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From its sleepy tuk-tuk drivers to its location on the right bank of the lumbering, lazy Mekong, this former French trading post is languid to say the least. Indeed, despite being the capital and largest city of the Lao People's Democratic Republic, there's not a whole lot to do in Vientiane. But that is also, quite honestly, its selling point. For the traveler happy with a couple of low-key sights and lots of contemplative river watching while sipping on Beerlao, or hopping from cafe to cafe, Vientiane excels. And best of all, these pleasures are available to all budgets, be it via the city's low-cost digs and street markets, or its upscale boutique accommodation and foreign restaurants. Even though in Vientiane the days blend into one another, once you leave you’ll miss this place more than you expected.

WATCHING THE SLEEPY VIENTIANE!
Though a capital city, Vientiane is sleepy and easy going. Watch the below video for more detail.

Vientiane Weather Overview

Vientiane's weather is tropical, with a dry season and a wet season. Daytime temperatures typically range between 24°C and 37°C – the city also experiences humid days when rains mark the start of the southwest monsoon season. 

Rainy conditions start from May or June until the end of October, followed with the northeast monsoon that brings drier and cooler days. The months of November through February are when Vientiane enjoys the most comfortable weather conditions before temperatures rise in March. 

Average temperatures in Vientiane vary little. Considering humidity, temperatures feel hot for most of the year with a fair chance of precipitation about half of the year. The area is less temperate than some — in the 19th percentile for pleasant weather — compared to tourist destinations worldwide. If you’re looking for the very warmest time to visit Vientiane, the hottest months are April, May, and then June. See average monthly temperatures below. The warmest time of year is generally mid April where highs are regularly around 97°F (36.1°C) with temperatures rarely dropping below 76.9°F (24.9°C) at night.

Check the below table for the general idea of Vientiane weather throughout the year.

Month Avg. High (°C) Avg. Mean (°C) Avg. Low (°C)
Jan 28.3 22.7 17
Feb 31.4 25.7 19.8
Mar 33.3 27.8 22.2
Apr 34.9 29.6 24.2
May 33.9 29.2 24.6
Jun 33 29 25.1
Jul 32 28.3 24.8
Aug 31.8 28 24.6
Sep 32.1 28.2 24.3
Oct 31.9 27.8 23.6
Nov 31.2 26.3 21.1
Dec 29.1 23.8 18.2

 

Best time to visit Vientiane

The best time to visit Vientiane is from November through March. Note that these months are when the Lao capital receives a large tourist crowd. Flight and hotel prices are highest during this time of the year, but you’ll be able to enjoy cooler weather while sightseeing in Vientiane.  

If you’re visiting in April, expect some hot, sticky days but it's also a good chance to see how the locals cool down with their New Year's water festival. Similar to the famed Songkran festival in Thailand, the Vientiane version is much more low-key, but it’s equally enjoyable (and less packed with overenthusiastic tourists).

Vientiane Seasonal Weather Guide 

The Wet Season

The wet season in Vientiane runs generally from around May to October (June to August are the wettest months). As many areas in Laos, the weather is characterized by a sharp downpour for a few hours a day, rather than all-day continuously downpours. Located on the banks of Mekong River, Vientiane is actually one of the areas that get a bit more rain.

This instinct monsoon time wreak havoc muddy roads, landslides. Land road traffic tends to be slow. Travel time for road routes can double trouble. On the upside, the rainy season brings lovely green landscape to Vientiane. As the rain won’t last all day every day, there will be clear sky with stunning mountain, rice paddies bursting with neon green. Travelling in this wet season in Vientiane may be challenging but it will be rewarded with beautiful attractions in amazing green landscape.

On the upside, boat transport comes into its own during the great wet. You do not want to miss the biggest and most significant festival in Lao boat racing, takes place every years during September and October. Many villages around Vientiane with racing boat take part in the race at this festival. Obviously, this festival is not just about racing boats, it is a local celebration with traditional food.

The Dry Season

Laos’ dry season has two distinct periods: the cool dry season and then the hot dry season. The cool dry season runs from late October to February and the hot dry season spans from March to April.

November is the first month of the cool dry season and also an excellent time to visit the Vientiane and the whole of Laos. At this time, heavy rainfalls have passed, leave the green and lush to this laid-back capital. The average temperature is around 25°C with dry conditions throughout the city. This is a very pleasant time of year in not only Vientiane but Laos. If you have chance to stay in Vientiane at this time, you cannot miss Boun That Luong Festival. This is a Lao Buddhist celebration and the largest national holiday in Laos. For those interested in Lao culture, it is a good opportunity to observe the culture through Lao festivals. In over three days during the full moon of November, the twelfth lunar month, thousands of monks and pilgrims from all over Laos descend on the gold-covered Grand Stupa (Pha That Luang) in Vientiane for receiving and giving alms in this occasion, one of the most sacred moments of the festival.

November through February is the most comfortable days with great sunshine in Vientiane. Temperatures are relatively low, the air is cleaner. The rivers are high enough to make river travel a breeze. You will feel relaxed when visit a round of Vientiane temples, wander down to the Mekong riverside, enjoy some Beerlaos and the sunset on the Mekong in this cool weather. Luxury Mekong river cruise

The period March to May, before the monsoon, is the hottest time of the year. April is the hottest month, with average highs about 35 °C, which has a greater continentally. Be prepared to this blisteringly hot. The cool, dry season on the other hand is an excellent time to go. You must know that local festivals or celebrations in Laos are in almost every month of the year. Held in the mid of April, the rocket festival in Vientiane Province is an exciting, noisy and colorful festival. The locals want to pray for rain to help promote the production of rice crops for next coming planting season. It is a traditional event that is meaningful and important in religion of people in Vientiane.

Vientiane Current Weather & 7-day Forecast

VIENTIANE CAPITAL WEATHER

By plane

Vientiane's Wattay Airport (IATA: VTE, ICAO: VLVT) is 4 km west of the city. International services are quite limited, but this is slowly changing.

International flights

There are direct flights to/from:

  • Bangkok Suvarnabhumi: Thai Airways, two flights daily (code share with Lao Airlines) and Lao Airlines, one. Bangkok Airways also operates one flight daily
  • Hanoi (Viet Nam): Lao Airlines, three times weekly, Vietnam Airlines daily, Cambodia Angkor Air daily (some flights co-shared with Vietnam Airlines).
  • Ho Chi Minh City (Viet Nam): Vietnam Airlines daily via Phnom Penh; Lao Airlines three times/week via Pakse
  • Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia): AirAsia [43] daily.
  • Phnom Penh (Cambodia): Vietnam Airlines daily.
  • Siem Reap (Cambodia): Lao Airlines three flights weekly via Pakse.
  • Chiang Mai (Thailand): Lao Airlines six times weekly via Luang Prabang.
  • Kunming (Yunnan, West China): China Eastern Airlines operate four and Lao Airlines three flights weekly. Lao Airlines and the Lao Consulate both have offices in the Camellia Hotel, Kunming.
  • Singapore: Lao Airlines flies four times a week on Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Sunday.
  • Seoul (South Korea): Lao Airlines flies Daily. Jin Air [44], t'way air [45]
  • Busan (South Korea): Lao Airlines flies every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

There is a US$10 departure tax for international flights, but this is being incorporated into the ticket cost so is not now payable in cash for most flights.

From Bangkok many visitors choose to fly into Udon Thani in Thailand, and cross the border by bus, as this domestic flight is considerably cheaper than a direct international flight to Vientiane. There is a direct shuttle from Udon Thani airport to the Thai/Lao border at Nong Khai (about 50 km away) for 200 baht. Alternatively,Nok Air offers flight+minivan service from Bangkok to Vientiane v.v. by flying with Nok Air from Bangkok to Udon Thani and transferred on a minivan to Vientiane. This can be booked directly from their website. Also, there are also direct cross-border bus services from Udon Thani (the city, not the airport!) to Vientiane. From Udon Thani airport, you can take shuttle van to Udon Thani City Bus Terminal for 80 baht to catch the direct bus to Vientiane. The buses to Vientiane operate 8 times daily, from 8 am - 6 pm* (see below for details). If you wish to catch the last direct bus to Vientiane, you should get to the bus terminal before 5 pm to make sure that you get the ticket** (see below for details). This option (flight plus bus transfers and immigration clearance at 2 points) takes at least 2 hours longer than a direct Bangkok to Vientiane flight. Be aware that you may have difficulty getting an international bus to Laos if you do not already hold a visa. Ticket officers for the buses sometimes check for this as the buses do not wait at the border long enough for the painfully slow visa on arrival process. If you are flying to Udon Thani you should also make sure you go to the correct departure airport. Nok Air and Thai Air Asia flies from Don Muang, the old Bangkok airport, with Thai Airways flying from Suvarnabhumi.

The schedule is 8 am (TH), 9 am (TH), 10.30 am (LA), 11.30 am (LA), 2 pm (TH), 3 pm (TH), 4.30 pm (LA), and 6 pm (LA). The buses leaving from Vientiane (Thalat Sao) to Udon Thani also depart at the same time. The usual fare from Udon Thani to Vientiane is 80 baht. It is subject to 5 baht extra charge if you travel on the weekend or after 4.30 pm of the weekdays. If you travel back from Vientiane to Udon Thani Bus Terminal, the fare is 22,000 Kip (approx. 88 baht). Sometimes the extra 2,000 Kip (approx. 8 baht) may apply.

During the weekend or long holiday or festivals of Thailand and Laos, more people from Vientiane will cross the border to Udon Thani for shopping. They will usually catch the last bus back to Vientiane, so the last bus will be full faster than usual. As the last bus is Lao bus bound back to Vientiane, Lao passengers usually carry a lot of luggages and cram in the bus. Sometimes, the driver allows passengers which cannot get the tickets - because the tickets are sold out - to stand and cram in the bus for 100 baht.

Domestic flights

Lao Airlines flies to five domestic destinations (three to five flights daily to Luang Prabang; once or twice daily to Pakse, four times per week to Huay Xai and Oudomxay, and six times per week to Xieng Khuang (Phonsavan).

Laos Skyway: formerly known as Lao Air, is a private airline with its headquarters at Wattay Airport in Vientiane, Laos. It operates scheduled and charter services to airports in the country not served by Lao Airlines. Some of the destinations include Luang Prabang, Pakse, Xieng Khuang, Huayxay, Luang Namtha, Oudomxay, Samneua, and Phongsaly. 

Transfer to the city

An airport shuttle bus service has recently started operating. The bus stop is located in front of the International Arrivals exit (turn left upon exiting), and operates to Vientiane City Center (hotel area) and Central Bus Station/Talat Sao. The fare for a one-way trip is 15,000 kip or around US$2. The Airport Shuttle has a direct service to Lao ITECC-CBS Line, which means that it would be possible to travel directly from the airport to Patuxay, That Luang and ITECC. Click here to see the route map of the shuttle bus

Many hotels offer a pickup service from the airport, or you can take a jumbo or taxi for US$7 (57,000 kip).You can buy a taxi coupon before you leave the airport building for US$7. The journey to the airport should be cheaper, around US$3 by tuk-tuk. From city to airport, tuk-tuk is 30,000 kip (October 2014). Do not agree with 55,000 kip, shown on a price list by some tuk-tuk drivers. You can bargain down to 30,000 kip, or simply walk away to find another tuk-tuk. Always agree with the price before boarding the tuk-tuk.

By train

The railway link across the Mekong finally opened in March 2009, and there are now four shuttle services daily from Nong Khai to Tha Naleng, some 13 km away from Vientiane and reachable by shuttle bus from the Morning Market. The shuttle trains are timed to connect with overnight trains to and from Bangkok, with around 90 minutes buffer time at the Thai side of the border for buying tickets and Immigration. It's thus possible to hop aboard special express #25 at 8 PM in Bangkok, arrive at Nong Khai at 6:30 AM and reach downtown Vientiane around 9. The train has first and second class air-con sleepers, which cost around 1200/800 baht respectively. Check State Railway of Thailand for the the up-to-date time tables and fares, as well as online ticket booking. A Lao visa on arrival is available at Tha Naleng station. However, note that the station (unlike Friendship bridge) is located in the middle of nowhere and songthaew drivers may ask as much as 100 baht/person (even from Thai/Lao people) for a shared ride to Vientiane. A combined shuttle train/minibus ticket to Vientiane is sold at the Nong Khai train station ticket counter for 300 bath/person.

The other option is to get off the train at Nong Khai and cross the border by bus via the Friendship Bridge. The Nong Khai station is just 1.5 km from the bridge, so if you take a tuk-tuk it should cost no more than 30-40 baht for all, after bargaining of course. Outside the station there's an information board listing the official prices to the nearby destinations. Most tuk-tuk drivers will stop at a travel agent just outside the station and try to coerce you to buy both a Lao visa and shuttle bus to Vientiane. Don't listen to them: you can get a visa and shuttle easily at the Lao border.

For those, who already have a Lao visa, or do not need one for a short visit (citizens of ASEAN countries, Russia and a few others), getting off the train in Udon Thani then taking direct cross-border bus to Vientiane bus is a good option. See below for details.

The train journey either way is pleasant if basic, if you have a sleeper. (Less than 800 baht.) You usually don't need air-con as the train isn't hot, though non-air-con often isn't available: few cold-blooded travellers say the air-con is too cold. Pack your own meals, beer, etc. The food on the train is expensive - and beyond awful. There is a 'change racket' operating among the catering staff: being seriously short-changed is the rule, not the exception. You need to note the prices on the menu, have baht as kip or US dollars will result in a big loss on the change & have small denominations: a 1,000 baht note can serve as an excuse for a 9-hour delay in bringing change; even then you will have to go looking for it.

By road

From Thailand

The Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge (Saphan Mittaphap) from Nong Khai, Thailand is the most common means of entry. The bridge cannot be crossed on foot or by bicycle (theoretically; however people have been seen strolling the bridge), but there are frequent 20 baht shuttle buses just past Thai immigration. The price changes depending on the time of day and day of week. You will get a receipt. Bicycles can be carried on buses in the cargo compartment.

Direct bus services to Talat Sao bus terminal from Nong Khai (55 baht), Khon Kaen (185 baht from Khon Kaen Aircon Bus Terminal (Prab-argat) at 07:45 (usually delayed till 08:00) and arrives Vientiane Talat Sao Bus Station around noon. Second bus departs at 15:15), Udon Thani (80 baht).

If you don't already have a Laos visa in your passport, the bus will not wait for you at the Laos immigration point. You will have to take the local green bus 14 near the immigration gates or a tuk tuk (see below).

These direct buses from Thailand are cheap, comfortable, hassle-free and popular, so book ahead or arrive early. Schedules change often, currently the buses start at 08:00 and leave every 2 hours or so, until 18:00.

Alternatively minibuses depart from out front of Central Plaza (Udon Thani) every 30-60 minutes and cost just 50 baht to the Friendship Bridge. To get from the Udon airport to the Friendship Bridge, a 200 baht minibus fare can be purchased in the airport and will drop you off on the Thai side of the bridge.

Visas on arrival are available at the bridge for US$35 or 1500 baht (ie. cheaper to pay in US$). Overtime fee of US$1 may be charged from late afternoon onward and on weekends.

A photo may required. Should it be requested and you forgot your passport photo, they'll photocopy your passport for an extra US$1/40 baht (or do it on the Thai side for just 2 baht).

When you get a visa on arrival, you get the entry stamp at the same time, so you don't have to wait in line afterwards. A 40 baht (or 10,000 kip) "entry fee" is sometimes charged once through. Just walk past the entry fee booth. If no-one stops you, you haven't done anything wrong.

Once through immigration, you can take a jumbo (posted price 250 baht, easy to bargain down to 100 baht or less for immediate departure with only one passenger) or taxi (300 baht) to any destination in the city. Shared jumbos are cheaper. You should be able to negotiate to a good deal less than 50 baht/person if you're prepared to share and possibly wait.

The local bus (usually #14) to Talat Sao (the Morning Market) is the cheapest of all, 8,000 kip or 20 baht, but signage is nonexistent and you may be in for a wait (up to 20 minutes). The bus runs until at least 18:45 or so.

It's about 25 km from the bridge to Vientiane; allow at least 30 minutes.

When arriving via the Friendship Bridge, you might like to visit the Buddha Park sculpture garden before going on to Vientiane, and save yourself a return trip back past the border crossing later. The same local bus (usually #14) that connects Talat Sao (the Morning Market) and the Friendship Bridge checkpoint also continues on to Buddha Park. Ask the driver which way it's going, just in case. You can take the public bus to Buddha Park although the roads are paved, it can get a bit bumpy.

The bridge immigration shuts quite late, around 22:00. (Ambulances can go through at any hour, in an emergency.) But check with the locals if you are unsure. Although note that the Thai clock is very different to the Western one, so using 24 hour time may be a better way to ask.

From Vietnam

A direct bus from Hanoi takes at least 20 hours (despite what the travel agents might say, avg 24 hrs) and should cost about US$15-20. There is a twice a week VIP bus (better seats) and a local bus that departs every day. For the local bus: apparently you're not always certain of a seat and Vietnamese people tend to sit and never get up again until you've arrived.

The journey from Hue is 14-18 hrs and should cost US$20-30. The bus arrives at Southern Terminal where you have to bargain hard with tuk-tuk drivers. The ride to town after midnight is 30,000 kip. There are local buses heading towards town from here that usually stop at the central market priced at about 10,000 kip.

If you arrive before 8 pm, ignore the Tuk-Tuk drivers, walk out the gate, to the right you'll see a row of ATMs, right next to it a "bus shed" with seats. The Tuk-tuks will tell you the bus is cancelled, just left, etc. be patient and wait for the local bus to arrive. A bus to city centre is 3000 kip.

From Cambodia

The bus trip from Phnom Penh to Vientiane costs about US$50 if you go 'VIP': this involves a bed for the night portion of your trip; however unless you have a partner you will share the rather small bed with a random passenger of the same sex. The bed is comfortable, though there have been reports of leaking windows and wet mattresses.

At the Lao-Cambodian border, essentially the same form has to be filled out numerous times (to ensure each official gets his 'fee'). If you can't carry your luggage 500 m from the Cambodian border post to the Lao, you're out of luck: the bus staff will have disappeared by now. The border process is hot, slow and enervating.

Regardless of what the travel agent or busline tells you, the Phnom Penh-Vientiane (or vice-versa) trip usually involves four separate buses, not two. The Phnom Penh-Lao border and Pakse-Vientiane legs are comfortable enough. However in between the border and Pakse in Southern Laos you will be crammed into a minibus or open van, sit on other people's laps, etc, as the vehicle does the rounds of every guesthouse in the region. You will eventually be transferred into another van, and the process repeated. It can take 4-6 hours, and it is seldom clear where you are, where you are going, or who is in charge..

If the busline talks you into putting your luggage on a second bus (because of space problems), it is liable to vanish along the road.

The bus trip from Phnom Penh to Vientiane, or vice-versa, averages 27 hours.

From elsewhere in Laos

Buses to and from destinations in Vientiane Prefecture depart from the Talat Sao bus terminal, just east of the Morning Market. There is an informative schedule and schematic diagram of the bus piers painted on the central building, which is where you can also buy tickets.

The Southern Bus Terminal, used by all buses coming from the south (including VIP), is on Thanon Kaisone Phomvihane, which is the first stretch of the "Route 13 South". It is also called the Dongdok Bus Station. It is 10 km and, perversely, north east of the centre. Shared songthaews are leaving from Talat Sao bus terminal for around 20,000 kip. Hiring a tuk tuk from the center should be around 30-50,000. Public bus number 23 or 29 stops by the entrance of the southern bus station and connects it with the Talat Sao bus terminal (Morning Market) at 3,000 kip (Route #29) or 5,000 kip (Route #08), from where it is a ten minutes walk into the tourist centre.

The Northern Bus Terminal, recently moved out of city centre - about 20-30 minutes ride - is where all buses to the north arrive and depart. From there you can take a green Isuzu bus (Route #08) to the city centre, the driver will ask 5,000 kip when you exit the bus.

Note that if you buy a bus ticket, with quite a margin, in town, it should include the transfer to the respective terminal.

When you get out of the bus, don't forget to check your luggage: the bus staff has a plenty of time to go through your things, and they do.

Restaurants in Vientiane include classy French and European venues, quaint cafes, and evening markets with dozens of food stalls in the city centre. Laos’ capital has a vibrant and diverse culinary scene, meaning that even the most adventurous of appetites can easily be satisfied. 

Take a walk around town and you’ll find everything from swanky establishments presenting dishes resembling fine works of art, to local vendors serving up bowls of noodles by the riverfront – and pretty much everything in between. Check out this guide of where and what to eat in Vientiane for some of the city’s great restaurants. 

#1 - Lao Sausage

There are two main types of pork sausage you can try in Vientiane and they both go well with beer. These sausages are similar to the kind you would find in central Thailand. Sui oua is fatty pork mixed with spices such as galangal and kaffir lime leaf. Sai Krok is the better of the two and it’s worth trying if you like bizarre foods. Sai Krok differs in that this sausage is fermented for a few days, which gives it a sweet and tangy taste. Both sausages go well with Beer Lao. Simply head to a street food vendor and eat it right on the street, or, you can take your food to a beer garden and enjoy it with some alcohol.

#2 - Sticky rice

Sticky rice is a side dish that must accompany almost every dish in Laos, but it’s so good that you could eat it all on its own. This fluffy, moist, glutinous rice is meant to be eaten with your hands. You can even try sticky rice that’s been flavoured with coconut. Khao niao, as it’s known in Laos, can also be toasted and used in dishes like Larb. It’s so good that you will want to eat it with every meal.

#3 - Crickets, grasshoppers and other insects

In poorer areas of Southeast Asia, insects are a common food staple. In Vientiane, you can try a number of insects that are caught fresh and quickly fried with kaffir lime leaf. They taste much better than what you get in touristy spots in Bangkok, like the Khao San Road. These are a nice, crunchy snack to eat while drinking beer and watching the sunset on the Mekong River. Don’t be squeamish, give them a try.

#4 - Mekong catfish

There are plenty of delicious fish to be caught in the Mekong River and one of the most popular is catfish. These fish taste very good grilled and they have a strong, earthy flavour. You can get one of these fish grilled on a skewer on just about every corner. Empty lots in town are filled with makeshift markets, where locals grill these fish on an open flame. It’s a filling meal that will cost you practically nothing.

#5 - Khai Look

You might know this dish by its Filipino name of balut, but fetal duck or chicken egg is actually eaten in pretty much all of Southeast Asia. In Laos, it’s called Khai Look, and it’s served with some salt and mint. This fetal egg contains a nearly-developed embryo inside. You simply have to crack open the shell, slurp up the juices and dip it in some salt or sauce. The taste has a very strong poultry flavour.

#6 - Khao piak

If Vietnam has pho and Japan has ramen, then Laos has khao piak. This rice noodle soup is typically made with a chicken broth and you can have many added ingredients as toppings, such as crispy pork, cubed pork blood and, of course, chopped green onion. It’s a refreshing way to start your day when you are travelling through Laos. Khao piak or rice porridge, are typical breakfasts in Laos.

#7 - Larb

Larb is a salad that is popular in both Laos and Thailand. But, if you are a vegetarian, then this is definitely not the salad for you. This is a meat salad that is made with toasted sticky rice, mint, fish sauce, shallots, lime and Thai chillies. Sometimes, it also contains blood or a very strong fermented fish sauce called padaek. In Vientiane, you can try larb made with a number of different meats, such as pork or duck.

#8 - Grilled frog

The Mekong River is filled with many delicious creatures and they aren’t all fish. Frogs are also a very popular food that is caught in this life-giving river. Mekong frogs are grilled on a skewer whole and when you take a bite, you really get a strong, earthy flavour. This grilled snack requires at least a few beers to wash down its strong taste, but if you are a more adventurous eater, you should definitely give this one a try. You can get it from just about any street food vendor in Vientiane.

#9 - Seen savanh

If you are a fan of beef jerky, then you really need to try the Laotian version. Seen savanh are marinated strips of beef that have been left to dry in the sun. This jerky is covered in sesame seeds and has a very sweet flavour. This is another great snack for meat lovers to enjoy while sipping on a Beer Lao.

Though the biggest city of Laos, this sleepy capital is more liveable and navigable than other Southeast Asian cities. Beautiful French-influenced architecture, Buddhist temples galore and fabulous natural beauty make Vientiane a must-see stop on any tour of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic.

Patuxai

Resembling Paris’ Arc de Triomphe, Patuxai or Victory Gate was erected on Lang Xang Avenue opposite the presidential palace. Surrounded by a park, construction finished in 1968 and now visitors can pay a nominal entry fee and climb to the top for a first rate view of Vientiane.

Pha That Luang

The great golden stupa is a national symbol of Laos both of Buddhism and national sovereignty. Legend has it that part of Buddha’s breast bone is buried here. Originally dating back to 300 CE, the most recent restoration was completed in the 1930s. In November visitors can take part in the three-day Boun That Luang Festival, one of the biggest in Vientiane.

Ho Phra Keo

Ho Phra Keo is a former temple turned into a museum to house Buddhist relics. It was originally built in the 1560s to house the Emerald Buddha where it stayed for over 200 years. The Buddha was taken to Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok when the Siamese sacked Vientiane in 1779, but Ho Phra Keo still stands.

Wat Si Muang

The city temple, Wat Si Muang is one of the most beautiful temples in Vientiane. A popular story tells of a pregnant woman who sacrificed herself to calm the angry spirits by jumping into the hole where the massive city pillar was to be placed. Many people pray for good luck here.

Wat Si Saket

Wat Si Saket is located across from Ho Phra Keo and is home to a collection of more than 2,000 Buddha sculptures displayed in a covered walkway around the temple. There is also a museum on the grounds and many fruit trees for visitors to meander through and enjoy.

Night Market

The Night Market or Chinese Market opens daily along the riverfront as the sun goes down over the Mekong and stays open until 9:30pm. Merchants sell all manner of souvenirs and food from carts and red-roofed tents. Construction has begun on a more permanent market down at water level that is scheduled to open in 2018.

Buddha Park

Buddha Park, also known as Xieng Khuan is located about 16 miles (26 km) outside of Vientiane Capital. The riverside park contains more than 200 Buddhist and Hindu concrete statues. The statues were built in 1958 by Luang Phu Bounleua Soulilat, who fled Laos in 1975 when the Communist party took over the government.

COPE Visitor Centre

Located on Kouvieng Road just down from the morning market, the COPE Visitor Center shows the dark history of the Lao Civil War and the 260 million bombs that were dropped on Laos from 1964-1973. COPE provides artificial limbs and rehabilitation for people, many of them children, who have lost limbs due to UXOs, or unexploded ordinances.

The Mekong Riverfront

Vientiane, like the Lao cities of Thakhek, Savannakhet and Pakse, lies on the banks of the Mekong River. Translated to Mother Water, this river forms much of the border between Laos and Thailand. The riverfront park and bike path offer a perfect respite to relax and people watch.

Lao Disabled Women’s Development Center

Tours at the Lao Disabled Women’s Development Centre are sure to bring a smile to any visitor’s face. Open Monday to Friday, the Centre offers tour options ranging from a Bacci ceremony, to handicrafts workshops and lunch in the garden.

That Dam

That Dam means Black Stupa and this monument is said to house a seven-headed Naga serpent who protects the citizens of Vientiane. Located on Chantha Khoumane road, the brick stupa was once covered in gold, but according to legend, the Siamese took it when they invaded Vientiane in the 1820s.

Walking Street

Tucked away behind the newly constructed Vientiane New World shopping center is a maze of street vendors and pop-up bars serving food and drink after dark. A skating rink rents rollerblades and speakers pump out American and Thai pop music. Some of the vendors have outdoor seating areas and others offer fare on a stick to take away.

Tad Moun Waterfall

Take a long bicycle ride or hire a tuk-tuk out to Tad Moun Waterfall in Vientiane Province. The falls themselves are more akin to mild rapids, but the day can be enjoyably spent hiking through the jungle, or splashing in the water. Thatch huts are available to rent for a picnic lunch and vendors sell food, ice cream and Beer Lao.

Nam Ngum Reservoir

Nam Ngum means beautiful water and the reservoir created by the dam of the same name certainly fits the bill. Hydropower is one Laos’ top exports and Laos’ largest lake has the added bonus of attracting tourists for boat rides, fishing and swimming. Visit the dam itself, the salt factory or the nearby casino on your way to or from Vientiane Capital.

Click here to get more information about Nam Ngum Reservoir

Kaysone Phomvihane Memorial Museum

The Kaysone Phomvilhane Memorial Museum pays tribute to the leader of the communist revolution and former President of Lao PDR. Two floors contain information and artifacts about Lao revolutionary history and Kaysone’s life. Outside the museum are two statues, one of the president himself and the other of socialist workers surrounding the Lao flag.

Vientiane has a wide selection of accommodation that can satisfy any budget you may expect. Check out the Sonasia Holiday's collection below and find the most suitable one for your journey.

Luxury Hotels

Crowne Plaza Vientiane

The quality service, stylish big rooms, and a fancy design are the things that make Crown Plaza Vientiane one of the very best 5-star hotels in Vientiane Laos.

They offer everything that you’d expect from a 5-star hotel in SE Asia – a well-equipped gym, a relaxing spa, outdoor infinity pool, top quality restaurant with an international and local menu.

And all of this at the way lower prices you’d find anywhere in the world for a luxury hotel.

Location: Samsenthai Road, Vientiane City Center, Vientiane, Laos, 01000

Settha Palace Hotel

This Vientiane luxury hotel is another gem located right in the central part of the city. This hotel has a historical charm and reminds a bit of a topical country house of an old-time French aristocracy.

The rooms are tastefully decorated Italian marble floors and crafted rosewood furniture.

If you’re particularly looking for Vientiane hotels with pool, this is the right choice. Here you’ll find an outdoor pool with a beautiful landscape surrounding it, a fitness room, a delicious breakfast, and a top quality service and comfort.

And make sure to try out the French restaurant for an excellent meal. Try out the best of French influence in Laos.

Location: 6 Pang Kham Street, Vientiane City Center, Vientiane, Laos, PO Box 1816

Green Park Boutique Hotel

Green Park Boutique hotel is the kind of place that offers a high-class service and location right in the middle of the business district of the city, yet seems just like the coziest guesthouse Vientiane can offer you.
It has a classic Lao style architecture and offers a beautiful outdoor pool with an attached plunge pool, a spa, fitness center and spacious rooms with private balconies.

And once you feel like you want to go explore the city the hotel shuttle will be waiting for you to take you downtown and back.

Location: 12 Khouvieng Road, P.O. Box 9698, Sisattanak, Vientiane, Laos, 9698

Deluxe Hotels

Ansara Hotel

This charming property resides on a quiet lane right in the center of the historical capital of Vientiane, providing easy access to the city’s most popular sights and attractions. The hotel is within close distance to numerous clubs, restaurants, and bars, ensuring a vibrant nightlife for visitors. The hotel features a gentle blend of Lao traditional and Asian contemporary decor. The hand-woven, silk headboards and cushions, wooden furnishing, rosewood parquet floor, and striking black and white photographs of Lao’s fascinating culture and sceneries, all contribute to the exquisite elegance found in each guestroom. The hotel is also close to a variety of restaurants where delicious local cuisines are served. Ansara Hotel, with its comprehensive business facilities, is ideally suited to the corporate travelers, but also caters for families who are looking for quality accommodation in Vientiane.

Location: Quai Fa Ngum, Ban Vat Chan, Hom 5, Muang Chanthabouly, Near Riverfront, Vientiane, Laos, 1000

Laos Poet Hotel

Designed for both business and leisure travel, Lao Poet Hotel is ideally situated in Vientiane City Center, one of the city's most popular locales. Only 3 Km away, this 4-star property can be easily accessed from the airport. With its convenient location, the property offers easy access to the city's must-see destinations.

The facilities and services provided by Lao Poet Hotel ensure a pleasant stay for guests. While lodging at this wonderful property, guests can enjoy free Wi-Fi in all rooms, 24-hour security, daily housekeeping, private check in/check out, taxi service.

The ambiance of Lao Poet Hotel is reflected in every guestroom. closet, complimentary tea, towels, complimentary instant coffee, flat screen television are just some of the facilities that can be found throughout the property. The property's sauna are ideal places to relax and unwind after a busy day. 

Location: Hengbounoy, Haysoke Village, Chanthabouly District, Vientiane Capital Lao PDR, Vientiane City Center, Vientiane, Laos, 10111

Salana Boutique Hotel

Expect very sophisticated, elegant yet modern design in the rooms with classic dark wood furnishings and flooring.

It’s a well-balanced concept between the past and the future in terms of style. Rooms are spacious, with lots of natural light and balcony.

There’s a kitchenette area in a few rooms. SPA and a great restaurant are available.

The hotel is located nearby the Mekong river, night market and lots of other notable sightseeing spots in Vientiane. Honestly, it’s going to be hard to beat this hotel as it’s such a steal for the price you’ll pay.

Location: Chao Anou Road, 112 Vat Chan Village, Chanthabouly District, Near Riverfront, Vientiane, Laos, 85621

Mid-range Hotels

Xaysomboun Boutique Hotel and Spa

This is one of the most romantic hotels in Vientiane. It’s located a short walk away from the morning market and a range of other Vientiane attractions.

The rooms at Xaysomboun Boutique Hotel and Spa are decorated in a French-colonial style, giving you a bit of the glimpse on a French influence on Laos.

You can have a relaxing Spa day and cool off from the hot sun by the massive outdoor pool with a view over the city.

They offer double, twin and family rooms, being the perfect Vientiane accommodation for any kinds of travelers – solo travelers, couples, friends or families.

Location: 01 Khounbulum Road, Sisaket Village, Chanthabuly District, Vientiane 1000, Vientiane City Center, Vientiane, Laos, 10

Aaron Hotel

Conveniently located in Vientiane, Aaron Vientiane Hotel is a great base from which to explore this vibrant city. The city center is merely 100 miles away, and the airport can be reached within 15 minutes. With its convenient location, the property offers easy access to the city's must-see destinations.

Aaron Vientiane Hotel offers impeccable service and all the essential amenities to invigorate the weary traveler. A selection of top-class facilities such as free Wi-Fi in all rooms, 24-hour security, daily housekeeping, fireplace, postal service can be enjoyed here.

The property features 59 beautifully appointed guestrooms, many of which include flat screen television, additional bathroom, additional toilet, carpeting, cleaning products. Recreational facilities available at the property include fitness center. 

Location: Road Rue Francois Ngin, Vientiane, Laos

S-park Design Hotel

If what you're looking for is a conveniently located hotel in Vientiane, look no further than S Park Design Hotel. The hotel is not too far from the city center: just 1 km away, and it normally takes about 5 minutes to reach the airport. With its convenient location, the hotel offers easy access to the city's must-see destinations.

The hotel provides the best in services and amenities. The hotel provides free Wi-Fi in all rooms, 24-hour security, taxi service, 24-hour front desk, luggage storage to ensure our guests the greatest comfort.

Experience high quality room facilities during your stay here. Some rooms include television LCD/plasma screen, internet access – wireless, internet access – wireless (complimentary), non smoking rooms, air conditioning, provided to help guests recharge after a long day. You will be entertained by top-class recreational facilities such as fitness center, outdoor pool. With an ideal location and facilities to match, S Park Design Hotel hits the spot in many ways.

Location: 40 Dongnasok Road, Ban Nakham, Sikhottabong District, Vientiane, Laos, 1000

Budget Hotels

Vientiane Garden Villa Hotel

Conveniently located in Vientiane, Vientiane Garden Boutique Hotel is a great base from which to explore this vibrant city. From here, guests can make the most of all that the lively city has to offer. With its convenient location, the property offers easy access to the city's must-see destinations.

To name a few of the property's facilities, there are free Wi-Fi in all rooms, 24-hour room service, 24-hour security, daily housekeeping, taxi service.

The ambiance of Vientiane Garden Boutique Hotel is reflected in every guestroom. flat screen television, clothes rack, complimentary instant coffee, complimentary tea, free welcome drink are just some of the facilities that can be found throughout the property. The property's recreational facilities, which include outdoor pool, garden are designed for escape and relaxation. 

Location: 049 Sihom Road, Vientiane City Center, Vientiane, Laos, 11010

Sengtawan Riverside Hotel

Fronting the famous Mekong River, this hotel commands breathtaking views and a refreshing ambience from the river. Just 10 minutes away from the city center, international airport, commercial district, and popular tourist attractions, Seng Tawan Riverside Hotel features a central location convenient for all types of guests.

This riverside property boasts charming guestrooms with traditional Lao interior designs. The warm and cozy rooms have modern facilities like satellite TV, a hair dryer, coffee/tea-making facilities, and high-speed internet access. Start the day off with a refreshing breeze from the river and watch the sun rise from the restaurant. 

Location: Unit 3, Ban Sithan Neua, Sikhottabong District, Riverfront, Vientiane, Laos

TOUR PACKAGES INCLUDING "Vientiane"

Classic Laos Biking Tour Classic Laos Biking Tour

- Laos -

Classic Laos Biking Tour
Cycling & Biking / 10 days / fr. $1,320

Escape the bustling city of Luang Prabang and discover the beautiful countryside of Vang Vieng. Bike uphill on some challenging roads and take in the stunning scenery of Kiu Kacham and Ban Keun. &n... More

Mekong River Tour: 28-Day Following the Mighty Mother River Mekong River Tour: 28-Day Following the Mighty Mother River

- Asia -

Mekong River Tour: 28-Day Following the Mighty Mother River
Cruise / 28 days / fr. $4,350

See why the Mekong River is known as Asia’s lifeblood with this epic adventure. Trace the mighty River as it meanders through big cities and countryside towns through five countries. From the... More

Vientiane & Central Laos Adventure Vientiane & Central Laos Adventure

- Laos -

Vientiane & Central Laos Adventure
Unseen / 11 days / fr. $1,540

11-day Vientiane & Central Laos Adventure brings you into some most mysterious parts of Laos. The journey from river to river, from mountain to mountain. The journey of culture experience, natu... More

Classic Laos Tour Classic Laos Tour

- Laos -

Classic Laos Tour
Must-see / 5 days / fr. $550

Luang Prabang and Vientiane are the must-see cities of Laos, which are included in this 5-day Classic Laos Tour. The highlights range from the charming town of Luang Prabang, and Vientiane to the m... More

Laos Mysteries Revealed Laos Mysteries Revealed

- Laos -

Laos Mysteries Revealed
Must-see / 9 days / fr. $1,080

Being one of the most laid-back country, there are plenty of spots in Laos remain as the mystery to the world. Within this 9-day Laos package tour, we will visit some of them including the laid-bac... More

Laos on a Glance Laos on a Glance

- Laos -

Laos on a Glance
Must-see / 10 days / fr. $1,200

This 10-day Laos on a Glance tour is the one of our must-see tour collection. The highlights include the laidback capital city of Vientiane, the exciting Vang Vieng, the ancient town of Luang Praba... More

Laos Nature & Culture Laos Nature & Culture

- Laos -

Laos Nature & Culture
Must-see / 7 days / fr. $770

Being one of the most laid-back country, there are plenty of spots in Laos remain as the mystery to the world. Within this 7-day Laos Nature & Culture, we will visit some of them including the... More

Laos Revealed Laos Revealed

- Laos -

Laos Revealed
Family Vacation / 9 days / fr. $1,800

Being one of the most laid-back country, Laos still can keep most of its nature untouched, which is the ideal for the adventure into the nature. Within this 9-day Laos Revealed, we have chance to e... More

Northern Laos Exploration Northern Laos Exploration

- Laos -

Northern Laos Exploration
Luxury Holiday / 15 days / fr. $4,800

Lao is famous for its beautiful green virgin nature, which attracts nature lovers all over the world to come, and explore. 15-day Northern Laos Exploration tour brings you to the most remote areas... More

Laos Endless Romance Laos Endless Romance

- Laos -

Laos Endless Romance
Honeymoon Vacation / 21 days / fr. $4,515

Laos Endless Romance is part of our Laos Honeymoon tour collection. The journey throughout Laos from the North to the South, from river to river, from mountain to mountain. The journey of culture e... More

Impression on Laos Impression on Laos

- Laos -

Impression on Laos
Must-see / 18 days / fr. $1,980

18-day Impression on Laos tour is the one of our Laos Must-see tour collection. The journey throughout Laos from the North to the South, from border to border, from river to river, from mountain to... More

Laos Grand Tour Laos Grand Tour

- Laos -

Laos Grand Tour
Family Vacation / 28 days / fr. $3,360

Laos Grand Tour is part of our Laos Family tour collection. The journey throughout Laos from the North to the South, from river to river, from mountain to mountain. The journey of culture experienc... More

Northern Laos Adventure Northern Laos Adventure

- Laos -

Northern Laos Adventure
Unseen / 18 days / fr. $2,340

Lao is famous for its beautiful green virgin nature, which attracts nature lovers all over the world to come, and explore. 18-day Northern Lao Adventure tour brings you to the most remote areas of... More

Cycle Vientiane to Luang Prabang Cycle Vientiane to Luang Prabang

- Laos -

Cycle Vientiane to Luang Prabang
Cycling & Biking / 9 days / fr. $1,080

Start in Vientiane and end in Luang Prabang! With the Bicycle tour Cycle Vientiane to Luang Prabang - 9 Days, you have a 9 days tour package taking you through Vientiane, Laos and 4 other destinati... More

Cycling Northern Laos Cycling Northern Laos

- Laos -

Cycling Northern Laos
Cycling & Biking / 14 days / fr. $1,820

This tour connects two most visited cities in Laos through an array of mountain landscapes. Northern Laos is home to mountains covered with lush tropical forests, river valleys and hill-tribe cultu... More

Cycling Northern & Southern Laos Cycling Northern & Southern Laos

- Laos -

Cycling Northern & Southern Laos
Cycling & Biking / 19 days / fr. $2,280

This tour connects northern & southern of Laos. Northern Laos is home to mountains covered with lush tropical forests, river valleys and hill-tribe cultures. The rolling terrain combined with g... More

Amazing Laos Amazing Laos

- Laos -

Amazing Laos
Luxury Holiday / 18 days / fr. $4,500

Lao is famous for its beautiful green virgin nature, which attracts nature lovers all over the world to come, and explore. Enter Laos through a rural bordertown and travel the country to meet some... More

Pandaw Cruise on Mekong River Pandaw Cruise on Mekong River

- Laos -

Pandaw Cruise on Mekong River
Cruise / 11 days / fr. $5,280

Experience the life of local village, the untouched nature, and the peaceful cruise along the Mekong River. The combination of both nature escapes and culture experience with just 11-day Pandaw Cru... More

OTHER PLACES TO VISIT IN Laos
Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang

The ancient capital of Lane Xang Kingdom

Vang Vieng
Vang Vieng

4000 Islands
4000 Islands

Phonsavan
Phonsavan

Nong Khiaw
Nong Khiaw

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Laos PLANS BY TRAVEL THEME
Family Vacation
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The combination of fun and educational activities

Cycling & Biking
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Explore every corners of the destination on two wheels

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Check out all the must-see places and things to do & see

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Unique experience combined with top-notch services

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Easy excursions combined with unique experience making the long-lasting romantic memories

Trek & Hike
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Explore the least visited destinations and unknown experience on foot

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The combination of some must-see experience and the cruise tour along the mighty rivers

Unseen
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Reveal off-the-beatentrack routes, least explored destinations, and unknown tribe groups

Wellness & Leisure
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Easy excursion combined with week-long beach break

Laos PLANS BY TIME FRAME
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Laos BLOG ARTICLES

Though opened to tourism since the last 20 years, Laos still has many hidden places or gems that are waiting for the curious explorers. 

Xe Champhone Loop is one of the places.

Early September 2022, we made an Educ tour here, under the operation of Tetraktys Organization to explore the loop, which was an effort to promote the area to the international tourists.

We were impressed with what we saw and learnt here. The area is full of interesting nature spots, traditional culture, and hospitable hosts.

Below is everything you need to know about the area.

Stay tuned!

...more

The romance of train travel is alive and well in Laos. The recently-completed high-speed railway that stretches from Vientiane, through Laos, and into southern China is operating ‘full steam’ ahead. 

...more

Luang Prabang will celebrate the boat racing festival (Boun Souang Heua) in Namkhan River during Buddhist Lent Period, on August 26th, 2022.

A notice issued by Luang Prabang provincial office says that Luang Prabang will arrange Boun Hor Khaopadapdin, an annual festival held to feed spirits with home-made parcels of food, and the boat racing activities along Namkhan River. 

The province intends to promote the traditional festival and practices in hopes of attracting more domestic and foreign tourists, generating revenue for locals.

Traditional racing boats are made of a single tree and can accommodate up to fifty rowers.

The boats are considered sacred, are cleaned, and are given offerings which are believed to bring victory to the team.

In the downtown heart of Luang Prabang, there will also be gatherings and markets.

The festival will be held on August 26th, 2022, the same day with Boun Khao Padapdine.

Covid-19 put a stop to traditional customs and festivals for almost three years, but now that the measurements have been relaxed, tourist destinations in Laos expect to recommence festivities and offer hope for travelers.

...more

How long to spend in Laos may seem like a ridiculous question to address, but if you have plenty of time and aren’t sure how much to dedicate, this blog will definitely help you out. 

How long can you stay in Laos? 

Well, as long as you like! From 7 days to a month, there are various ways you can travel across Laos and uncover its secrets. Advising an ideal trip length for Laos is a bit of a complex challenge, as it depends on several factors such as the places you wish to visit, the activities you plan to join, or if you want to combine Laos with its neighbor countries. 

Stay tuned! We are going to sort all these things out including the step-by-step guide to create the best itinerary in Laos.

...more

The Rocket Festival (Boun Bang Fai) is a merit-making ceremony traditionally practiced by ethnic Lao people near the beginning of the wet season in numerous villages and municipalities, in the regions of Northeastern Thailand and Laos. Celebrations typically include preliminary music and dance performances, competitive processions of floats, dancers and musicians on the second day, and culminating on the third day in competitive firings of home-made rockets. Local participants and sponsors use the occasion to enhance their social prestige, as is customary in traditional Buddhist folk festivals throughout Southeast Asia.

The festival in Thailand also includes special programs and specific local patterns like Bung Fai (Parade dance) and a Beautiful Bung Fai float such as Yasothon the third weekend of May, and continues Suwannaphum District, Roi Et on the first weekend of June, Phanom Phrai District Roi Et during the full moon of the seventh month in Lunar year's calendar each year. The Bung Fai festival is not only found in Isan or Northeasthern Thailand and North Thailand and Laos, but also in Amphoe Sukhirin, Narathiwat.

...more

A report from Andy Jarosz from BBC Travel about his day trekking to the remote 100 waterfalls in Nong Khiaw 10 years ago (in 2012). The experience that you cannot miss when visiting the area. Check out the details as below so that you have some ideas of what to expect.

In the last four years, the rural village of Nong Khiaw has seen a steady stream of adventure travellers who want to experience the 10km trek before it disappears.

Strictly speaking, the name of the 100 Waterfalls Trek in northern Laos is misleading, since it is impossible to say how many waterfalls tumble through the thick jungle along the steady 10km ascent, with each one tumbling immediately into the next.

...more
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A land of staggering natural beauty and cultural complexities, of dynamic megacities and hill-tribe villages, Vietnam is both exotic and compelling.
Thailand
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Friendly and food-obsessed, hedonistic and historic, cultured and curious, Thailand tempts visitors with a smile as golden as the country's glittering temples and tropical beaches.
Cambodia
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There's a magic about this charming yet confounding kingdom that casts a spell on visitors. In Cambodia, ancient and modern worlds collide to create an authentic adventure.
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It's a new era for this extraordinary and complex land, where the landscape is scattered with gilded pagodas and the traditional ways of Asia endure.
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