Vientiane, Capital city of Lao PDR
Vientiane is the proud capital of Lao PDR. The biggest city of Laos and the centre of politics and business. Vientiane is rapidly getting bigger but it is still easy to find relaxed spots and quiet areas in the city. Capitals are not always the nicest cities but many times they are an important part of the country and they do have a history and something to show the visitors… Vientiane as well!
Some other reasons to visit Vientiane: COPE, food, temples, That Luang, Patuxay and some interesting museums.
See the menu for more information and photos about Patuxai, That Dam and the Buddha Park. For the rest:
The COPE Visitors Centre alone is already a reason not to classify Vientiane as ‘not worth a visit’. COPE shows how this organization helps Lao people who got (still, even in this time people get killed and injured by the leftover bombs and bombies from this period) injured by bombs of the Americans during the not so secret (here in Laos…) Secret War in the 1960s and 1970s and people who got injured in traffic accidents etc. They are doing a great job and the visitors centre (not big but very well kept and informing) was even visited by former President Mr. Obama in 2017 and Mss. Clinton a while before that. You can also buy things in the small shop there (money for COPE) and donate.
This is the ‘national symbol’ of the country and also well worth a visit. It’s an important symbol for Buddhism in Laos and every year there is the Pha That Luang (the full name) festival here.
Yes, you can find food everywhere in Laos (although a high percentage of young children is still undernourished unfortunately….) but Vientiane has something special for Lao standards. Vientiane has restaurants with food from all over the world (South Korea, Laos, China, France, America, Italy, Ireland, Pakistan, Turkey, England, North Korea, India, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Russia, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam to name a few countries). The nice thing about eating in most international restaurants in Vientiane is that you don’t have to dig deep into your wallets to get the last money to pay for it… No, it’s cheap by international standards. So it makes Vientiane an excellent place to experience both Lao and ‘international’ food and to drink a Lashi in the morning together with a French style ‘baguette’, eat laap (a very Lao dish) with sticky rice (also very Lao) in the afternoon and try one of the great pizzas made in the city as diner….
Yes, we know, you probably came from the north of Laos and saw many great temples in Luang Prabang. That’s good and some of them are very nice and well worth a visit. But…. Vientiane has a few temples well worth a visit as well. Wat Sisaket (with thousands of Buddha images) is sometimes crowded but many times not. A pleasant place to walk and see more of the Buddhist devotion. Just on the other side of the road you can visit Wat Hor Phakea, another nice temple and one with a long history and a nice little garden. There are several other ‘wats’ (temples) in Vientiane (some very interesting as well) but the two mentioned here are well worth a visit.