Vientiane Travel Guide

  • Bun That Luang festival
    Bun That Luang festival
    by josephescu
  • Pha That Luang, Vientiane Laos
    Pha That Luang, Vientiane Laos
    by victorwkf
  • Wat Sisaket, Vientiane, Laos
    Wat Sisaket, Vientiane, Laos
    by victorwkf

Vientiane Things to Do

  • Talat Sao mall and market.

    Housed in a new(ish) building, another monstrosity handed down from the Soviets, there are 3 or 4 floors to browse around here. Much the usual rubbish and Chinese plastic you can find anywhere in SE Asia, much better to go to the local markets. Although I was surprised that the couple of exchange bureaux inside gave a better rate than the touts on...

  • Wat Ho Phra Keo, Vientiane.

    This wat is right next to the Presidential palace and opposite Wat Si Saket. Originally constructed in 1565 as a home for the Emerald Buddha, that was stolen from the Siamese. The Jade Buddha, reclaimed in the 1770's, now sits in the Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok its rightful home. The Siamese finally destroyed the temple in 1827 and it took a further...

  • Wat Pha That Luang, Vientiane.II

    Useful to know that every Sunday, visitors as well as locals can get themselves a free lunch, just by the Wat That Luang Tai. Food and drinks are served by local women at a stand and also women serve the elders that come into the sala. A donation of course can be made.


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Vientiane Restaurants

  • Philly cheesesteaks & Best burgers in...

    I have been to Rays many times but normally eat the Philly cheesesteak with tender thin sliced rib-eye steak,onions and lots of cheese...delicious. The burgers are the bestI have eaten in Vientiane, try the avocado, bacon, double cheese. Comes with fries the way they should be.Rays Grille is in an early 20th century french colonial on the Main...

  • loads of fruit shakes

    Come for a great choice of fresh fruit shakes and smoothies or juices here. Whenever I passed I couldn't resisted ordering one and take away... it's nice place to sit down as well and obviously popular hangout with always some people here. Dunno, maybe they got into some guidebooks, that wouldn't be surprise as they're here for long...

  • maybe best vegetarian restaurant here

    Everything in this restaurant is vegan, so don't be put off by the names that are somehow little funny: pork sausage or fish salad, steak etc... this is really just vegetarian variety of the 'meat' and yes, it's damn good! I would simply have to yet try everything to name my favourite dish, but you can begin with Lao dishes that would include...


Vientiane Nightlife

  • football and good beer

    This place has some good feeling of old smoekd holes, where you don't have to care too much about etiquette... it's been around for long now, and luckily it's one of rare places where you can hear reggae, ska, good rock, even some jazz... in a little dark rooms with pool, worn tables and chairs, and a screen to watch live football. The music...

  • ...thank you very much

    This place could expand further if they only could. I first remember it as a smaller restaurant bar which only got bigger each time I revisited Viengchan, preserving its vibrant atmosphere and adding more food items on menu.I really enjoyed having my cold beer at nights here, with live music behind at the stages inside; you would hear languages of...

  • Sunset over the Mekong River

    Along the Mekong River there are many small local restaurants and bars, and this is a great place to enjoy the sunset over the Mekong River.Take a BeerLao or something to eat while the sun is disappearing in the Mekong River – what more can you ask for? Nice and relaxed atmosphere…


Vientiane Transportation

  • Tuktuk Vientiane style

    This tuktuk is a cross between a Thai tuktuk and Filipino jeepney. It has a larger passenger wagon than the Thai counterpart. Negotiate the price before setting off. Great to see tourist sites that are a bit way out from the city centre. I tell you, it is very hot to walk around the streets of Vientiane, as the streets are not well covered with...

  • Bus-long distance/Tuk tuk&walk-short...

    *Around VTEIf you have a day /2 in Vientiane, you can cover most touristic spots and enjoy walks around town on foot. Or if you dare (assuming you don't know your way around and would need to refer to a map often) rent a motorbike/bicycle.Lots of travellers do it.*From Wattay International Airport to city centre of VientianeBy tuk tuk, it takes...


    Should you wish to avoid paying several dollars for a taxi from the airport to downtown Vientiane, walk straight out of the arrivals and out of the airport road to the main road. It is 5 minutes walk, then cross the main road and to your left is a bus stop where you can flag down a bus, which will take you to the centre for 4000 kip. The bus will...


Vientiane Shopping

  • organic and fair trade

    This is small shop in centre at Chao Anou rd. based on fair trade ethics. They specialize in organic products as well as they sell some handicraft, but the focus is on food. It's little bit more expensive but they are certified so maybe worth checking out for few things you'd want in better quality.Those who live in Vientaine can order here for the...

  • where locals go

    For locals place to buy clothes and houseware, for tourists good spot for taking photos... that's Kua Din market behind bus station in city centre, across the road from Morning Market.If you want to buy yourself pretty useful sarong you can find them here plentiful. Some imported from Thailand, other made in Laos. It's a lot of choice. Somebody can...

  • The morning market

    Talat Sao (or the morning market) is a shopping mall located in the centre of Vientiane - at the corner of Thanon Lane Xang and Thanon Khu Vieng. The mall consists of many small shops and restaurants – and you can buy anything there: Clothes, electronics, watches, gold, jewellery, handicrafts and souvenirs... The mall opened in December 2007, and...


Vientiane Local Customs

  • new styles of 'homes' around Vieng Chan

    I was amazed at how big homes people (those with obviously load of money) build nowsadays in the capital; you couldn't see such things few years ago. Now, the fashion is mix of French baroque and Sino-Viet styles and: the grander, the better.Only a few would still build in traditional Lao style (or at least incorporate Lao detail), or would treat...

  • Vientianale... the film festival!

    I have so far only visited one day of festival in its 3rd edition. Glad to hear something going on in Lao cinematography - it will definitely help to promote this part of culture here. It is otherwise quite difficult to find something Lao... New Wave doesn't fill columns of newspaper and doesn't become headline on TV either. Except for propagnada...

  • Dress modestly

    It is better to dress modestly when visiting the some of the temples in Vientiane. I have experienced that going into the golden temple wearing short dress (over the knee or shorter) is not allowed. But if you do go around in shorts/short skirts/dresses, don't worry as most temples lend wrap around skirts to visitors.


Vientiane Warnings and Dangers

  • crossing the road becomes adventure

    One first things we noticed when we returned to Vientiane after almost 4 years was increased traffic in the capital and main roads. This is silly - even there is nowhere to park the car anymore in centre people are still travelling in cars, just because they have air con inside. There were lots of modern public buses donated by Japan and guess what...


    During my few days in the capital i met a German couple who had their bag snatched by motorbike riders in the area of the Patuxai. Unfortunately the embassies were closed due to the New Year festivities so they were stuck for a while before they could replace their passports. Actually i think they were rather new at travelling as their bag was in...

  • Rough Roads - Beware If Driving

    The roads within the Vientiane CBD left a little to be desired. Our hotel was located on one of the main streets and a van pulled up outside our hotel and the front wheel fell through the drain cover.10 metres from the van the road had potholes. As you move out of the city the roads we travelled on usually needed repair. Our stay was limited to 3...


Vientiane Tourist Traps


    Vientienne .. I know this is a taboo subject to speak of : but I found when out at night by myself in Vientienne it was extremely difficult to avoid confrontations with local prostitutes. As I travel "solo"I would notice while walking at night the girls would follow me and if I crossed the street once I noticed them they would also cross the...

  • Freedom For Sale

    I saw this happening at a couple of temples. Some enterprising locals offer to release caged birds for a small fee. It works out at about 50 cents per bird. My question is, "Why were they captured in the first place?'. Basically they want you to feel sorry for the birds and and do your bit to secure their freedom. The birds are soon back in their...

  • Dual Pricing System

    It's everywhere you go and there's nothing you can do about it. At most tourist attractions two admission prices are clearly advertised - one for tourists and one for locals. Sometimes it's a little more and sometimes double. I guess they charge tourists extra because we can pay it. If you go in knowing this and accept it, then it won't bother...


Vientiane What to Pack



  • Essentials 2 bring&do not need to bring

    Good walking shoes/sandalsLightweight jacket esp if weather is cold. Can be used on the long haul bus, in LP and VV where it is more mountaineousTorchlightHat/cap/umbrella it can get hot and sunny,sunblock & sunglassesMozzie repellent-mossies weren't biting alot but there were a fair number hanging around outdoors,restaurants,guesthousesExtra bag...

  • pack light

    A backpack is the most practical bag to carry as you can easily get from one place to another without anyone helping you with suitcases. Sandals are nice to keep cool but comfortable shoes with socks are better for walking as well as keeping mosquitos at bay. Insect repellent is a must and women should carry tampons, especially away from the main...


Vientiane Off The Beaten Path

  • Sok Pa Luang temple

    This is my favourite area and when I am in Vientiane I always visit this temple. It's one of today's rare places of complete tranquility in a city getting busier and busier, tucked little away from main streets. I would sometimes go to listen Buddhist chants, sit down on the bench under tree and forget about my earthy existence. This temple is...

  • the stadium in centre

    Good place to watch people here while holding a glass of beer Lao and grinding fried pumpkin or watermelon seeds, discarding its shells on floor... good as well to watch football match of local teams. We came sometimes paying no entry as nobody sold tickets, and soaked in the atmosphere with few other people. Usually they play in evenings or...

  • National library

    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...


Vientiane Sports & Outdoors

  • Laos National Stadium

    The Laos National Stadium is located in the centre of Vientiane – close to the Lao National Museum. I’m a big sport fan so I had to check out the stadium! Unfortunately it was closed, but I found an open gate and had a quick look. Not much to see… There is a soccer pitch surrounded by a running track. The stands around the track are concrete...

  • National Football Stadium

    On my Sunday morning walk through the city I wanted to check the football stadium. Arriving there it was no problem at all to just walk through inside the stadium. The safety guard just smiled and pointed out the direction. Going in I met a player in the tunnel of the stadium. He looked at me like I was a scout of Man Utd. Going in I found the...

  • Dansavanh Nam Ngum Golf Resort

    The resort is located at the south-eastern shores of Nam Ngum Lake... The lake is known as the Lake Geneva of Asia and is close to the Phou Khao Khouay National Park... With an area close to 58,000 hectares, it is one of the largest lakes in Asia...The par-72 course measuring 6,503m from the blue tee, is set amidst the lush Laotian countryside and...


Vientiane Favorites

  • very unusal place to make nest

    I think I just have found most unusal place for birds to make nest: in the electric lines! True, they make it for an unconventional tree. They are tightly twisted together in a dark branches and they surely had few niches for a nest, but they lack shade, protection and greenery of the leaves. The most nests would appear by the trunk (the pole)...

  • Nam Phou Square

    Nam Phou Square is located in the centre of Vientiane. In the middle of the square there is a small fountain – and Nam Phou means ‘fountain’ in Lao. I passed the fountain a couple of times, but never saw it in action so don’t know if it works?But the area around the square is quite nice with shops, accommodation and some great restaurants. Great...

  • Tourist Information

    The Tourist Information (or Lao National Tourism Administration) is located on Lane Xang Avenue, not far away from the Talat Sao morning market. I went inside for at quick look and there were a couple of information plagues about other regions of Laos - but nothing about Vientiane. Not much help...


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