First timers or having little time to be spent in the capital?
Would a visit to Paris be complete without a glimpse at the Eiffel Tower?
In Vientiane, you cannot afford missing to pass by:
- PATUXAI or Victory Monument, is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Vientiane. Fashionedafter the Arc de Triomphe in Paris but very Lao in the ornate details, the Patuxai was built in 1969 with cement purchased from the US that was supposed to be used for the construction of a new airport.
- THAT LUANG is a 45 meters tall gold-covered large Buddhist stupa that is also a national symbol of Laos. That Luang has had along history of being destroyed and rebuilt, and is thought to contain a relic of the Buddha.
- VAT SISAKET is the oldest Buddhist temple still standing in Vientiane. Built in 1818 in the Siamese style of Buddhist architecture rather than in the Lao style. Many people believe this is why the temple was spared when the armies of Siam (presently Thailand) invaded Vientiane in 1827; instead, they used the compound as their headquarters and lodging place. The French restored Wat Si Saket in 1924 and again in 1930.
- HOR PHRA KEO built in 1565 by the great King Xaisetthathirath as his worship place and to house the Emerald Buddha. The Emerald Buddha, also known to the locals as Phra Keo was lost to the Siamese in 1828 and is presently displayed at the Emerald Buddha Temple in Bangkok.
- WALK AROUND TOWN a stroll around Nam Phou fountain, the central point of Vientiane with its myriad of cafes, tailors, souvenir shops and restaurants is a must. Keep walking toward the Mekong river and enjoy the vistas of the sunset while sipping a drink on the riverside. Nothing fancy here but certainly a relaxing time ahead, very “Lao style”.
- All of the above can be done in a half day and if you really want to take it easy and have a deeper immersion into the experience, you can stretch it to a full day for an even better feel about the town
- LAO COOKING CLASSES
One of the pleasant ways to experience a culture is to taste the food. It becomes even more fun when you learn how to prepare it! Lao Experiences offers Lao cooking and culture in a garden by the Mekong River. Learn about ingredients you will use to create your Lao lunch. Make a variety of popular Lao dishes using traditional implements and techniques. Learn the secrets of making perfect sticky rice.
For more information: http://www.lao-experiences.com
- BICYCLING TOUR
Vientiane is possibly one of the best cities for cycling in Southeast Asia. You can easily rent bicycles and explore the city on your own. However, for awesome guided bicycle tours through and around Vientiane, half day or full day, we recommend:
- VIENTIANE ORCHIDEES
The Orchid Farm was created in 2006, born from a passion for orchids and the desire to be part of the conservation of the unique Lao biodiversity while at the same time impacting economic and social development.
- Orchids Trek
For a full day of discovery of Laos’ intact natural beauty with a strong focus on wild orchids, this excursion is for you!
You will be escorted by a botanical specialist and you will spend the day in the great outdoors of the National Biodiversity Conservation Area (NBCA) of Phou Khao Kwai.
- COPE Centre
During the Vietnam War, the conflict spilled over into Laos in a secret war leaving it one of the most heavily bombed countries inhistory. Many of these bombs and other devices did not explode at the time. So, even though the war ended in 1975, the country is still littered with a significant amount of UXO's (unexploded ordnance) which also contributes to poverty, hunger and disability on a daily basis.
- THE BELLE RIVE BOUTIQUE HOTEL : http://www.thebellerive.com
- HOTEL VILLA DEUX RIVIERES : http://www.villadeuxrivieres.com/
- Lao New Year : April 14-16
- International Women’s Day: March 8
- International Labor Day: May 1
- Buddhist Lent : First week of July
- Boat Racing Festival : October 24
- That Luang Festival : November 21
- Lao National Day : December 2
- Hello = Sabaidee
- Thank you = Kop Chai
- How much is it? = Un-ni La-kha thao dai
- I want to go to … = Koi yark pai …
- It’s alright/Never mind = Bor Pen Yang
- It’s delicious = Un-ni Saeb lai
- Goodbye: La Kone