Vientiane is the capital city of Laos, and for many it’s their point of arrival or departure. For us it was the last stop before flying back to the Netherlands. We had a little over 24 hours in Vientiane and I’d say that that’s all you need. There aren’t that many things to see in Vientiane, although there are quite a few nice restaurants. So foodies won’t be bored.
On this page I’m sharing the top sights and activities in Vientiane, as well as some nice food spots.
Top Sights Vientiane
Pha That Luang
The highlight of Vientiane is, without a doubt, Pha That Luang. This temple complex has two absolutely stunning temples. One is very colorful with bright colored murals all over the walls and ceiling.
And the main draw is the very photogenic golden temple. You’ll need to pay a small entrance fee (10,000 Kip (1€)) and there are cloths for if you’re wearing shorts.
Pha That Luang is located North-East of the city center. It’s most convenient to go by tuc-tuc. Your driver can wait for you and also bring you back to the city center.
Patuxay Monument is a Lao version of the Arc d’Triomph in Paris. You can visit the top for only 3,000 Kip (0,30€). But the prettiest pictures of the arch can be taken from the ground.
Buddha Park is a pleasant park with many Buddha statues. It’s located 25 km South-East of Vientiane. I liked visiting it as I felt like I had seen all I wanted to see in Vientiane itself. But be aware that a ride there by tuc-tuc will take you 45-60 minutes. You can arrange a return price and he’ll wait for you at the entrance. The drivers usually start at 400,000 Kip, but you can negotiate to 200,000 Kip (20€).
Food spots in Vientiane
The Greenhouse is a paradise for vegetarian, vegan and healthy food lovers. There are 5 different combo’s on the menu and you can choose whether you want it in a wrap, as a salad, on a baguette or in a grain bowl.
Along the Mekong river, at Quai Fa Ngum street, all kinds of riverside terraces pop up in the evening. Most of them offer the same extensive menu, so you can just sit down at the one that appeals to you. They all have a big grill on which they grill your choice of fish or meat after you’ve ordered. For vegetarians there isn’t a lot of choice, but you can always go for noodles with vegetables.
The Naga Boat
Close to the riverside restaurants, but another flight of stairs closer to the water is Naga Boat. The restaurant that is actually on a boat. Although it is on dry land, it’s still a very charming place for (after) sunset drinks or dinner.
Cafe Croissant d’Or
If one person wants Lao food and the other is craving for Western style dishes; Croissant d’Or is the perfect fit. You can go for Asian dishes like Pad Thai, fried rice or grilled chicken. Or go for Western dishes like Croque Monsieur, a baguette or a continental breakfast.
Cafe Ango is open for lunch from 11:30 to 2:30pm and for dinner from 6-9pm. Sit down on one of the cushions and taste some of their home-made dishes. The menu is inspired by Japan.
League of Brewers
League of Brewers has two faces; during the day it’s a coffee house and at night it’s a bar. If you go for a coffee during the day, you should order a cake with it too (they’re real delicious). And I also love the interior at League of Brewers, with its black and white tiles and blue velvet chairs.
During our stay in Vientiane we stayed at Hotel Aaron. The rooms were very spacious, it’s centrally located (around the corner from where the mini-van drops you off) and it has a swimming pool on the roof.
Click here to book your room at Hotel Aaron in Vientiane.
Just a few hours by mini bus from Vientiane you can find Vang Vieng, make sure to visit it as well, as it’s a great town.