Top 10 things to do and see in Vientiane

THéo COurant

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Top 10 things to do and see in Vientiane

Vientiane may be the capital of Laos, but it primarily serves as an economic center rather than a heritage center. Luang Prabang holds much greater richness in this aspect. However, for travelers who find themselves needing to spend a few days in Vientiane, there is plenty to keep them busy.

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Resembling a free-spirited list, here’s a concise overview of the key things to do and see in Vientiane and its surroundings. We’ve highlighted 10 items without any specific order:

Pha Thuat Luang

An emblematic building in Vientiane, this structure holds great significance and is revered by the population. Its image is widely recognized, appearing on banknotes. The temple’s earliest remains date back to the 3rd century, with the first stupa constructed atop it in the 16th century. The sanctity of the site primarily stems from the belief that it houses a relic of Buddha. A magnificent edifice.

Vientiane

Address:

Prices and Access to Pha That Luang:

  • Opening Hours: Every day except Monday, from 08:00 to 12:00 and from 13:00 to 16:00.
  • Entrance fee: 5,000 kips.

How to get there:

  • Location: 4km north-east of Vientiane city centre, 2km from the Patuxai Lao Triumphal Arch, in the Ban Nongbone area.
  • Recommended transport: Tuk-tuk - bicycle - scooter.

Vat (Wat) Sisaket

Built in 1819 in the Thai style, it comprises several buildings, including a sanctuary adorned with superb frescoes and bas-reliefs. The cloister houses a collection of Buddha statues.

Vientiane

Address:

  • Vat (Wat) Sisaket - Ave Lane Xang, Vientiane, Laos
    Prices and Access to Vat (Wat) Sisaket:

  • Opening Hours: Every day except Monday, from 08:00 to 12:00 and from 13:00 to 16:00.

  • Entrance fee: 5,000 kips.

How to get there:

  • Recommended transport: Tuk-tuk - bicycle - scooter.

The Vat Simuong

The Vat Simuong is a charming building that underwent renovation following the destruction caused by the Thai siege in 1828. Outside, you can observe (or speculate on) the remnants of a substantial statue of King Sisavang Vong.

Vientiane

Address:

Access to Vat Simuong:

  • Opening Hours: Every day, from 06:00 to 22:00.

How to get there:

  • Recommended transport: Tuk-tuk - bicycle – scooter- Walk.

Haw Phra Kaew

Built in the 16th century and reconstructed in 1936, this structure was originally intended to house the renowned Emerald Buddha statue. Unfortunately, the statue was stolen during the siege and looting of the city by the Thais in 1779. Today, Haw Phra Kaew serves as a museum of religious art.

Vientiane

Address:

Prices and Access to Haw Phra Kaew:

  • Opening Hours: Every day except Monday, from 08:00 to 12:00 and from 13:00 to 16:00.
  • Entrance fee: 5,000 kips.

How to get there:

  • Recommended transport: Walk - Tuk-tuk - bicycle - scooter.

Visit Buddha Park

The park is situated 25 km outside Vientiane. It’s a peculiar place featuring just over 200 statues of Buddha and Hindu deities, all crafted from concrete. Set in a tranquil environment away from the city, it offers an unconventional and unique visitor experience.

Vientiane

Address:

  • Buddha Park - Deua, Thanon Tha, Vientiane, Laos.
    Prices and Access to Buddha Park:

  • Opening Hours: Every day, from 08:00 to 17:00 and Sunday from 10:00 to 15:30.

  • Entrance fee: 40,000 kips.

How to get there:

  • Recommended transport: Tuk-tuk - scooter.

Patuxai, Vientiane’s Triumphal Arch

The Arc de Triomphe of Laos, also known as the Gates of Victory, stands as a symbol of triumph over colonization. It is a structure erected in honor of the Resistance. The story behind its construction might bring a smile to your face: instead of utilizing the funds and concrete supplied by American aid to further develop the airport, the government at the time (1957) opted to build the Patuxai.

Vientiane

Address:

  • Patuxai
    Prices and Access to Vat (Wat) Sisaket:

  • Opening Hours: Every day, from 08:30 to 17:00.

How to get there:

  • Recommended transport: Walk - Tuk-tuk - bicycle - scooter.

Don’t miss: A bike ride

Explore the city with its numerous colonial-style buildings, the banks of the Mekong, and the streets that run parallel to the river. Each of these streets features more or less well-preserved stupas, such as the That Dum Stupa. This offers a wonderful opportunity to discover the city and its rich heritage.

Vientiane

Bike Hire:

-Many hotels provide bike rental services for the day.

Tips:

-Avoid cycling at night.
-An important reminder for those arriving from Thailand: ride on the right!

Carol Cassidy Lao Textiles

Discover the craft of silk weaving. You can visit Carol Cassidy’s small Lao Textiles factory in the heart of Vientiane. Staying in an old colonial-style house, you will have the opportunity to explore a manufacturing workshop and a small shop selling a wide range of fabrics created in the pure Lao tradition.

Vientiane

Address:

  • Carol Cassidy Lao Textiles - 123 Rue Nokeokoummane, Vientiane, Laos
    Prices and Access to Vat (Wat) Sisaket:

  • Opening Hours: Every day except Saturday and Sunday, from 09:00 to 12:00 and from 14:00 to 17:00.

  • To visit, we advise you to call first. Tel: To visit, we advise you to call first

How to get there:

  • Recommended transport: Walk -Tuk-tuk - bicycle - scooter.

Enjoy the scenic beauty along the banks of the Mekong River.

To fully experience the charm of Laos and the Mekong, dine out or simply savor an aperitif at one of the bars or restaurants lining the banks of the Mekong. Here, you can relish a breathtaking sunset—ideal for romantics, sunset enthusiasts, or anyone who appreciates capturing beautiful moments through photography.

Vientiane

Address:

How to get there:

  • Recommended transport: Walk -Tuk-tuk - bicycle - scooter.

Vientiane Night Market - Mekong Riverside

The Vientiane Night Market, located on the Mekong Riverside, takes place every evening. It’s a bustling market primarily focused on everyday shopping rather than handicrafts. This vibrant marketplace is not only a great spot to pick up various items but also an excellent place to explore local dishes and sample some of the region’s fresh produce.

Vientiane

Address:

Vientiane: A Capital Like No Other

Vientiane, although primarily an economic centre, offers a wide range of cultural and historical experiences. From the iconic Pha That Luang to the intriguing sculptures in Buddha Park, each site tells a rich and captivating story. We urge you to explore these unique sites for a full immersion in the history and culture of Laos’ capital. Whether you’re a history buff, nature lover or keen to savour the local cuisine, Vientiane offers a range of rewarding opportunities. For more detailed information, don’t miss our complete guide to Vientiane:

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