Best Things to do in Vientiane – Laos
Unlike most of the capitals in other Southeast Asian cities, Laos is unexpectedly livable and lovable with beautiful French themed buildings, Buddhist temples galore and fabulous natural beauty dotted around the encircling countryside. Ultimately, this super-chilled out capital turned out to be one of the favorites in my must-see stops in Southeast Asia due to its friendly welcoming atmosphere. For those who do not have a clue what to do in Vientiane, here are the best things to do in the popular attractions of Vientiane, Laos.
Located on Lan Xang Road (across from Ho Phra Keo), Vientiane and built in 1818. The only Buddhist temple to survive the Siamese invasion that destroyed many capitals in 1828. Much to our amazement, it is still standing strong as it was built 200 years ago. There is a collection of more than 5,000 Buddha sculptures of varying sizes and styles including silver, stone, bronze, and ceramic Buddhas and Buddha images, which reflects the fascinating history of this temple. It actually has the look of a Thai temple that makes you feel as if you are in Bangkok! The bright yellow pillars that hold up the roof of the temple painted in a glowing shade of red also famed to stand out as one of the must-see temples in town. Remember to stop by the numerous fruit trees on the grounds where the museum is placed to enjoy the relaxed and serene vibe to spend a lot more time in.
Pha That Luang
The mesmerizing golden stupa is a national symbol of Laos of both Buddhism and national supremacy, built in the 1500s. Further, its image can be found on government logos and currency notes as well as on most of the posters and even on billboard in Laos. The most significant and sacred cultural monument dates back to the 16th century, said to be the place where a part of Buddha’s breastbone is buried. Visitors can meander through the grounds, inspect the massive reclining golden Buddha, ease off in the peaceful gardens, admire the giant golden temple complex, which looks more like a fortress than a place of worship or learn about Buddhism and Buddhist life in Laos. Be sure to check out the most important festival, Boun That Luang, held over here in November for 3 days, where thousands of devotees gather to celebrate and pay their respects. You can reach here by a tuk-tuk or a bicycle, which is easily accessible since its 4 kilometers northeast of the Vientiane.
A great distinctive landmark in Vientiane and was designed to match the Arc de Triomphe in Paris with a Laos twist. The story goes that the monument was built to honor the Lao people who fought and died in the battle for independence. The Patuxai is also called the Victory Gate you can easily discover at the center of Patuxai Park on any tuk-tuk ride around town. This is however, situated on Lang Xang Avenue opposite the presidential palace, erected intricately with symbols of Hindu gods along with five towers to highlight the traditional buildings of Laotian style. Stroll in the pleasant garden, climb to the top of the tower for an amazing view of valentine especially at sunset for a small entry fee or go for a relaxed walk to purchase gifts from the gift shops located nearby the monument, as it is a great place to visit as part of a day trip.
The most fun part of the Asian travelling is the Vientiane night market in the scenic waterfront of the city. Take a stroll along the riverfront at night to witness the banks of mother Mekong transforms into an instantly recognizable bustling market with its red-roofed stalls. Find everything you are looking for, from a dizzying array of items like clothes (beerlao t-shirts), unique accessories, traditional woven handicrafts, beautiful paintings to myriad of souvenirs. The fully vibrant red-roofed tents are the perfect place to snap up a few bargains and also to eat delicious Laotian snacks like barbecued meats from a wide range of street food stalls. The merchants begin to set up their stalls as the sun goes down and stay alive until 9.30 PM daily to offer you the best touristy stuff. Expect the unexpected while soaking up in the charming atmosphere in the evenings at the vibrant night market known as Chinese market in Laos for its stunning sunset alone.