Vientiane isn’t my favorite city at all but it has some charm. There are not many things to do here so spending here two days is enough. The city is not that big, and therefore I don’t find it chaotic or that busy. I would actually compare it to a smaller town more than to a big city in Southeast Asia. My stay here was pretty chilled and exploring around by bicycle is very easy too. In fact, I saw many foreigners on their rented bicycles…
So, here are the things I visited during those two days in Vientiane:
On the first day spent in Vientiane, I explored around with the two girls who I crossed the border from Thailand to Laos with. We had only the afternoon to explore during this day.
So, first I need to mention the spot we found to have lunch. It is a vegetarian restaurant that is self-service and the food was awesome!! And cheap. I think it was a great way to experience local cuisine as it works like a cantine where the monks and nuns cook. The place is called: Vegetarian in the Golden Age and even if you are not a vegetarian, like me, but still enjoy vegetarian food, this is the place to go.
After lunch, we headed to the Patuxay monument, maybe the most iconic picture of Vientiane. The monument itself is very pretty and you need to pay a fee to go inside. Inside there are many local shops with souvenirs. This was actually the best place in town I found for souvenir’s shopping because they have really distinguished stuff in here. At some point, I thought those were stolen relics from some temple or whatever. They looked pretty old and cool, expensive too. They looked like important objects, some very ancient. That’s why my theory… If you are an art lover, here is the best spot to acquire some of these stunning pieces. I also saw a lady selling tiger’s teeth for 60€ and some artifacts starting at 100€. They had some giant lobsters that were turned into decoration pieces and many different things I have only seen here. At the very top, the view is very wide. You get to view almost the full city I would say. Patuxay monument must have the best viewpoint of Vientiane.
There are many locals around the Patuxay Monument. I bet this is a popular place for Laos people. There is a fountain but wasn’t working at the time, there is a garden to relax and a very beautiful sculpture like I have never seen before. It is a sculpture made of ceramic plates, cups, and basically ceramic tableware. It has the shape of a temple with some elephants around. It is truly beautiful and impressive. I loved it!!
After the area around Patuxay, we headed to Sisaket Temple. This is a very beautiful Laos temple. It is distinguished from all the Asian temples I have seen before. You can’t take pictures inside but I guarantee it is worth a visit.
Chao Anouvong Park
To end up the day we headed to Chao Anouvong Park where there is a statue of King Anouvong. This is where the Vientiane night market happens so we stick around. In fact, the market was already set by the evening so we had a walk around. This is clearly a market dedicated to local people, not like the type of market you see in Chiang Mai, in Thailand. Here they sell clothes, accessories, homeware, and many different things. Around the park, on the main street are the street food stalls. That’s where we had dinner.
Watch the sunset in Vientiane
The best place to watch the sunset in Vientiane is by the river. You just need to follow the main street next to the river near the night market and you will see the place where everyone is gathering. There are music and even dance classes, so you can clearly spot it. This is obviously the place where everyone, locals, and foreigners are gathering to end the day. There are some ladies selling massages that they do right there. They carry all the necessary materials with them and you can have a massage while watching the sunset. A very expensive one I must say.
I started the day heading to Buddha Park, the most interesting thing I saw in Vientiane. To get here I hopped on bus number 14 at the central bus station. It costs 8000 kips one way and stops just in front of the entrance of Buddha Park. The buses depart frequently, so it is a good option to get to Buddha Park in Vientiane. The park has many statues and its impressive to see how one person dedicated itself to it. It is a considerable area very pleasant and peaceful. There were so many butterflies flying around!! I think Laos is the country in Southeast Asia that I have visited with more butterflies around. So pretty! I spent at least one hour here. I dared to go further next to the river as the park stands next to the Mekong, but the view is not so impressive… There are some places where you can buy drinks and some food, but not many options. Not a place to have lunch I would say!
Pha That Luang Vientiane
I was thinking to go to Pha That Luang Vientiane by bus, but it turned out to be cheaper to rent a bicycle for the rest of the day. Bicycle rental is very cheap in Vientiane and this way I can go and stop where I want. The temple is about 4km away from the hostel but I have all afternoon. This temple has in fact a different shape. Usually, temples have rounder shapes, but this one no. Besides that, there is nothing interesting inside. You need to pay to go inside. But there are more things to see around, and those don’t have an entrance fee. This is a big área and you can easily spend a long time seeing around. There are also locals selling stuff but in general, there is not much going on.
Wat Si Muang
The last thing I saw was Wat Si Muang, a very crowded temple. This temple was full of life. Locals and foreigners could be seen. It is a very beautiful temple indeed and the busiest I visited in town.
And that was all I saw in Vientiane. I tried to visit Hophakaew Museum but somehow I didn’t find the way in. Maybe I didn’t try enough… The next day I’m moving to Vang Vieng.