Greetings, fellow travelers! Journeying Jack here, back with another exciting edition of Suitcase Stories. Today, I’m thrilled to share with you my latest adventure in the charming capital city of Laos. If you’re planning a trip to this enchanting destination, you’re in luck, as I’ve compiled a list of the top 10 things to do in Vientiane that you simply cannot miss. So, buckle up and join me as we explore the hidden gems and must-see attractions that make up the top 10 things to do in Vientiane.
From ancient temples to bustling markets, Vientiane is a city that effortlessly blends the old with the new, offering a unique experience for every traveler. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or simply looking to soak up the local culture, my top 10 things to do in Vientiane list has got you covered. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the vibrant world of Vientiane and discover the top 10 things to do in this captivating city.
Discovering Vientiane’s Rich History
Vientiane, the capital city of Laos, is a city steeped in history and culture. From ancient temples to colonial architecture, there are plenty of opportunities to explore the city’s rich past. Here are some of the top 10 things to do in Vientiane to discover its history:
1. Visit the Buddha Park
The Buddha Park, also known as Xieng Khuan, is a sculpture park located on the outskirts of Vientiane. It features over 200 Buddhist and Hindu statues, including a 40-meter-long reclining Buddha. The park is a great place to learn about the religious history of Laos.
2. Explore the That Luang Stupa
That Luang is a gold-covered stupa that is considered the most important national monument in Laos. It is believed to contain a relic of the Buddha and is a symbol of Lao Buddhism. Visitors can explore the stupa and learn about its history and significance.
3. Visit the Lao National Museum
The Lao National Museum is located in a French colonial building and houses exhibits on the history and culture of Laos. Visitors can learn about the country’s prehistoric past, its colonial period, and its struggle for independence.
4. Walk along the Mekong River
The Mekong River is an important part of Laos’ history and culture. Visitors can take a stroll along the riverfront and see the traditional wooden houses and fishing boats that line the shore. The sunset views over the river are particularly stunning.
5. Explore the Haw Phra Kaew Temple
The Haw Phra Kaew Temple was originally built to house the Emerald Buddha, which is now located in Thailand. The temple has been restored and now houses a museum of Buddhist artifacts. Visitors can learn about the history of Buddhism in Laos and see some beautiful examples of Buddhist art.
6. Visit the Patuxai Monument
The Patuxai Monument is a war memorial that was built to commemorate those who fought for independence from France. The monument is located in the center of Vientiane and offers great views of the city from the top.
7. Explore the Wat Si Saket Temple
The Wat Si Saket Temple is one of the oldest temples in Vientiane and is known for its beautiful architecture and intricate carvings. Visitors can explore the temple and learn about its history and significance.
8. Visit the COPE Visitor Centre
The COPE Visitor Centre is a museum that focuses on the history of the Vietnam War and its impact on Laos. Visitors can learn about the use of cluster bombs in Laos and the work being done to clear them.
9. Explore the French Colonial Architecture
Vientiane was a French colony from 1893 to 1953, and the city still has many examples of French colonial architecture. Visitors can explore the old colonial buildings and learn about the city’s colonial past.
10. Visit the Vientiane Night Market
The Vientiane Night Market is a great place to experience the local culture and history. Visitors can browse the stalls selling traditional Lao handicrafts and sample local street food. The market is a great place to soak up the atmosphere of Vientiane at night.
These are just a few of the top 10 things to do in Vientiane to discover its rich history. Whether you’re interested in Buddhism, colonial history, or the Vietnam War, there is something for everyone in this fascinating city.
Exploring the Culinary Delights
When it comes to exploring the top 10 things to do in Vientiane, one cannot miss out on the culinary delights that the city has to offer. Vientiane is a food lover’s paradise, with a wide range of dishes that are sure to tantalize your taste buds. Here are some of the must-try dishes that you should not miss out on during your visit to Vientiane:
1. Khao Piak Sen
Khao Piak Sen is a popular noodle soup dish that is a staple in Laos cuisine. Made with rice noodles, chicken or pork broth, and a variety of herbs and spices, this dish is a perfect comfort food for any time of the day.
2. Tam Mak Hoong
Tam Mak Hoong, also known as papaya salad, is a spicy and tangy salad made with shredded green papaya, tomatoes, chili peppers, and lime juice. This dish is a perfect appetizer or side dish to accompany your main course.
Laap is a traditional Lao dish made with minced meat, herbs, and spices. This dish is usually served with sticky rice and is a perfect option for those who love spicy food.
4. Mok Pa
Mok Pa is a steamed fish dish that is wrapped in banana leaves and cooked with a variety of herbs and spices. This dish is a must-try for seafood lovers and is usually served with sticky rice.
5. Sai Oua
Sai Oua is a Lao sausage made with minced pork, lemongrass, and a variety of herbs and spices. This dish is usually served as an appetizer or snack and is a perfect option for meat lovers.
6. Beer Lao
No trip to Laos is complete without trying the local beer, Beer Lao. This beer is a perfect accompaniment to any meal and is a must-try for beer lovers.
7. Coconut Pancakes
Coconut pancakes are a popular dessert in Laos cuisine. Made with coconut milk and rice flour, these pancakes are a perfect sweet treat to end your meal.
8. Sticky Rice
Sticky rice is a staple in Laos cuisine and is usually served with most dishes. This rice is cooked in bamboo baskets and has a sticky texture that makes it perfect for dipping in sauces.
9. Lao Coffee
Lao coffee is a must-try for coffee lovers. This coffee is made with locally grown coffee beans and has a unique flavor that is sure to impress.
10. Fresh Fruit
Vientiane is home to a variety of fresh fruits that are available throughout the year. Some of the must-try fruits include mangoes, papayas, and dragon fruit.
In conclusion, exploring the culinary delights of Vientiane is one of the top 10 things to do in Vientiane. With a wide range of dishes to choose from, you are sure to find something that will satisfy your taste buds. So, make sure to try out these must-try dishes during your visit to Vientiane.
Unwinding in Nature’s Embrace
If you’re looking for a break from the hustle and bustle of Vientiane, there are plenty of opportunities to unwind in nature’s embrace. Here are some of the top 10 things to do in Vientiane that will help you relax and rejuvenate:
1. Buddha Park
Located just outside the city, Buddha Park is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in Buddhist art and culture. The park is home to over 200 statues of Buddha and other deities, as well as a giant reclining Buddha that measures over 40 meters long.
2. Phou Khao Khouay National Park
For a true escape into nature, head to Phou Khao Khouay National Park. This protected area is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, including elephants, tigers, and gibbons. Visitors can hike through the park’s lush forests, swim in its waterfalls, and even go kayaking on the Nam Leuk River.
3. Mekong River Sunset Cruise
Take a break from the city and enjoy a peaceful sunset cruise along the Mekong River. As you float along the river, you’ll be treated to stunning views of the city skyline and the surrounding countryside.
4. That Luang Lake
Located just a short drive from the city center, That Luang Lake is a tranquil oasis that’s perfect for a relaxing afternoon. Visitors can stroll along the lake’s scenic walking paths, rent a paddleboat, or simply sit and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.
5. Nam Ngum Lake
Another great option for a day trip from Vientiane is Nam Ngum Lake. This picturesque lake is surrounded by lush forests and rolling hills, and is a popular spot for fishing, boating, and swimming.
Whether you’re looking for a peaceful escape or an adventure in the great outdoors, Vientiane has plenty to offer. Don’t miss out on these top 10 things to do in Vientiane for a truly unforgettable experience.
A Spiritual Journey through Temples
Vientiane, the capital city of Laos, is a city steeped in history and culture. One of the best ways to experience this is by visiting the many temples scattered throughout the city. Here are the top 3 temples that should be on your list of “top 10 things to do Vientiane” for a spiritual journey:
1. Wat Si Saket
Wat Si Saket is one of the oldest temples in Vientiane, dating back to the 19th century. It is known for its unique architecture, with thousands of small Buddha statues lining the walls. The temple is also home to a museum that showcases Buddhist artifacts and relics.
2. Pha That Luang
Pha That Luang is the most important national monument in Laos and is a symbol of the country’s Buddhist heritage. The temple is a stunning gold-covered stupa that stands at 45 meters tall. It is believed to contain a relic of the Buddha and is a popular pilgrimage site for Buddhists.
3. Wat Ho Phra Keo
Wat Ho Phra Keo is a former royal temple that was built in the 16th century. It is known for its intricate carvings and beautiful gardens. The temple was once home to the Emerald Buddha, which is now housed in Bangkok’s Wat Phra Kaew.
Visiting these temples is not only a great way to learn about the history and culture of Laos but also to experience the spiritual side of the country. Make sure to add these temples to your list of “top 10 things to do Vientiane” for a truly unforgettable journey.
Shopping and Souvenir Hunting
No trip to Vientiane is complete without indulging in some shopping and souvenir hunting. Here are the top 10 things to do in Vientiane for shopping and souvenir hunting:
Talat Sao Market – This is the largest market in Vientiane and is a one-stop-shop for all your shopping needs. From clothes to electronics, you can find everything here.
Night Market – The night market is a great place to shop for souvenirs and handicrafts. You can find everything from traditional Lao textiles to handmade jewelry.
Morning Market – The morning market is a bustling market where you can find fresh produce, meat, and fish. It’s a great place to experience the local culture and pick up some ingredients for a home-cooked meal.
Lao Textile Museum and Shop – This museum and shop is a great place to learn about the traditional Lao textiles and purchase some unique pieces to take home.
Vientiane Center – This is a modern shopping mall with a variety of shops and restaurants. It’s a great place to escape the heat and indulge in some retail therapy.
Mekong Quilts – This social enterprise produces handmade quilts and other textiles using traditional techniques. The products are made by local women and the profits go towards supporting their communities.
Lao Disabled Women’s Development Center – This center produces a range of handicrafts made by disabled women. The products are unique and of high quality, and the profits go towards supporting the women and their families.
Lao Textiles – This shop produces high-quality textiles using traditional techniques. The products are unique and of high quality, and the profits go towards supporting the local community.
Vientiane Night Market – This market is a great place to shop for souvenirs and handicrafts. You can find everything from traditional Lao textiles to handmade jewelry.
T’ Shop – This tea shop sells a range of high-quality teas and tea-related products. It’s a great place to pick up some unique souvenirs for the tea-lover in your life.
So, these are the top 10 things to do in Vientiane for shopping and souvenir hunting. Don’t forget to add these to your itinerary and take home some unique souvenirs to remember your trip to Vientiane.
Experiencing the Nightlife and Entertainment
Vientiane is not only known for its cultural and historical landmarks, but also for its vibrant nightlife and entertainment scene. Here are the top 10 things to do in Vientiane at night:
Visit the Night Market – The Vientiane Night Market is a must-visit for anyone looking for a unique shopping experience. You can find everything from handmade crafts to delicious street food.
Enjoy a Sunset Cruise – Take a relaxing sunset cruise along the Mekong River and enjoy the stunning views of the city skyline.
Watch a Movie at the Cinema – Catch the latest Hollywood blockbusters or local films at the Vientiane Center, the largest shopping mall in the city.
Dance the Night Away at a Nightclub – Vientiane has a variety of nightclubs that cater to different music tastes. Some of the popular ones include Marina Club, Bor Pen Nyang, and Platinum Club.
Try Your Luck at a Casino – If you’re feeling lucky, head to one of the many casinos in Vientiane, such as the Dansavanh Nam Ngum Resort or the Savan Vegas Casino.
Watch a Traditional Lao Dance Performance – Experience the rich culture of Laos by watching a traditional Lao dance performance at the National Cultural Hall.
Sip Cocktails at a Rooftop Bar – Enjoy panoramic views of the city while sipping on delicious cocktails at one of the many rooftop bars in Vientiane, such as the Sky Bar or the 3 Merchants.
Sing Karaoke with Friends – Karaoke is a popular pastime in Laos, and Vientiane has plenty of karaoke bars where you can sing your heart out with friends.
Attend a Live Music Event – Check out the local music scene by attending a live music event at one of the many bars and clubs in Vientiane.
Relax with a Traditional Lao Massage – After a night of partying, unwind with a traditional Lao massage at one of the many spas in Vientiane.
With so many options for nightlife and entertainment, Vientiane is truly a city that never sleeps. Don’t miss out on these top 10 things to do in Vientiane at night.
In conclusion, the top 10 things to do in Vientiane offer a diverse and enriching experience for every traveler. From the rich history and culture to the vibrant markets and delicious cuisine, there’s something for everyone in this charming city. As Journeying Jack, I’ve had the pleasure of exploring many destinations, but Vientiane holds a special place in my heart.
The top 10 things to do in Vientiane have shown me that this city is not just a stopover destination, but a place where you can truly immerse yourself in the local culture and create lasting memories. So, whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or simply looking for a unique adventure, the top 10 things to do in Vientiane are sure to leave you with unforgettable experiences and stories to share on Suitcase Stories.
As you embark on your own journey to explore the top 10 things to do in Vientiane, remember to take the time to appreciate the beauty and charm of this often-overlooked gem. And who knows, you might just find yourself falling in love with Vientiane, just as I have. Until our next adventure, happy travels and may your suitcase always be filled with incredible stories!