Travel Guide: Vientiane

My last travel hurrah in Southeast Asia was a week in Laos with a friend. Over the course of the week, we explored the capital city Vientiane, party town Vang Vieng, and UNESCO World Heritage city Luang Prabang. We ate well, drank well, talked a whole heck of a lot, and walked for miles around each of these towns.

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We saw Soviet and Lao flags displayed together literally everywhere we went. It was rather surprising.

Everything I’d read about Vientiane prior to visiting described it as laid-back, calm, and mellow. That is more than an accurate description. Here are some of my favorite photos from around Vientiane, one of many cities in Laos located along the Mekong River:

As always in Southeast Asia, there are temples to see! Laos is a Buddhist country, which is very popular in the region as a whole. I was content with simply standing outside most of the temples because the exterior architecture is always my favorite part. Since most of the names were in Lao, I can’t tell you what these are called or exactly where to find them. Go wander. You’ll find plenty.

Pha That Luang (the Golden Stupa) is probably Vientiane’s best-known temple. We took a very long walk to get there, but it was really beautiful:

When we were done with temples, we spent our time walking along the Mekong River and seeking out iced coffee, Korean food, and the spiciest curries. There was also a large and helpful night market where we picked up a USB cord and a pair of sunglasses. We enjoyed watching competing zumba classes blast their music and bust their moves shortly before sunset, too! No pictures, unfortunately, but a lot of laughter.

The night market snaked along the edge of the river. I took this picture from a rooftop restaurant and bar about three storeys up.
One of the many seafood restaurants we passed. We saw the fishermen bringing in their daily catch, too.

Vientiane was a quiet, relaxing place to start our end-of-school adventure. It’s unlike Singapore in every way, which we both really enjoyed.

And what’s not to love about a place with sunsets like these?


We spent more time in Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang and I took more photos, so stay tuned for those posts! I’m flying back to the US on Sunday so it might be a few days, but I’ll get to them as soon as I can. Happy travels!

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