Despite being the capital of Laos, Vientiane doesn’t have much to brag about – most people try not to get stuck here, but for different reasons, many people pass through and stay for a night or two. Fortunately, it’s quite a nice place to find yourself in.
So whether you come by to wait for a visa to process, or just to rest your bum from bumpy bus rides before heading out on the road again, here is a short guide on how to spend that day and things to do in Vientiane.
Things To Do in Vientiane
Pha Tat Luang
It’s 4km out of the city (northeast), so you can either walk (!), bike or take a share tuk tuk to get there.
Once it has cooled down outside, head over to the new fancy park “Chao Anouvong Park” by the riverside and hang out under the shade reading a book or playing cards.
The park is brand new and really nice, they’re just finishing up the final touches.
It’s a very attractive place to chill for a bit, there are some street stalls along the path and ice cream shops on the other side of the street.
If you come in the morning or in the evening when the weather is a little cooler, you can have a try at the work out machines they provide in the park for free.
It’s pretty popular with the locals so on weekends you won’t have the place to yourself, but it’s a great place for people watching
It was one of our favorite things to do in Vientiane when we traveled by.
A way to escape the midday heat is to do some shopping in the Talat Sao shopping mall. It’s not the biggest, or the cheapest, but good enough for a bit of shopping and a stroll around the place – besides, if you’ve been out all day it’s a good place to cool down.
Places To Eat
Grab some dinner at Taj Mahal restaurant, they have the best Indian in town and at some really good prices. Definitely worth the walk.
You’ll find it at Namphu area, right behind the cultural hall.
Nazim is another Indian restaurant located by the river, they make nice meals, nothing like Taj Mahal but still a nice place if you want to sit close to the river.
Full Moon Cafe and The Shade are two other restaurants at Francois Nginn Rd for those who want something closer to the central areas.
Another place I just have to mention is the Scandinavian Bakery. Scandinavian pastries and cookies are some of the tastiest things ever, and this place make as good ones as any place in Scandinavia.
In general there are a lot of bakeries around Vientiane, both Lao style and Western style.
Drinking & WiFi
It has some great coffee and shakes, and is one of the few places that offer free high speed WiFi, if you feel a need to get connected.
You’ll find it on Francois Nginn Rd, it’s the cafe of the hotel Lotus.
If you’re as crazy about fruit shakes as us, head over to rue Samsenthai and visit House of Fruit Shakes; the drinks are blended to perfection and only cost 6000 kip (0.7$)!
There aren’t a huge amount of choices if you want to stay close to the riverside, but there are definitely a few worth checking out.
Francois Nginn Rd has quite a few guest houses. I can recommend Youth Inn 2 (further down the street from the original one), which has clean rooms, private bathroom for an ok price (60 000 kip/7$). It’s one of the very few places that has free WiFi, although it’s a slow one.
Hopefully this will help you enjoy all the things to do in Vientiane. If you plan to stay longer, I suggest you do a little cafe run and check out all of the amazing bakeries and coffee shops in the city!