Laos is a small, landlocked country with a population of over 7 million people and its capital city is Vientiane. Vientiane has a French influence as Laos was once a French colony. Wattay International Airport in Vientiane is one of the few international airports in Laos. What are the fun things to do in Vientiane?
Vientiane is a very relaxed city. And is one of the few capitals you will find where you will not find traffic jams and constant horns going off. Vientiane is blessed with parks such as Buddha Park, temples, the iconic Patuxai, and more.
In this post, we will go through the things to do in Vientiane Laos. Let’s get started!
Learn More About Laos
- Things To Do in Luang Prabang Laos
- Can You Drink Tap Water in Laos?
- Is Laos Worth Visiting?
- How Much Does Beer Cost in Laos?
- What Adapter Do I Need For Laos?
Is Vientiane Worth Visiting?
Yes, definitely for 2 or 3 nights. Vientiane is a quiet city if you are expecting a city like Bangkok or Saigon, then it may not be worth going to.
There are plenty of things to do like visiting Buddha Park, lots of temples, and markets, hiring a bike, do the circle bike route it’s about 18 km.
Is Vientiane Laos Safe?
Yes, it’s safe. Just take the normal safety precautions you would anywhere in the world and you will be fine!
Remember, Laos is still a developing country therefore people are generally poor or living in poverty and there is a lack of infrastructure which means roads can be dangerous and petty theft does happen.
Things To Do In Vientiane Laos
Vientiane is a small city with a population of just over 1 million people. The city maintains a sleepy chilled vibe to it. There are plenty of things to do in Vientiane Laos that will keep you busy for a while.
Here is a list of things to do in Vientiane Laos.
Explore The Pha That Luang
The Pha That Luang should be the first on the list. There are gold-coated stupas, where the yellow color really shines, especially when the sun is shining. Visitors can enter the Pha That Luang area surrounded by walls after paying for tickets.
Pha That Luang which means ‘Great Sacred Stupa’ was first built in 1566. Then later it was destroyed by the Thailand invasion, and it was rebuilt in 1953.
Visit Buddha Park
Vientiane has several parks that are worth visiting. One of them is Buddha Park. Buddha Park is locally known as Xieng Khuan. Xieng Khuan is a park located 28 Km south of the capital city, precisely on the edge of the Mekong River.
At the park is a place where you can see a Buddha statue that is 50 meters high on the river bank. The park is equipped with flower gardens, fountains, and colorful lights. It is also equipped with rides for children and also equipped with a small museum.
See Sala Keoku Sculpture Park
You can also visit Sala Keoku Sculpture Park which is located across the Mekong River. This park and Buddha Park were designed by a Thai artist.
The artist complements this park with 200 diverse-sized statues. What distinguishes this park and Buddha Park is the presence of 50 very large Buddha statues in Buddha Park.
Get A View From The Large Dome
At Buddha Park, you can also visit a large stone dome. Visitors can enter the giant dome from which you can climb to the top from inside.
The steps inside are a bit narrow and require a bit of care, once up top, you can climb outside the dome. You have to be careful when climbing the dome because this dome is not equipped with a guardrail.
You can see the beauty of Buddha Park and Sala Keoku Sculpture Park from the top of the dome. Other than the park, you will see the Mekong River.
See Wat Si Saket
Wat Si Saket is a historic temple located in the city center. Apparently, Wat Si Saket was the only temple in Vientiane that was not destroyed by a Thai invasion in the 19th century.
The Temple grounds are a fairly large area and are nice to walk around. There are hundreds of small Buddha statues inside. The main temple is nice though photos are not allowed.
Visit Iconic Patuxai
Patuxai is a gate or building inspired by one famous tourist attraction in Paris. Patuxai or Victory Gate is a monument located on Lane Xang Avenue.
Although similar to the building in Paris, the decor details are adjusted to Laotian culture, which is decorated with kinnari (a Laotian mythological creature in the form of a half-bird woman).
Paintings of gods (Wisnu, Brahma, and Indra) are drawn on the inside of the dome. Visitors can go up to the top of the monument to enjoy the view of Vientiane city.
See The Kaysone Phomvihane Museum
The museum is named after its key revolutionary leader. And is also used as a gathering point for key celebrations that mark the country’s independence.
The museum mainly tells the story of Laos, its recent history, and of course Kaysone Phomvihane. Everyone entering the museum will be expected to pay their respects to the behemoth golden statue of Kaysone.
As a whole, the museum is worth a visit if you want to have a better understanding of Laos’ revolutionary history.
Try Cycling Around The City
Another fun way to get around Vientiane is by bicycle. The rates are cheap, around 10,000 kips ($1) per day. By bicycle, you can go along the Mekong River and also visit Buddhist sites around the city. You can visit various places in Vientiane that are rarely visited by others.
There are several restaurants located on narrow streets and bicycles are the right tool to take you there. You can also visit several small art galleries.
If you rent a bicycle, they ask for a passport, ID card, or deposit as a guarantee. There are loads of bicycle rentals there, so pricing is more or less the same.
You can use a city bike, folding bike, mountain bike, and of course a tandem bike. Some rental bikes also provide electric bikes that are intended for those who want to ride with less effort.
Vientiane Cycling Tips
There are a few simple rules that you must follow when you are cycling in this place.
- Don’t forget to ask for the bicycle lock.
- You should not ride alone here. It’s good if you have a friend or guide so you don’t get lost or become the target of theft.
- Do not also put bags or valuables in the front basket of the bicycle just in case not stolen by ignorant hands.
Traffic in Vientiane is relatively quiet, making cycling an easy way of exploring the city.
USEFUL TRAVEL RESOURCES
Booking.com has a large range of properties from hotels, hostels, guesthouses, and resorts where you will find the best deals. Airbnb and Hostelworld also have a good range of places to stay at good prices.
Skyscanner is a flight search comparison website that searches millions of flights all at once. Ultimately it is the best flight comparison website online at the moment.
Booking Transportation & Things To Do
Rome2rio and 12Go are useful to plan how to get anywhere by searching train, bus, car, and ferry routes. Especially useful in countries like Vietnam or Thailand. While Klook is great to explore things to do in each place.
Travel insurance is cheap and more than likely you will never need to use it but you will have peace of mind if something does happen, you are covered in case of an emergency. World Nomads have great customer service and competitive prices.
Check out our resource page for the best companies to use when you travel.
Finally, Vientiane is a welcoming city with friendly locals. There is a fair bit to do in Vientiane with landmarks like the Patuxai and with the added bonus of loads of parks, restaurants, temples, and bars to keep you busy for a few days.
And that’s it for now! I’d love to know if this guide on the things to do in Vientiane Laos has helped you. Let me know if you have any questions and let me know if there is more to add.
Vientiane is so often overlooked, great to see you giving it some love. Hopefully once the borders open again, people ca come back and do some of these things!