Vientiane, a city without skyscrapers, the most peaceful capital in the world
Vientiane, the capital of Laos, is surely one of the most peaceful capitals in the world with only 200,000 inhabitants. The Mekong River, which runs alongside the city, acts as a natural border with Thailand. The city is characterized not only by its tranquility, but also by its mixture of French colonial architecture and Buddhist temples.
Here is a list of the 4 most famous places in the city that you can’t miss during your visit in Vientiane:
What to see in Vientiane?
1. The night market next to the Mekong
Vientiane city center is located in the three most parallel streets to the Mekong river bank. The day-to-day life is right next to the river. There is a big promenade where people exercise or go for a walk. At night, things get even livelier. A street market is set up clothing and decorations, and the surrounding restaurants are filled with both tourists and Laotians attracted by the smell of the barbecue.
2. Patuxai Monument
The Patuxai monument is a giant triumphal arch built to commemorate Laos’ independence from France. The word Patuxai means “Gate of Victory”. It is located right in the center of the city.
3. Pha That Luang Stupa
The city’s most famous monument is the Phat That Luang, a gold-plated Buddhist stupa. Although it has been rebuilt several times, it was originally built as a Hindu temple in the third century.
The Phat That Luang Stupa is located 4 km northwest of the city, just 2 km from the Patuxai Monument. The entrance fee is 10,000 Kips (1 euro) and the visiting hours are 8:00-12:00 and 13:00-16:00 every day of the week.
4. The Buda Park
The charming Buda Park is at 25 km from the city. Although it was smaller than I had imagined, it had some really interesting sculptures. The entrance fee is only 5,000 kips (0.50 euros) and the visiting hours are from 8:00 to 17:00.
Next Destination: From Vientiane to Kunming by bus
During my stay in Vientiane I had decided that my next destination would be ancient China. At the Chinese embassy I asked for the Chinese Visa and after a few days they returned my passport with the visa to enter China (35 euros, one month). With the visa in hand, I took the bus to Kunming, I was expected to travel 35 hours, luckily with a big bed inside the bus.
I say goodbye to Laos, a country I didn’t expect much from but which I have fallen in love with. Now, another new adventure begins, I’m going to Kunming. China, here I come!
You can subscribe to the blog to keep informed of our trips. If you are planning a trip to Laos you can also check out our Tips and Tricks about Laos and our list of The Best Temples of Luang Prabang.