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Best Things To Do in Vientiane

The capital of Laos, Vientiane is unlike any other world capital. The chaos and bustle that characterises urban centres is markedly absent from this city full of Buddhist temples and monasteries and its broad tree-lined boulevards. Its history under the French colonial rule, which lasted well into the twentieth century, has left its mark in the architecture of the city which is a delightful blend of French and traditional structures. The air of calm that fills the city is a legacy of its strong Buddhist culture which has flourished for centuries in Laos. Spending a couple of days in Vientiane will allow you to explore the city in all its rich heritage. The many iconic and historically relevant Buddhist landmarks that are situated all over the city are its best attractions. Pha That Luang, a symbol recognizable anywhere in Laos, is a grand gold-covered Buddhist stupa. Built around 1566, the stupa stands tall as a symbol of the best of Vientiane’s culture. One of the best things to do in Vientiane are its parades, live music and holy ceremonies in November which attract tourists from all over the world. Other spectacular sites of the city include the worship site of Wat Si Muang where wishes are said to come true, Wat Si Saket which is home to thousands of Buddhist statues, the impressive Patuxai Victory Monument, and That Dam stupa.

Though full of heritage and bursting with tradition, Vientiane is steadily acquiring a modern vibe as upscale hotels and restaurants come up to cater to the tourists who are beginning to discover the charms of Laos. Since Vientiane is not heavily populated, cycling around the city is a great way of enjoying its myriad sights and sounds. Cycle leisurely to all the major landmarks, visit the local markets, and try out the cuisine of Laos which is rich in fresh herbs, and full of curiously rustic tastes. End your stay in Vientiane by strolling down to the Mekong river bank, and watch as the warm rays of the sun colour the river with a passionate glow before it bids the river goodbye. Check out the best things to do in Vientiane for a memorable vacation here.

  • Featured
    Cycling Tour at Vientiane in Laos
    l
    Vientiane
    h8 Hours

    About the Activity:Embark in this exciting cycling trip in Vientiane, Laos and explore the stunning view of this region as you ride.Get picked up from your hotel at around 9:00 AM in a private local truck and begin your tour. Continue riding thr...

    Very Good 4.0
    33 ratings

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    4627


  • Featured
    Sightseeing in Vientiane and Market Tour
    l
    Vientiane
    h8 Hours

    About the Activity:If you want to explore the traditional Laos lifestyle then this tour is the perfect fit for you.Get picked up from your hotel at 8:30 AM in an air-conditioned vehicle and begin your adventurous day.Visit the museums of Wat Sisaket the oldest temple and...

    Good 3.0
    26 ratings

    Starting from

    5308


  • l
    Vientiane
    h4 Hours

    About the Activity:Indulge in this exciting half day cycling tour in Vientiane and ride through the amazing countryside of this region.Get picked up from your hotel at 8:30 AM in an air-conditioned vehicle and begin your cycling tour.Visit the museums of Wat Sisaket the ...

    Good 3.0
    35 ratings

    Starting from

    3334


  • l
    Vientiane
    h3 Hours

    About the Activity:Test your culinary skills with this exciting cooking class In Vientiane and learn to make some special Laos dishes.Start your tour at around 10:00 AM after reaching the local restaurant and then get transferred to the garden.Learn about the different s...

    Good 3.0
    39 ratings

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    4083


  • l
    Vientiane
    h2 Hours

    About the Activity:Embark in this one of a kind food tasting and market tour in Vientiane and learn about the traditional Laos cuisine.Get picked up from the hotel at 8:00 AM and then get transferred by a local tuk tuk to the local restaurant.Visit the largest market in ...

    Very Good 4.0
    25 ratings

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    2586


Attractions

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Black Stupa (That Dam)

That Dam, or black stupa, is located on a quiet roundabout not far from Talat Sao (the morning market) and the American Embassy. That in Laotian refers to an inverted bell shape (or unopened lotus flower) structure that usually contains relics of the Buddha. Legend has it that a seven-headed water serpent – a ‘Naga’ lived here to protect the stupa that was once covered in pure gold.

During the Siamese-Laotian war in the 1820s, the gold was pillaged and taken to Siam, now Thailand, leaving the legacy that is the black stupa today. Known as the ‘Black Stupa', many locals believe this mythological structure was once inhabited by a seven-headed dragon (now dormant) that stood to protect the city from the threat of the Siamese.



Highlights
: Known as the ‘Black Stupa', many locals believe this mythological structure was once inhabited by a seven-headed dragon (now dormant) that stood to protect the city from the threat of the Siamese.

Location
: Chantha Khoumane Road, Vientiane
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Patuxai Victory Monument

With its crenellated upper level topped with five ornate towers in the traditional Laos style, the Patuxai Victory Monument cuts a distinctive figure on the Vientiane skyline. It forms the centre piece of Patuxai Park, and is dedicated to the Laos who were killed in the fight to gain independence from France, as well as from the nation’s earlier occupiers, Siam and Japan.

 

Highlights
: Patuxai was built between 1957 and 1968 using funds from the U.S. government.

Opening Hours
: From 08:00 to 16:30 on Mondays to Fridays, and 08:00 to 17:00 on Saturdays and Sundays.

Location
: Patuxai is situated at the far end of Thanon Lane Xang in the government and diplomatic district. The monument sits on the large ‘island’ formed where the avenue splits into two, opposite the Ministry of Justice to the south and the Prime Minister’s office to the north.
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Vang Vieng

Vang Vieng (additionally Vang Viang) is a riverside town in Central Laos. The town hosts been known as a get-together destination for quite a long time, and whilst regardless this remaining parts more open air situated exercises are currently accessible, for example, mountain biking, trekking, kayaking, giving in, swimming and shake climbing. Vang Vieng is on Highway #13 in the middle of Vientiane and Luang Prabang - by transport (street and transport conditions allowing) around 6-8 hrs from Luang Prabang, around 3-4 hr from Vientiane. Thruway #13 is a two-path street in genuinely great condition with the exception of a couple knocks nearer to the urban communities, nothing to stress over. The street between Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang is rocky and brags astounding view and also beneficial looks of Lao town life.



Highlights – Tubing, Lao-style steam sauna, Kayaking the river, High swings

Location - Central Laos

Best time to visit: All around the year

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Wat Ho Phra Kaew

Vientiane boasts several beautiful temples or wats, but one of the most impressive and interesting of them is Wat Ho Phra Keo. It was originally constructed in 1565 as the Lao royal family’s personal chapel, and as a home for the Emerald Buddha after it was snatched from northern Siam (Thailand). This sacred jade statue was reclaimed by the Siamese in 1778 and now sits in Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok.



 Highlights
– The interior of the temple is now a museum that houses many Lao treasures such as a gilded throne, Khmer Buddhist stone tablets, wooden carvings, bronze frog drums and palm-leaf manuscripts.

Opening Hours
: The temple is open from 08:00 to 12:00 and 13:00 to 16:00 every day.

Location
: Wat Ho Phra Keo is situated on the corner of Thanon Setthathilath and Thanon Mahosot. It is next to the Presidential Palace and across the road from Wat Si Saket. Mahosot Hospital is on the opposite side of Thanon Mahosot.
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Lao Textile Museum

Underneath the raised house there are old looms and antique spinners that you would not find in use anywhere today. Upstairs, textiles are hung on the walls or are simply stacked in cupboards. The collection has some stunning pieces, with several made by different ethnic minority groups. Unfortunately, the textiles don’t have proper storage or display conditions and many of them are deteriorating.

There is also a studio where they produce silk pieces for their shop and a glossy cultural education centre with professional displays on natural dyes and indigo pots (clearly there has been NGO funding and involvement). The educational centre is largely used as a showroom for large tour groups and it isn’t an active, working, living craft centre you can just drop in on.



Highlights
– The museum also offers Lao cooking classes, although these didn't yet appear to be up and running during our visit, and on Saturdays, lessons on traditional Lao mus

Location
– Vientiane , Laos

Prices
: Admission 30,000K

Opening Hours
: 10am to 4pm
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Vientiane - Pha That Luang

The air-conditioned shopping mall (the only one in Laos) is the best place to find electronics, sports equipment and jewellery, while the cavernous original Morning Market is fairly overflowing with mass-produced silks, cheap T-shirts, trinkets and other souvenir type items. Talat Sao is the market to visit if you are looking for something in particular – although bear in mind that the catwalks of Paris and Milan are a long way from Vientiane.

Despite looking like a shopping mall in a provincial town rather than the flagship shopping destination of a capital city, Talat Sao mall is still a breath of fresh, air-conditioned air to many tourists battling with the tropical heat outside. There are a range of shops and services for tourists to enjoy over five floors, including a Big C supermarket, a three-screen cinema, a children’s play area with plenty of arcade games and flashing lights, and a food court on the fourth floor.

 

Location
: Vientiane , Laos

Opening hours
: 8am-noon & 1-4pm Tue-Sun
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Vientiane City Pillar Shrine

This new shrine was finished in the year of 2012, and the contractor handed it over to the Information Ministry of tourism and culture. This particular shrine is situated in the Phaiwat village in the Sisattanak district. The spot where it has been made into consisted of 473 fragments remains of the city stone pillar which was marked long back to the 5th or 4th century and was buried along with other remains.

 

The main reason behind the construction was to preserve the old heritage and the other artifacts remains which were believed by the foreign travelers to be belonging to the city of Vientiane. There are many activities done there which includes certain religious ceremony and some traditional celebrations. The valued items are said to be placed on the pillar, and many worshipers tend to donate special items. They in return get all the good luck blessings in the form of items such as holy books, Buddha statues, etc.
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Ho Pra Keo

This is also written in many different ways like Haw Phra Kaew or Hoe Pha Keo and others. This was formally a temple in the Vientiane in Laos. It is located on the Setthathirath road which is further situated in the south east of the Wat Si Saket. This was first built in the year 1565 to create a house for the Buddha. This has however been built up many a times. The inner part has been converted into a museum which is famous for all the religious and other activities.



As the king moved the capital to Vientiane, this place was built. This was placed on the soil of the royalty. This was a place for a personal worship of the king and was not the house for any monks as we can see in other places. The great statue of Buddha is present there for the past 200 years. It was in the year 1779 that it was captured and the temple was destroyed.

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