Vientiane: Laos Capital
Life in Vientiane, the Laos Capital, runs calm and quietly!
I stopped in Vientiane on my way to Malaysia after a tour around Cambodia and Southern Laos in December last year. I arrived in the big Laos capital after spending a few days in the beautiful area of the 4 thousand Islands in the Southern part of the country, where I chilled and relaxed while enjoying its beautiful outdoors!
Vientiane lays on the big, beautiful, and quite Mekong river, as quite as the life of the city itself. You can spend plenty of time walking along the Mekong, sipping a drink, stopping for a cafe in one of the many bars and restaurants facing the riverside, having an ice-cream, and still not getting tired of it! As you can imagine, due to its position, Vientiane is a very hot city during the day, which makes this kind of refreshments even more enjoyable!
The best moment to enjoy the Mekong river is the sunset: find a nice spot along the riverside, possibly further from the chaos of the city center, and enjoy the best moment of the day! The sun sets down just in front of the river, such a romantic view!
Apart from a stroll along the Mekong, you might be asking, what else to do in Vientiane? On the bank of the Mekong stands the majestic Presidential Palace.The building is closed to the public, but it is used mainly for government ceremonies. Although, it is worthy to stop by and admire it from the outside: It is an impressive example of elegant French Beaux-Arts architecture! Next to the Palace, stands the Haw Pha Kaew, which I suggest to visit if you are interested in knowing more about Lao culture and manufactures: once a Buddhist temple, the Palace now is a Museum of Art and Antiquities. If you have more interest in the history of the city and the country, then head to the Lao National Museum, walking distance from the river.
One of the landmarks of Vientiane is the stunning Patuxay Monument (Victory Gate): a war monument in the center of the city, dedicated to the fighters for independence from France. Don’t miss the view from the top of its towers! You can enjoy a stunning sight of the Laos Capital: a great place to take beautiful pics!
Another unmissable landmark of the city is the Nam Phou Fountain, now the centre of the most touristic part of the center of the Laos Capital: most of the cafes, bars, restaurants of the city are around the square. If you are looking for Western food during the day, head to the Scandinavian Bakery for pastries: delicious and energetic! Its croissants will keep you going all day long!
If you have time, take a stroll around Vientiane, far from the touristic area, off the beaten paths. You will discover a beautiful city, full of charm, inherited by its colonial past, but looking to a bright future. A city that is reinventing itself, working in progress!
I was also surprised to find a lively gay bar, just in front of the river, CCC Bar. I spent a great Saturday night mingling with the locals and the tourists on its nice utdoor terrace. It was a lot of fun!
What do you think of the Laos Capital? Interested in visiting, together with a trip along the Mekong river maybe? Just drop me a line and I can be your personal concierge!
Date of last visit: December 2016