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Posted by DH Travel at 7:49 am April 29, 2014

Vientiane, the bustling capital city of Laos, is set on the steady waters of the Mekong River. For many years it was a sleepy backwater capital of an equal backwater state, but as Laos has slowly opened up to foreign investment and tourism, Vientiane has undergone vast changes and continues to expand. It’s a small city with growing ambition. Vientiane’s name stems from an incorrect French transliteration of “Wiang Jan”, meaning “City of Sandalwood.” It’s home to a vibrant wealth of hotels, bars, restaurants and embassies while maintaining a low-key, laidback feel. The pace of life, as in all of Laos, is best described as slow – bordering on glacial, especially on the weekends. Vientiane is the smallest city in Southeast Asia base on a population amount is around 850.000 only. The countryside regions of Vientiane is very suitable for the tourist or group of persons whose prefer to organize the parties because of its peaceful and quiet space.

things to do in Vientiane

Vientiane is a peaceful and quiet city where is much diferent from the busy cities in Southeast Asia

Luang Prabang was moved to Vientiane the capital of Laos since 1563 by king Setthathirat, the last great king of Lane Xang to avoid the attacking of Burmese. And, bring with this great king is the Phra Kaew, the sacred Emerald Buddha, and building Wat Ho Phra Kaew to house it. But, then Burmese do not stop attacking Vientiane so that it fell under their control for seven years. This was followed by a golden era of peace until the end of the 17th century, then constant struggle and war with Siam throughout the 18th century: Siam stole the Emerald Buddha in 1778 and the city was razed in 1827-1828, subsequently abandoned and absorbed into their territory, among Wat Sisake is the unique temple to be protected from attacking. And nowadays, even the Emerald Buddha is still located at the Grand Palace in Bangkok and this remains a sore spot for Laos but nothing can be changed until today.

Today there are still many structures with French architectures to be still available in Vientiane so that you are not surprised if the road layout of grids, wide boulevards and roundabouts strike you as French in style because the French Annexation saw the rebuilding of the city from the turn of the 20th century.

Like many French colonial cities, Vientiane is characterized by broad, often leafy boulevards, a riverside promenade, creating colonial mansions painted in sun-bleached tropical hues and mod 1960’s era villas with large gardens dripping in bougainvillea. The city is dotted with the rustic wats and traditional homes tamarind trees coconut palms, beer shacks and French cafes. To be mixed that with a sedentary pace of life and the allure of the place is understood.

If some years ago, the tourist will feel no fear to cross the roads in Vientiane but nowadays the most since 2015 Vientiane Center was developed very much and fast. In 201, there is just the first modern shopping mall to be opened in this ancient city is today there are around 661,612 vehicles registered – and remember, the city has a population of 850,000. Traffic jams occur at all time. With no dedicated parking lots, every spot has become a parking lot including the wats and the footpaths. Especially, the traditions and religion still thrive as well as women still wear traditional skirts, but an emerging upper class is also interested in having nice cars, taking selfies, dining at the latest hip restaurant and having their children into the best schools in this ancient capital city.

Vientiane lacks the overwhelming charm of Luang Prabang and if you had to decide between the two, it is recommended spending more time in Vientiane in the latter.

Sightseeing Must See and Top Activities Must Do in Vientiane

Pha That Luang

Pha That Luang or still called as “Great Stupa”, this is the most important Buddhist monument belong to Vientiane capital of Laos, this site is believed to enshrine a sacred relic of the Buddha, this is the site you must see once travel Vientiane.

sightseeing must see in Vientiane

Pha That Luang or still called as “Great Stupa” is the most important Buddhist monument in Vientiane, you must see this mighty site once travel Vientiane

Nam Ngum Lake

Nam Ngum Lake is located in the northern Vientiane, it takes around 1.5 hours by bus to move through a lot of the countryside regions of Vientiane to head to this beautiful lake. Then, visiting the archaeological ruins of Vang Xang and enjoying around one hour by boat along the river to feel the beauty and peaceful landscape of the lake.

Buddha Park

This site is far from the center of Vientiane just around 25km, you can take by bus, bike, motorbike or even by tuk-tuk to visit this site where you have a chance to contemplate over 200 statues of Buddha and Hinduism characters made by concrete, especially the enormous sleeping Buddha statue which is 40m in length.

things to do in Vientiane

Buddle Park where you have a chance to contemplate over 200 statues of Buddha and Hinduism characters made by concrete

Cycling around Vientiane

It is very comfortable and pleasure for you to ride a bike to roll along the Mekong River, visit historic temples, ancient landmarks as well as learn about the history and culture of this unique destination. This is the perfect and easy way to explore the city.

Vang Vieng

Take a trip to Vang Vieng to enjoy the beautiful scenery of limestone mountains, villages as well as exploring some of its many caves. The drive between two cities will bring chances to encounter with the local hill tribe people from their villages. This is a very experience and fun trip for any tourist whose visit Vientiane for the first time.

Monument Patuxai

Monument Patuxai is a war monument and built between 1957 and 1968 in the center of Vientiane, Laos. This is a special and very meaning structure of Laos

why travel Laos

Monument Patuxai is a war monument and built between 1957 and 1968 in the centre of Vientiane, Laos. This is a special and very meaning structure of Laos

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