Oftentimes when someone asks us the capital of a country, we know what to answer. Thailand? Bangkok! Japan? Tokyo, duh! South Korea? It’s Seoul! How about Vietnam? Hanoi, of course. Now, let me ask you – what is the capital of Laos? If you started thinking already, I will immediately spoil the answer and it is Vientiane.
Needless to say, most people don’t know the capital of Laos which is Vientiane, one of the overlooked capital cities you will ever know. But hey! Vientiane got something to offer. Even though it is a capital city, you will be surprised how slow-paced it is. It has this relaxing riverside break that would make you want to grab a drink and enjoy the sun as it sets.
Vientiane makes its own name to tourists as it stands out being different from the cities with a huge crowd. This city is a perfect mix of the traditional and modern – where temples and buildings stand together. Given its laid-back vibe, you will still be surprised that there are a lot of things to do in Vientiane up until night with its numerous attractions. What I can say is that you will never go wrong with our Laos travel guide so you might as well continue reading below to know why this city is one of the places to visit in Laos *wink*
Also known as Xieng Khuan, this park has more than 200 religious statues and sculptures. Probably the main highlight of this place is the 40-meter high reclining Buddha image. Did you know that the statues were built by a Hindu? Yes, what you read is right. They were built in 1958 by Luang Phu Bounleua who fled to Laos in 1975, merging Hindu and Buddhist philosophy, mythology, and iconography. This day, this is one of the mostly visited Vientiane attractions both by tourists and locals.
PHA THAT LUANG
Looking for Vientiane destinations to include on your Laos travel guide that you can easily go to? Here’s Pha That Luang, one of the respectable places to visit in Vientiane that is easily reachable by tuk-tuk. This great stupa of Vientiane is the most sacred monument not only in the city but also in the whole country, a concrete proof of Laos’ Buddhism and national sovereignty. If you will visit Laos on November, a festival named Boun That Luang is celebrated in the city but the main event is always held at Pha That Luang. This festival is a three-day celebration that includes parades, live music, and religious ceremonies.
PATUXAI VICTORY MONUMENT
What would complete your Vientiane travel itinerary? Patuxia Victory Monument! This is one of the peculiar landmarks you will see in the city. The monument was built to pay respect to the citizens of Laos who were killed by fighting for the country’s independence from its occupiers such as France, Siam, and Japan. Buddhist religious symbols can be seen as its exterior embellishments. As you go inside, you will see the painted walls and ceilings and notice that it has four arches, each of which is facing a certain direction. Also, you may climb up its top and enjoy the panoramic view of Vientiane.
One fact about this monument is that it is sometimes known as the ‘vertical runway’ because the money used for building it is from Americans and the materials were originally intended for a new airport. Cool!
VIENTIANE NIGHT MARKET
Photo from vietnamitasenmadrid
The fun in Vientiane doesn’t stop when the sun goes down. Walk along the riverside of Mekong and shop ‘til you drop! The night market in the city is the best place where you can find things to buy without breaking the bank… or your wallet. But above all, arm yourself with bargaining skills because the initial prices are always inflated. Do you think you’ve got the guts to bargain?
WAT SI SAKET
As a country that pays respect and gives importance to its religious beliefs, visiting a wat would never be disregarded in a Laos travel guide. What’s special about Wat Si Saket is that it is believed to be Vientiane’s oldest surviving wat.
Aside from that, it is famous for its cloister wall that houses thousands of tiny Buddha images. It also has other Buddha images that come in all sizes made from stone, wood, and bronze. Early in the morning, you will see locals who go there and pray as well as offer food to monks.
What were included above are just SOME of the best in Vientiane and it is time for you to discover the others with your own eyes. Another great thing in this city is that its attractions are located not far away from each other so you could easily hop in from one to another. Want to enjoy a tour around this city pretty soon? Check out flights to Vientiane in Bangkok Airways. What can I say except you’re welcome!