Travel Guide: Vientiane

My last travel hurrah in Southeast Asia was a week in Laos with my friend Kyle. He’s pretty cool so I’d recommend clicking here and learning more about him. 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 (Kyle) and a pair of sunglasses (me). 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.

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The night market snaked along the edge of the river. I took this picture from a rooftop restaurant and bar about three storeys up.
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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?

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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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