Things To Do In Vientiane

Immerse yourself in Vientiane’s rich history by exploring iconic landmarks like the golden Pha That Luang stupa and the ancient Wat Si Saket monastery. Delight your senses with the vibrant flavours of Lao cuisine, from herb-infused larb to flavorful sausages.

Discover Vientiane’s thriving cultural scene, from the alluring murals of Wat Si Muang to the enchanting sculptures of the Buddha Park. Breathe in the beauty of the Mekong River during sunset strolls, and uncover the city’s blend of traditional and modern influences. There’s much more to explore in this charming Lao capital.

Vientiane Historical Landmarks

Vientiane’s historical landmarks offer visitors a captivating glimpse into the city’s rich cultural heritage. From the iconic golden stupa of Pha That Luang to the serene Mekong River, these iconic sites showcase Laos’ enduring traditions and resilience.

Wander through the grounds of Wat Si Saket, the oldest monastery in Vientiane, and marvel at its remarkable collection of Buddhist art and artefacts. Step inside the Haw Phra Kaew, a former royal temple that now houses an impressive display of religious sculptures and artefacts.

Admire the towering Patuxai Victory Monument, Vientiane’s version of Paris’ Arc de Triomphe, commemorating the country’s struggle for independence.

Venture just outside the city to the enchanting Buddha Park (Xieng Khuan), where over 200 Buddhist and Hindu statues, including a 40-meter sleeping Buddha, create a serene and otherworldly atmosphere.

Whether you’re drawn to the golden splendour of Pha That Luang or the tranquillity of the Mekong River, Vientiane’s historical landmarks offer a glimpse into the heart and soul of this alluring city.

Vientiane Cultural Attractions

Engage yourself in the spiritual essence of Lao Buddhism at Wat Si Muang and Wat Sisaket, where you’ll discover intricate murals and statues. Marvel at the impressive collection of Buddhist art at Wat Si Saket, the oldest monastery in Vientiane.

Delve deeper into the country’s complex history at the COPE Visitor Centre, which sheds light on the lingering impact of unexploded ordnance.

Venture to the captivating Buddha Park (Xieng Khuan), where over 200 Buddhist and Hindu sculptures stand amidst a serene landscape, offering a unique blend of traditional and modern influences.

Whether you’re admiring the grand golden stupa of Pha That Luang or wandering through the tranquil grounds of these cultural sites, you’ll gain a profound appreciation for Vientiane’s rich heritage and the enduring spirit of Lao Buddhism.

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Vientiane Culinary Delights

Engage yourself in Vientiane’s diverse culinary landscape, where you’ll discover an array of tempting Lao delicacies that will captivate your taste buds. From the bold flavors of traditional dishes like Larb and Lao sausage to the comforting embrace of sticky rice, the city’s culinary scene offers a delectable journey through the region’s rich gastronomic heritage.

Discover the local markets, where the Morning Market and Night Market beckon with their vibrant stalls, brimming with fresh ingredients and authentic Lao snacks. Here, you can indulge in:

  1. Sampling the complex, herb-infused flavours of Larb, a beloved Lao salad made with minced meat, ground toasted rice, and a zesty dressing.
  2. Savouring the smoky, aromatic Lao sausage, a speciality that showcases the country’s unique spice blends and preparation techniques.
  3. Immerse yourself in the ritual of sticky rice, a staple accompaniment to many Lao dishes, and a quintessential part of the local dining experience.

Beyond the markets, riverside restaurants along the Mekong River offer a picturesque setting to indulge in both traditional Lao fare and international cuisine, creating a harmonious blend of flavours and experiences.

Vientiane Shopping Destinations

As you explore Vientiane, you’ll discover a vibrant shopping scene that showcases the city’s rich cultural heritage and artisanal talents, from bustling markets to charming boutiques.

Among the must-visit destinations are:

  1. Talat Sao Market: Also known as the Morning Market, this lively hub offers an impressive array of goods, from fresh produce and textiles to electronics and more, providing endless opportunities to find unique treasures.
  2. Talat Khua Din: This bustling market is renowned for its diverse selection of local handicrafts, souvenirs, and traditional Lao textiles, allowing you to deeply engage in the city’s rich artisanal legacy.
  3. Vientiane Night Market: Situated along the Mekong River, this vibrant marketplace is a hub for shopping, dining, and enjoying local entertainment, where you can bargain for fascinating items like snake whiskey, intricate jewellery, handwoven textiles, and authentic ethnic handicrafts.

Whether you’re seeking Lao specialities, silk products, wood carvings, or other memorable souvenirs, the shopping destinations in Vientiane offer a delightful glimpse into the city’s cultural fabric.

Vientiane Outdoor Activities

Explore the vibrant outdoor offerings in Vientiane, where cycling tours and Naga boat rides on the Mekong River offer enchanting glimpses into the city’s natural beauty.

Pedal your way through the streets and along the riverbanks, taking in the sights, sounds, and rhythms of Vientiane. As you glide down the Mekong on a traditional Naga boat, you’ll be treated to stunning views of the riverscape and the surrounding landscape.

Don’t miss the chance to witness the breathtaking sunsets over the Mekong River, a beloved outdoor activity among locals and visitors alike. Settle in along the riverbanks, camera in hand, and watch as the sky erupts in a vibrant display of colours.

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For a truly immersive experience, combine your sunset viewing with a relaxing boat ride or an invigorating cycling tour. No matter how you choose to explore, Vientiane’s outdoor activities promise to leave you with unforgettable memories of Laos’ natural beauty.

Dance at Khop Chai Deu

After exploring Vientiane’s natural wonders, head to the vibrant Khop Chai Deu nightclub, where you can dance the night away to a lively mix of Lao, Western, and regional hits. Known for its energetic dance floor and electric atmosphere, this popular nightspot attracts both tourists and expats looking for a memorable evening out.

Immerse yourself in the club’s pulsating beats as you sway to the music and mingle with locals and fellow travellers. Khop Chai Deu offers a fun and social environment, making it the perfect place to meet new people and experience Vientiane’s vibrant nightlife.

With its central location in the city, the club is easily accessible, ensuring you can make the most of your nightlife experience in Vientiane.

Whether you’re in the mood for a lively dance session or simply want to soak up the bustling atmosphere, Khop Chai Deu is a must-visit destination that promises an unforgettable evening of entertainment and socialization.

Vientiane Day Trips and Excursions

Beyond Vientiane’s city limits, a world of enchanting day trips and excursions awaits, offering insights into Laos’ rich cultural heritage and breathtaking natural landscapes.

  • Start your journey at the serene Buddha Park (Xieng Khuan), just a short drive from the capital. Explore this unique outdoor sculpture garden featuring over 200 Buddhist and Hindu statues, immersing yourself in the country’s diverse religious traditions.
  • Next, visit the COPE Visitor Centre to learn about Laos’ harrowing history with unexploded ordnance and its ongoing impact on local communities. This eye-opening experience provides valuable context for understanding the country’s past and present challenges.
  • Venture to the quaint village of Ban Hatkhai to witness the rhythms of traditional Lao life, from artisanal crafts to time-honoured culinary traditions.

Embrace the natural beauty of Tad Moon Waterfall on a day trip, or embark on a serene Mekong River cruise to soak in the region’s scenic splendour. These Vientiane excursions offer a window into the heart of Lao culture and the country’s enthralling wonders.

Vientiane Local Festivals and Events

Throughout the year, Vientiane celebrates a vibrant calendar of local festivals and events that offer visitors a glimpse into Lao culture and traditions.

One of the most renowned is the Boun That Luang Festival, a grand religious celebration centred around the iconic Pha That Luang Stupa, featuring traditional ceremonies and vibrant parades. The Vientiane Boat Racing Festival, known as Boun Souang Heun, is another highlight, showcasing thrilling boat races on the Mekong River that draw large, lively crowds.

Hmong New Year FestivalLuang PrabangCultural performances, vibrant parades
Vientiane Trade FairVientianeLocal handicrafts, textiles, traditional products
That Luang FestivalVientianeProcessions, music, dance performances

Visitors can also experience the Vientiane Trade Fair, where local handicrafts, textiles, and traditional products offer a glimpse into Laos’ rich heritage.

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Vientiane Family-Friendly Activities

For families visiting Vientiane, the city offers a variety of engaging and educational activities to enjoy together. At Buddha Park, you can explore over 200 mesmerizing Buddha statues and sculptures spread across the lush, scenic grounds.

  • Along the Mekong River waterfront, take a leisurely stroll and soak in the serene beauty of the flowing waters and picturesque surroundings.
  • The COPE Visitor Centre provides families with an informative and eye-opening experience about the impact of unexploded ordnance (UXO) in Laos. Engage in cultural activities like traditional Lao dance performances, which are suitable for all ages.

Immerse yourself in the local way of life by exploring bustling markets like Talat Sao, where you can find a variety of handicrafts, souvenirs, and delectable Lao cuisine to sample.

Tips for Exploring Vientiane

To truly engage with Vientiane’s fascinating essence, consider exploring the city on foot or by bicycle, which allows you to discover its low-rise cityscape and hidden gems at a leisurely pace.

Admire panoramic city views from the iconic Patuxai Victory Monument, then delve into Vientiane’s Buddhist culture at Wat Si Saket and Wat Si Muang temples.

For a truly tranquil experience, take a stroll along the Mekong River at sunset, where you’ll be captivated by the breathtaking views and a serene atmosphere.

Vientiane’s blend of traditional and modern influences is evident in its architecture, cuisine, and cultural experiences, waiting to be uncovered through your explorations.

Consider these tips to make the most of your Vientiane adventure:

  1. Explore the city on foot or by bicycle to discover hidden gems.
  2. Visit the Patuxai Victory Monument for panoramic city views.
  3. Engage deeply in the Buddhist culture by exploring local temples.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Vientiane Worth Visiting?

Vientiane’s rich Buddhist heritage, cultural experiences, and serene Mekong views make it a fascinating destination. You’ll uncover hidden gems and be engrossed in the city’s vibrant night markets and traditional performances.

What to Do in Vientiane in 3 Days?

In 3 days, you can explore Vientiane’s iconic Pha That Luang, marvel at Wat Si Saket, discover Patuxai Monument, engage with Wat Ho Phra Keo, and stroll along the serene Mekong River, absorbing the city’s rich cultural heritage and natural beauty.

Is There Much to Do in Vientiane?

Yes, there’s plenty to do in Vientiane! You can explore historical landmarks, try local cuisine, experience Lao culture, and enjoy outdoor activities like river cruises and cycling tours. Vientiane offers a diverse range of experiences for visitors.

How Many Days Do You Need in Vientiane?

You can explore the essential sights of Vientiane in 2 days, focusing on highlights like Patuxai, Pha That Luang, and the COPE Centre. But for a more leisurely visit, consider staying longer to savour the city’s local restaurants and scenic Mekong sunsets.


Vientiane offers a variety of enchanting experiences, from its rich cultural heritage to its vibrant culinary scene. Whether you’re marvelling at ancient temples, immersing yourself in local festivities, or indulging in delectable Lao cuisine, this charming capital city promises to enthral your senses.

So pack your bags and get ready to discover the many wonders that Vientiane has in store for you.

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