Pha That Luang, Vientiane, Laos

Welcome to Vientiane, the charming capital city of Laos. With its laid-back atmosphere, stunning temples, and rich cultural heritage, Vientiane offers a unique blend of tradition and modernity. This guide will explore Vientiane's culinary delights, fascinating culture, essential travel tips, intriguing facts, and must-visit places. Get ready to immerse yourself in the enchanting allure of Vientiane.


Vientiane is a haven for food lovers, offering a delightful array of traditional Lao cuisine. Here are some must-try dishes during your visit:

  1. Laap: Indulge in Laap, a popular Lao dish with minced meat (chicken, beef, or fish) mixed with herbs, lime juice, chili, and toasted rice powder. This flavorful dish is typically served with sticky rice and provides a delicious introduction to Lao cuisine.
  2. Tam Mak Houng: Sample Tam Mak Houng, a refreshing green papaya salad. This salad combines shredded green papaya, tomatoes, peanuts, chili, and lime juice for a harmonious blend of sweet, sour, and spicy flavors.
  3. Khao Poon: Savor Khao Poon is a fragrant and spicy Lao noodle soup made with rice vermicelli, coconut milk, and various herbs and spices. It is often topped with meat, such as chicken or fish, and garnished with fresh vegetables.

  1. Sticky Rice: Don't miss the opportunity to try sticky rice, a staple in Lao cuisine. Served in small bamboo baskets, sticky rice is often enjoyed with various dishes, such as grilled meats, dips, and curries.


Vientiane is steeped in rich cultural heritage, influenced by Buddhist traditions and historical significance. Here are some cultural highlights to explore:

  1. Pha That Luang: Visit Pha That Luang, the most important national monument in Laos and a symbol of the Buddhist faith. This impressive golden stupa stands as a symbol of the country's religious and architectural significance.
  2. Wat Si Saket: Explore Wat Si Saket, the oldest Buddhist temple in Vientiane. Admire its beautiful architecture and intricate wall paintings while gaining insight into Lao Buddhist traditions.

  1. Traditional Arts and Crafts: Immerse yourself in the local arts scene by visiting the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre. Discover a wide range of traditional textiles, handicrafts, and artifacts showcasing diverse ethnic groups and their cultural practices.
  2. Baci Ceremony: Experience a traditional Baci ceremony, a ritual in Lao culture that involves tying white threads around the wrists to bring good luck and bless individuals on special occasions.

Travel Tips

To make the most of your visit to Vientiane, consider the following travel tips:

  1. Visa: Verify the visa requirements for your country before traveling to Laos. Some nationalities may need a visa in advance, while others can obtain one upon arrival at the airport or border checkpoints.
  2. Currency: The official currency in Laos is the Lao Kip (LAK). While LAK is widely used, US dollars and Thai Baht are also accepted in some establishments. It's advisable to carry a mix of local currency and US dollars for convenience.
  3. Etiquette: Respect local customs and traditions by dressing modestly, particularly when visiting temples and religious sites. Remove your shoes before entering temple buildings, and be mindful of appropriate behavior in sacred spaces.
  4. Transportation: Getting around Vientiane is easy with options like tuk-tuks, taxis, and rented bicycles. Negotiate the fare before taking a tuk-tuk or taxi, and consider renting a bicycle to explore the city leisurely.

Interesting Facts

Discover some intriguing facts about Vientiane:

  1. Friendship Bridge: The Friendship Bridge, connecting Vientiane with Nong Khai in Thailand, is a symbolic link between the two countries. It is an important trade and transportation route, facilitating the movement of people and goods between Laos and Thailand.
  2. Arc de Triomphe of Vientiane: The Patuxai, also known as the Arc de Triomphe of Vientiane, is a prominent monument in the city. Built-in the 1960s, it showcases a unique blend of traditional Lao and French architectural styles.
  3. Lao New Year (Pi Mai Lao): Join in the festive celebrations of Pi Mai Lao, the Lao New Year, which takes place in mid-April. The city comes alive with vibrant processions, water fights, and traditional rituals to mark the beginning of the new year.

Top Places

Vientiane offers a range of captivating attractions. Here are some top places to visit:

  1. COPE Visitor Centre: Gain insights into the history and impact of unexploded ordnance (UXO) in Laos at the COPE Visitor Centre. Learn about the efforts to clear UXOs and support those affected by them.
  2. Night Market: Explore the bustling Vientiane Night Market along the Mekong River. Browse through various stalls selling handicrafts, clothing, and souvenirs, and sample local food delicacies.
  3. Xieng Khuan (Buddha Park): Venture outside the city to Xieng Khuan, also known as Buddha Park. This unique park features a collection of Buddhist and Hindu sculptures, including the famous giant reclining Buddha.

  1. Wat Sok Pa Luang: Retreat to Wat Sok Pa Luang, a tranquil temple on the outskirts of Vientiane. Enjoy or join a meditation retreat to experience peace and serenity in a beautiful natural setting.


Vientiane offers a serene and cultural escape where you can indulge in delicious cuisine, explore historic temples, and immerse yourself in the local way of life. With its warm hospitality and unique blend of tradition and modernity, Vientiane invites you to discover the essence of Laos. So, embrace the opportunity to explore the city's cultural treasures, savor its flavorful cuisine, and create lasting memories in this enchanting capital city.