Heading to Vientiane Laos? 9 things to do

Tourists visiting Laos(more info) often spend little or no time in Vientiane, sometimes bypassing the capital entirely in order to head to Luang Prabang or Vang Vieng.

If you intend to explore the city of Vientiane, there are many incredible surprises waiting for you. Here are  9 good things to see  and do in the city of Vientiane, Laos:

1. Pha That Luang

Pha That Luang(16th century) is a large Buddhist stupa covered with gold, surrounded by 30 small stupas.  It is located in the center of Vientiane.


When visiting this place, females need to wear a long skirt that they can rent from any tent outside the premises. It is also obligatory for them to cover the shoulders. A great time Like most places at major temples you can buy a caged bird where you can set it free for good luck.

2.Lao National Museum in Vientiane

The former Royal Palace - now the Nation by Madeleine_H, on Flickr
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Housed in a lovely colonial mansion, this small but interesting museum offers you a detailed look at the history, culture and heritage of Laos. The first floor of the museum is focused on the archaeology, ancient culture and the geology of the nation, while the second floor is focused on featuring the struggle for Lao independence.

3.PatuXai – the Arc de Triomphe of Vientiane

Patuxai by anaru, on Flickr
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The Patou Xai(49 metres high) was built-in during late 50s/early 60s to honor the martyrs of the Laotian army.  Patou Xai in english means Victory Gate and resembles the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. At the top you can get a fantastic view of the city.

4. Wat Sisaket

img_0051.jpg by neajjean, on Flickr
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This place has a collection of thousands of statues of Lord Buddha. It is one of the oldest temples of Vientiane and is build in Siamese style architecture .

5. Buddha Park, Xieng Khuan (Town of Ghosts)

Buddha Park by Gusjer, on Flickr
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Inside the Buddha Park, often known as Xieng Khuan (the city of ghosts), there are more than 200 Hindu and Buddhist statues.  Often mistaken for a temple, this park is divided by different sections/themes as you work your way through hell, earth then to heaven.

6.  Haw Phra Kaew

Haw Phra Kaew buddhas by Alex Valavanis, on Flickr
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Haw Pha Kaew(1565) is a museum displaying thousands of spectacular buddhist sculptures.  Once a temple, it has been rebuilt 3 times.  What is significant  about this former temple is that it used to house the Emerald Buddha, located now in Bangkok.

7.Wat Si Muang

Le pilier de la ville dans le Vat Simuan by dalbera, on Flickr
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Wat Si Muang is one among the most trafficked temples in Vientiane.  A statue of King Sisavang Vong is located in front of the temple.  It is said that visiting the temple attracts good luck (especially for women who want to conceive). One popular belief is that the inside of the temple gives shelter to a ghost that protects Vientiane.

8. Massage in Vientiane

Traditional Lao massage is actually a wonderfully relaxing mix of stretching and massage, practiced since thousands of years to boost circulation and induce relaxation.  Slightly similar to a Thai massage but just a little softer.  Cost is affordable, so indulge yourself in this art form at any of the spas of the city.

9.Vientiane Morning Market

Vientiane Day Market by Francisco Anzola, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License by Francisco Anzola

The morning market of Vientiane is the largest display of the city’s commerce.  The market starts early but goes well into the day as local vendors selling everything you can think of.  Everything from fresh veggies, to a quick snack or lunch, and  clothing.  This is basically a mini version of a shopping mall, offering an experience that is unique.

Vientiane, the capital of Laos, has a lot to show to the tourists that visit. After a daylong exploring of the main attractions listed above, we recommend having a drink at one of the many bars and cafés of the city watching the spectacular sunset.