Vientiane Golden Palace
Vientiane Laos is the capital of this relatively unspoiled Asian country. It is one of the most popular destinations in Laos, and it boasts a wide variety of unique historical attractions. This laid-back city also serves as the center of culture, administration, and commerce for the country, and its tree-lined boulevards and welcoming population make Vientiane Laos a must-see spot. Often referred to as Southeast Asia’s biggest village, Vientiane has a population of just more than half a million and is home to the country’s only international airport. The inhabitants here believe in slowing things down and taking life as it comes, and visitors are encouraged to do the same, so if you’re looking for a relaxed atmosphere and unbeatable hospitality, Vientiane is the place for you.
The city itself displays its past through the abundance of temples, monuments, and French-style architecture. The plethora of Buddhist temples and monasteries emphasize the adherence to Buddhist beliefs and the way of life that is prominent throughout the country. These beautiful buildings are intertwined with the variety of French-inspired boulevards and monuments, as the French helped rebuild Vientiane Laos after the Siamese armies destroyed it in 1827 and exerted their elegant style to help make the city come to life again. The main boulevard is reminiscent of the Champs Elysees in Paris, and the victory arch is reminiscent of the Arc de Triomphe. The French heritage is also noticeable in the cuisine of serving hearty sandwiches on baguettes and a variety of coffee.
Kam Kong Street
There are various attractions in Vientiane that make this city one of the top destinations in Laos. Pha That Luang is the country's most sacred Buddhist monument and one of the most breathtaking stupas in the Mekong Region. It was constructed in the early thirteenth century and was later destroyed during the invasion of the Siamese in 1827. The French assisted in re-building the stupa in the 1930s, and it is now one of the most attractive buildings in all of Laos. The whole stupa is covered in ornate decorations, and the three levels represent different reflections of the Buddhist religion.
If you’re interested in adding more historic sites to your Vientiane travel itinerary, it’s worth also including a visit to Wat Sisaket. It is the only temple within the city that survived the invasion of the Siamese armies, making it an important testament to Laotian history and culture. The temple is home to more than 6,500 images of the Buddha and various inscriptions from the eighteenth century.
The Patuxai (Victory Gate) is also another must-see during your Vientiane travel. The Gate of Triumph is located in the center of the city and was constructed to show respect for all of the people who helped the Lao gain independence from the French. The Patuxai resembles the Arc de Triomphe somewhat, but it features four arches instead of two. Those who are looking for sweeping views should climb to the top of the independence monument to experience a 360-degree view of Vientiane and the surrounding countryside.
The Laos National Museum is also a great stop during any trip to Vientiane, particularly for travelers who are looking to learn more about the history of Laos. It provides visitors with an in-depth look at the trials Laos has endured over time, from the country’s period as a part of the Siamese Empire and later French Indochina, as well as the CIA’s “Secret War” from the mid-twentieth century. This excellent museum explains these events and teaches visitors many other things that they should know about Laotian customs, culture, history, and politics.
Those who are looking for a spiritual experience during their Vientiane travel will enjoy Buddha Park. The park, known as Xieng Khuan, is a popular site situated just south of the main city near the Mekong River. The Buddha statues scattered around the park were all crafted by supposedly unskilled local artists, and the park offers insight into the importance of Buddhism in Lao culture. Visitors to the capital can also take advantage of the free meditation sessions offered on Saturday mornings by local monks. At these sessions, which are held during the early morning hours, locals and travelers alike can meditate with Buddhist teachers and enter a state away from the chaos of everyday life.
Visitors to the city should have little trouble finding a hotel in Vientiane to suit them. The variety and affordability of the hotels here make even a five-star hotel a possibility for those traveling on a budget. The great exchange rate, comfortable rooms, and unique charm of each of the hotels will more than surpass guest expectations. The Don Chan Palace is the most luxurious hotel in Vientiane, and it caters to those who want to travel in the height of luxury. It is the largest building in the city, and each room affords guests picturesque views of the Mekong River and the capital. Although it is the most expensive option in Vientiane, the amenities here are numerous and worth the splurge for those who want to relax in elegance. The Green Park Boutique Hotel, Lao Plaza Hotel, and Settha Palace Hotel are also fantastic luxury options for accommodation in Vientiane.
If you prefer something more moderate for your hotel in Vientiane there are plenty of options located in the heart of downtown. The Elephant Crossing Hotel is a great choice for those on a budget. It includes a full American breakfast, and guests have easy access to the river for boat trips and water activities. The Inter City Boutique Hotel is also a great choice, as the impeccably furnished rooms, great downtown location, and outstanding steak restaurant all add to the charm of this affordable hotel. If you prefer to stay on the outskirts of town, then the Thavonsouk Bungalows is a peaceful retreat with modern amenities.
Wherever you stay, the city of Vientiane offers a true insight into the wonderful culture of the Lao people and a chance to learn about one of the few untouched destinations in southeast Asia. Traditional French charm, a long and complex history, and a wide variety of temples and other attractions all make Vientiane an unforgettable travel destination.