We have to admit Vientiane was not our favourite destination when traveling Laos. When planning our Laos trip we heard from many people ‘Vientiane is not worth visiting’ ‘There is nothing to do in Vientiane’ .
We decided to spend two nights / three days in the Laos capital to make up our own minds on whether Vientiane was ‘worth visiting’.
Here is a list of all the things we recommend checking out while in Vientiane:
Patuxai Victory Monument
The is the most famous monument in the city of Vientiane. It was designed to resemble to Arc de Triomphe in Paris. It is dedicated to the citizens of Laos who lost their lives during different wars.
You can access the top of this Monument by climbing the stairs or using the elevator. Once you reach the top you can take in the views across the city.
Shop at the Riverside Market
Located along the beautiful waterfront, the Riverside Market is home to vendors selling everything from souvenirs, clothing and crafts! The market opens every evening at 5pm – 10pm.
Unlike other night markets in Asia, no food is sold at the Riverside Night Market. However, there are plenty of street food vendors and restaurants around the market.
Xieng Khuan (Buddha Park)
Buddha park is located 25km outside the city of Vientiane. The park is famous for its 200 religious statues spread all around the beautiful park. Visit in the early morning or late afternoon if you want to avoid the giant group tours.
The park is open daily from 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM. You can get there by tuktuk or buses depart from Talat Sao bus station every 40 minutes.
Admire Pha That Luang
AKA the Vientiane Great Stupa, Pha That Luang is famous for being the most sacred temple in Laos. This beautiful building was constructed in the 16th century. Located 4km northeast of the city, it is a great day trip to get out of the city.
Lao National Museum
The Laos National Museum is the place to visit if you want to learn all about the history and culture of Laos. Located in a building constructed during the French colonial period, there are so many fascinating exhibits here. The museum displays many local artefacts, paintings, jewellery, photographs and sculptures.
Visit the Cooperative Orthotic and Prosthetic Enterprise (COPE)
The COPE Visitor Centre is a small museum that highlights the amazing work carried out by COPE. The centre helps people who have been faced with awful injuries and disabilities as a result of the many unexploded bombs (UXO) all around the country. These bombs were dropped in Laos during the war from 1964 – 1973.
In the museum there is a cinema room that shows a documentary showing the great work carried out by the charity but also heartbreaking stories from individuals who have been affected.
Get a massage
Laos is famous for its traditional massage techniques using herbal saunas and steam rooms. Plants and herbs boiled in a sealed room creating a steam room. The treatment begins by relaxing in the herbal sauna followed by a traditional Laos massage.
After visiting Vientiane if you were to ask us wether it was worth it, our answer would be yes. Everyone has their own opinions on what destinations are ‘worth visiting’.
In our opinion we would always recommend you check out a city and make up your own mind. Yes, Vientiane might be lacking in the famous attractions you can find in other Asian capital cities but it is a very peaceful, relaxing and charming city.
We admit Vientiane was not our favourite city but we are glad we spent a few days exploring it for ourselves.
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2 thoughts on “Is Vientiane ‘Worth Visiting’ – Things to do in Vientiane, Laos”
its ok, isnt it? It’s pleasant enough but it doesnt knock your socks off. Didnt know about the Buddha park but I think I saw all the other sites an a temple not listed here – would need to check notes etc. Certainly if you need to stop somewhere for a few nights coming from Thailand, or for transport it’s worth checking out whilst there!
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I’m always interested to read about how others feel about Vientiane (and get a little upset that it is so often dismissed). I think you’ve been fair with your assessment. I really enjoyed my time there. I liked the peaceful, non-touristy vibe.
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