Vientiane is one of the quietest capital that I’ve ever visited. It’s not so crowded, you won’t see too many new buildings or too many tourists. If you want to have a chill break of touristic places in Laos, you should come to Vientiane. Even though there are some things to see around, I’ve spent four nights in Vientiane and I wasn’t bored at all.
1. Patuxay Monument. Considered a Victory Gate, Patuxay is one of the most famous landmarks of Vientiane, being located in the center, at the end of Lane Xang Avenue. The monument was built in the 1960s in the memory of all those who fought in the wars of Laos. From 10.00 am to 16.00 pm, you have the chance to go on the rooftop of the gate and see the panorama. The price of the ticket is 3000 KIP.
2. COPE Visitor Center. If you want to have more pieces of information about the consequences of the Vietnam War in Laos, I recommend you to visit this center for free. I reserved an entire article about this visit because it had a big impact on me.
3. Pha that Luang Stupa. Known also as the “Great Stupa”, this temple is the most important Buddhist monument of Laos. They say that the golden temple enshrines a breast bone of the Buddha. That Luang is officially named Pha Chedi Lokajulamani, which translates to “World Precious Sacred Stupa”. The ticket price is 10.000 KIP, the price for all the famous temples in Vientiane.
4. Buddha Park. Also known as Xieng Khuan, Buddha Park is a sculpture park located 25 km southeast from Vientiane, along the Mekong River. So there is no temple, only a series of 200 Buddhist and Hindu sculptures, having in center a 40 meter-long reclining Buddha. Another notable sculpture illustrates the journey from Hell to Heaven through Earth. The visitors enter through a huge demon’s mouth and climb the stairs to Earth and then to Heaven. The ticket price is 15.000 KIP for foreigners.
5. Lao Disabled Women’s Development Center. Being interested in social work, I was guided to visit this center and I could have seen all many beautiful powerful women very talented in doing crafts, designing or weaving. The LDWDC is a non-profit organization run by Lao women with disabilities for Lao women with disabilities. Their goal is to assist people to cope with their disability and advocate for the rights of women with disabilities because too often people’s attitudes are a bigger challenge than the disability itself. Visiting the center is free but I kindly encourage you to buy some of their wonderful products because you’ll have a nice memory from Laos.
6. Wat Si Saket Temple. It’s the oldest temple of Vientiane built-in 1820 as a Buddhist Monastery. The construction is quite special because it kept its original form. The temple is housing around 10000 pictures with Buddha that’s taking photographs inside the sim is not allowed to protect the ancient murals from the flashlight. The ticket price is 10000 KIP too.
7. Lao Textile Museum. If you want to find out more about Lao traditions, I advise you to visit this museum, a big yard with traditional houses, where you could see women weaving and their products. Visitors can also see ancient household utensils. The Exhibition is displayed in a wooden house of typical Lao style, amidst peaceful and pleasant surroundings and gardens of flowers. The museum is open from 09.00 to 16.00 and the ticket price is 30000 KIP.
8. Night Market. The Vientiane Night Market takes place along the Mekong Riverfront, where you can see rows of red-roofed stalls selling handicrafts, clothes, and electronics. If you need something for your traveling is cheap to buy it from there. Otherwise, the market is not so interesting, most of the stands have the same products. The market’s open from 06.00 pm to 9.30 pm.
9. Morning Market. Talaat Sao, or the morning market of Vientiane, offers a great selection of local products from the traditional sinh to jewelry, scarfs or bowls.
10. Sunset on the Mekong riverside. One of the best sunsets in my life was in Laos along the Mekong River. I saw it in Thakhek and in Pakxane but it’s wonderful in Vientiane too. During the evening there are many peoples coming for sport and also to walk in the night market. It’s such a warm experience to see the red beautiful sunset of Laos!