Last updated on May 27, 2023

Posted on

Vientiane – the charming capital of Laos – is a hidden treasure just waiting to be discovered. Nestled along the mighty Mekong River, it offers an idyllic and laid-back atmosphere. Here, you can explore fascinating Lao history and culture with a mix of old French colonial architecture.

Take a stroll around Wat Si Saket to marvel at ancient temples or pay a visit to Pha That Luang – a stunning golden stupa regarded as the national symbol of Laos. Wherever you go in this city, time seems to move slower here giving you all the more reason to soak up every moment of your time here!

The food in Laos is amazing and should not be missed! Sample the local flavors while you’re there – try larb or sticky rice. For a truly unique experience, check out the night market for some delicious dishes and souvenirs.

If you’re looking for something unique, then Vientiane is definitely the place to be! From the enchanting Buddha Park with its over 200 statues of Buddhist and Hindu deities to the COPE Visitor Centre highlighting unexploded bombs in Laos, this city is sure to leave you with lasting memories.

If you’re looking for an unforgettable adventure, Vientiane is the perfect destination. This beautiful city in Southeast Asia has something to offer everyone – from cultural attractions to stunning natural scenery.

Discover Vientiane’s Timeless Treasures

Pha That Luang

Pha That Luang is a gold-covered large Buddhist stupa in the center of Vientiane, Laos. It is generally regarded as the most important national monument in Laos and a national symbol

Pha That Luang, the iconic symbol of Laos, is a spectacular golden stupa that will leave you impressed. Built in the 3rd century, this masterpiece has seen its fair share of tumultuous times but still stands proudly today as a testament to the resilience of the Lao people.

Now, when you visit Pha That Luang, you’ll be struck by its grandeur and spiritual atmosphere. The locals regard it as the most sacred monument in the country, and it’s a place where folks come together to celebrate their culture and traditions. Trust me, you’ll be in awe of the beauty and serenity that Pha That Luang has to offer.


Patuxai Gate in the Thannon Lanxing area of Vientiane, Laos

You can’t visit Vientiane without seeing Patuxai, the iconic “Arc de Triomphe of Laos”. This stunning monument stands tall in the city center, proudly symbolizing the country’s independence and modern history. As you make your way up the steps of Patuxai, take a moment to appreciate its intricate carvings – they tell a story about the rich culture of Laos! Once at the top, get ready to admire panoramic views of Vientiane from this majestic building. The lush gardens surrounding it are also worth exploring for a peaceful respite from all that sightseeing. Whether or not you have an interest in history, admiring Patuxai is sure to be one of your highlights during a trip to Vientiane.

Buddha Park

Vientiane Laos, statues at Buddha Park Xieng Khuan

Last but certainly not least, the mystical Buddha Park! Also known as Xieng Khuan, this quirky and enchanting place is home to a myriad of statues depicting Buddha and Hindu deities. Just a short ride from Vientiane, it’s a must-visit spot for anyone looking for something a little different.

Buddha Park is like stepping into another world – a world where art, spirituality, and nature come together. You’ll be captivated by the massive reclining Buddha, as well as the many other fascinating sculptures spread throughout the park. Be sure to keep an eye out for the three-level structure shaped like a giant pumpkin – it’s a fun and unusual spot to snap some unforgettable photos!

Try the Flavors of Vientiane

Delight in Lao Cuisine

You can’t visit Vientiane without diving into the world of Lao cuisine! One of the highlights of any trip to this charming city is exploring the mouthwatering local dishes. From street food vendors to elegant restaurants, Vientiane offers a culinary adventure that’s sure to tantalize your taste buds. Be sure to try traditional dishes like larb, a spicy minced meat salad, or the iconic sticky rice. And don’t forget to wash it all down with a refreshing Beerlao, the country’s beloved national beer!

Explore the Night Market

The vibrant night market in Vientiane with Mekong river in the background
The vibrant night market in Vientiane with Mekong river in the background © StreetVJ /

When the sun goes down, the vibrant night market along the Mekong River comes to life. This bustling market is a fantastic spot to experience local culture, flavors, and handicrafts. Stroll through the rows of colorful stalls, and you’ll find everything from handmade clothing and traditional textiles to street food and souvenirs. It’s a great place to mingle with locals and fellow travelers, practice your bargaining skills, and pick up some unique mementos of your time in Vientiane.

French Colonial Architecture

If you’re looking for a unique blend of cultures, Vientiane is your place! With its charming French colonial architecture, tree-lined boulevards and grand villas, the city will have your eyes feasting on the beauty. You’ll love strolling through the streets to admire the Lao and French architectural styles – don’t forget to bring your camera! If you’re lucky enough, you may even find a patisserie along the way. It’s no wonder why Vientiane stands out amongst other Southeast Asian capitals.

Travel to Vientiane

Bangkok to Vientiane

Bangkok Thailand, night city skyline at Chao Phraya River with Icon Siam in background

Vientiane, the relaxed capital of Laos, is a charming city that offers a refreshing change of pace compared to bustling Bangkok – 646 kilometers (404 miles) away. Travelling between these two destinations couldn’t be easier with plenty of convenient transport options available; making it the perfect opportunity for tourists to explore both cities!⁠⁠

For those who value speed and convenience, flying is the quickest option, with several airlines offering flights from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang Airports. Alternatively, you could take the scenic route and travel by train, crossing the Friendship Bridge that connects Thailand and Laos. This journey offers the opportunity to enjoy the picturesque landscape while also getting a good night’s sleep on the overnight sleeper train. Another option is to take the direct bus from Bangkok to Vientiane, which departs from Morchit Bus Terminal and offers a convenient overnight trip. Whichever mode of transport you choose, make sure to have your passport-sized photos ready for obtaining a tourist visa upon arrival in Laos. To learn more about each travel option, read our full guid: Bangkok to Vientiane – Go by Bus, Train or Flight?

Travel from Vientiane

As your Vientiane adventure comes to an end and you prepare for the next chapter in your journey, let the spirit of exploration be your guide as you seek out new horizons. No matter the journey you embark on, don’t forget to take time to appreciate the little moments. From capturing breathtaking photos to discovering new stories, flavors, and experiences, be sure to enjoy every second of your travels. May the road ahead bring joy and excitement! Bon voyage!

Vientiane to Hanoi

Tran Quoc pagoda in early morning in Hanoi, Vietnam

Discover the wonders of Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi, as you travel northeast from the charming city of Vientiane. Two main options are available for this journey: by bus or by flight. While buses offer a more budget-friendly alternative, the travel time is significantly longer, taking around 20 to 24 hours. Comfortable sleeper buses, such as those operated by HTX Van Tai 277 or The Sinh Tourist, provide ample legroom and reclining seats for a more relaxed journey.

Taking the bus is relatively inexpensive, but can be a long journey of over 10 hours. On the other hand, flights are much faster at only an hour and 10 minutes – plus time for airport transfers and immigration processes. There are daily flights operated both by Vietnam Airlines and Lao Airlines. Prices for these flights are often competitive when booked in advance too, so it’s worth shopping around before committing to one option. For more information about travelling from Vientiane to Hanoi, click here!

Vientiane to Luang Prabang

Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang

Head from the bustling capital city of Laos, Vientiane, to the magical destination of Luang Prabang! This 360-kilometer (225-mile) adventure is filled with historical and natural wonders. The journey can be made via riverboat, bus, taxi, or even a flight.

While riverboats offer a unique experience, they are not always recommended due to safety concerns. Buses, however, provide a more affordable and safer option, with various companies offering both express and sleeper buses for a comfortable journey. Taxis, such as Ken Taxi Service, may be a pricier choice but could be suitable for families or small groups.

For those seeking a quick and convenient mode of transportation, consider flying with Lao Airlines or Lao Skyway. The flight takes only 45 minutes, but bear in mind that it is the most expensive option. For more information on traveling from Vientiane to Luang Prabang, click here.

Vientiane to Vang Vieng

Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng

From the charming capital of Laos, Vientiane, make your way north to the picturesque town of Vang Vieng, known for its caves, limestone mountains, lagoons, and historic temples. Despite its reputation as a backpackers’ haven, Vang Vieng offers cozy guesthouses and delightful local restaurants to enhance your stay.

Situated about 160 kilometers (100 miles) away from Vientiane, Vang Vieng can only be reached by road, with buses and minivans as the main transport options. Buses from Vientiane to Vang Vieng are operated by Soutchai Travel, offering two daily departures with air-conditioned, albeit basic, vehicles.

Alternatively, minivans from Vientiane to Vang Vieng provide a more personalized experience, particularly for groups. PTS Transit Service runs one minivan daily, but keep in mind that minivans can be slightly more expensive and have less legroom and luggage space. To find out more read our full guide: Vientiane to Vang Vieng – Go by Bus or Minivan?

Did you find this guide useful?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating: / 5. Vote count:

Kamolchat Thanaditsayakun
About Kamolchat Thanaditsayakun

My name is Kamolchat - a writer with a passion for travel who loves sharing stories of new destinations and unforgettable adventures. I was born and raised in Thailand and I have always been captivated by the beauty and diversity of my homeland which inspired me to venture out and discover the world.

Over the years, I have had the pleasure of contributing to various travel publications and websites, such as Lonely Planet and Viator. I strive to provide an authentic representation of the places I visit, get into the heart of local cultures and finding authentic experiences that nourishes the soul.

As I continue to journey across the globe, I want you to join me in experiencing the wonders of our world through my stories. Together, we can learn, grow, and be inspired by the incredible people, places, and cultures that make our planet such an extraordinary place to explore.