and Nong Bon Road. The garden is a nice place for a walk - and instead of just following Lane Xang Avenue to/from the Patuxai monument, you could consider strolling through the garden instead.

    When you are walking towards Patuxai turn right at Dong Palan Road – or turn left at Sidamdouan Road when walking away from Pauxai.

    Sorry, I don’t have any information about the Wat That Foun temple itself...

    Wat That Foun Wat That Foun Wat That Foun
    Related to:
    • Religious Travel
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • VolsUT's Profile Photo

    Bhudda Park

    by VolsUT Written Dec 5, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Bhudda Park is an excellent place to visit and no trip to Ventiane is camplete without it. The highlight of a visit to the city. The park is located about 10 miles northeast of the city in a rural area. A Tuk Tuk costs $6 or so round trip. It is a really nice park with some neat statues.

    Reclining Bhudda

    Was this review helpful?

  • Everything under the sun-Thonkankham A.M. market

    by teevee Updated Feb 17, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This morning market is quite far from the city centre. If you have time and start walking there early (takes about half an hour if you don't get too lost), it is an interesting place to visit. You can purchase fresh produce like meats and vegetables to sundry and household goods like bottled sauces,noodles,rice, shampoo and the likes. You will also find that this indoor market is quite big with other stalls selling casual clothes to tailored clothes-you can find tailors there.

    Some stalls start closing by 10am better to get there early and you can get in the thick of the action!

    You can easily find food to eat as well. Tuk tuk drivers are very likely to know where this market is. If in a hurry take it one way and then take a walk back and enjoy local life around you plus continue your sight seeing to other venues not yet covered.

    When it comes to pricing, just reach for the calculator which many vendors have anywhere in Lao should they not be able to speak in English. Not happy with price?type in your price.

    Thonkhamkan morning mket-stalls start closing 10am

    Was this review helpful?

  • Excellent way to kill time!

    by susumu Written Dec 25, 2003

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This is about the "Traditional Massage" and herbal sauna at Wat Sok Pa Luang. You have to take a tuk-tuk to get there because it's not within walking distance from the area where tourists stay. Some guys had reached the place by rented motorbike though.

    The massage place is not really inside the temple (Wat), it's a hut on the way to the temple. When you get off the tuk-tuk, you have to walk a dirt path towards the Wat, and halfway into it, on your right hand, you'll find that hut.

    The massage is done by some young guys, and even though it feels good, I'm not very sure how much "tradition" is there. I thought it was just massage, period.

    The sauna is also inside this hut. They have two rooms, but when I went only one was working.

    When you climb on to the wall-less hut, they give you a sarong so you can shed your clothes and be better massaged. You also wear the sarong inside the sauna. There's no separation men/women in the sauna.

    The massage lasts nearly one hour, and the sauna, as long as you want. They also offer you tea for free. I think I payed for the whole thing about US$2.50.

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Backpacking

    Was this review helpful?

  • picek's Profile Photo

    National library

    by picek Updated Jun 4, 2013

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This Bibliotheque Nationale has been set up in an ancient French home right in city centre among other colonial era buildings. You have to look inside of it as this is in my opinion one of nicest public institutions here, and they don't charge for entry. Discreetly and quietly of course - there a many people who find its rooms quiet oasis for reading.
    The reading rooms remind to old colonial offices where strategic plans were drawn over a big tables in a secluded company of few men. The propeller mixes winds at the ceiling, providing little better atmosphere than outside, but it is still hot and sticky. Shelves full of knowledge and trivia, most of it written in Lao, a lot of it in English and even more, understandibly... in French.
    It feels like going back 50 years and more... that makes it unique comparing to libraries we know today. Good for the feeling, bad for the books. This is one of rare places in country where you'd actually see people reading papers outside their homes, hungry for more knowledge... as if reading was never really strongly encouraged in the society. In a society where many things are being said - and written - between the lines.
    Upon entry you're requested to leave bags at the counter.

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Vientiane

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

26 travelers online now

Comments

Vientiane Off The Beaten Path

Reviews and photos of Vientiane off the beaten path posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Vientiane sightseeing.

View all Vientiane hotels