Things To Do In Vientiane
THINGS TO DO IN VIENTIANE
War Museum Vientiane
A must visit to the Lao War Museum in Vientiane will confirm that Laos is a communist country. The Lao War Museum is large and full of many interesting Vietnam war exhibits. More bombs were dropped on the Plain of Jars and on the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos than all of bombs of WWII. We saw the war museum with a mechanic from Kalgoorlie who's working near the Ho Chi Minh Trail. He's seen many huge craters and daily there are finds of unexploded bombs near the Australian copper/gold mine near the Vietnamese boarder with Laos. Eye candy in uniform are female military War Museum attendants. The chorus "women in uniform" kept ringing in my head. The photo of the Lao War Museum is at the top of this things to do in Viantiane webpage.
Book Mekong River Cruise
- Day Mekong River Cruise from "Si Chiangmai" near Vientiane.
- If you're in Vientiane in the second week of hot April, go swimming in the Mekong River near the Thai Lao Friendship on the Thai side near Nong Khai town. Bring a big water pistol or super soaker for the famous Thai festival of Songkran near Nong Khai. If you're not in a car with the window up, you WILL get wet on this day trip near Vientiane.
Morning Market Vientiane
I love this morning market near the Vientiane Bus station. It's so different than any market/shopping mall you've ever seen. It's so exotic. Visiting the local Vientane markets is a must thing to do. The bustling market is a very interesting eye opener as to how Isaan people of Vientiene shop, prepare food, do business and see unusual foods. There's the tourist evening markets near the Mekong.
Bus Tour of Vientiane
- Buddhist temples
- Arch near grand presidential palace.
- Cool gardens
- Banks of the Mekong River viewed from near a large Laotian king's statue.
- A day trip to the other side of the Mekong River from Vientiane into Thailand could include waterfalls in the "Green Season":
- Waterfalls near Vientiane, including. The Wang Nam Mok waterfall which is 18km up the Mekong River from Vientiane.
- The Than Thong Waterfall (photo below) which cascades into the Mekong River near the the Nong Khai Skywalk. Swim and enjoy the cool jungle environment of waterfalls near the Mekong River near Vientiane. The videos below were filmed 18km, up the Mekong from Wattayinternational airport near the Vientiane CBD. You'll need your passport to cross the Mekong River into Thailand to get to these beautiful waterfalls.
Dragon Boat Race
Big dragon boat races are held in September on a swift flowing Mekong River in towns near Vientiane. See photo of dragon boat racing on the Mekong near Vientiane in the video below.
NIGHT LIFE VIENTIANE
Most of the year except Christmas and New Year, it can be hot and humid. Relaxing poolside during the day and going out in the cool of the night is a recommended thing to do in Vientiane.
Most evenings there's a sunset market along the Mekong River in Vientiane. The Isaan street food is quite good and with less deep fried oil, is generally more healthy than Thai or Western cuisine, though the French cuisine such as pastries are delicious.
There are bars near Vientiane's centre with beautiful Laotian women but my wife wouldn't let me go. Visit, bars and nightclubs in Vientiane. You'll see some beautiful people. Mixing of the races such as French and Asian have produced some good genetic combinations.
Restaurants Near Vientiane
- There are many good Vietnamese restaurants near Vientiane's CBD. We ate a lot of great Vietnamese food at the Family Hotel. The green vegetable dish is recommended but avoid the tofu.
- As a former French colony there are still some French and other European style restaurants to enjoy near the Mekong River or bustling streets of Vientiane.
Restaurants near the centre of Vientiane dish up good food but as in most capital cities, is double the price of restaurant food on the other side of the nearby Mekong River in Si Chiang Mai.
A legacy of the Vietnam war was displacement of many Laotian families. One of the pleasures of life is giving. I gave 5 years in the prime of my life as an Australian Volunteer Abroad. A poor but great experience. Try spending a time visiting orphanages near Vientianne. Check out accommodation and other facilities. Interact with orphans near Vientiane. You'll be inspired by the children of Vientiane.
Gambling in Vientiane at the The Dansavanh Nam Ngum Resort Casino located at Route Luang Prabang, Vientiane.
Buddhist Retreat Accommodation
Near Vientiane I met a Buddhist monk from Perth Australia. We travelled over Friendship Bridge by bus into Thailand and then tuk-tuk to Nong Khai border town. Gavin gave up a well paid boiler maker job in Australia to do volunteer welding work at his forest monastery retreat in Thailand. Buddhist monks there provide retreat accommodation and therapy for drug addicts. Gavin hopes to set-up similar retreat accommodation and therapy in Perth.
Forest monks rarely travel and wear brown robes.
Massage in Vientiane.
The price of a massages in Vientiane is about $10. Photo of massage parlour at Don Chan Hotel.
If it's too humid for you in the day, relax by your hotel pool. The Mekong River is turbid brown and when flowing fast is too dangerous for swimming. Photo is of the roof Don Chan Hotel roof top swimming pool. A great way to cool off.
Bung Fai Rock Festival Vientiane
Stand back and watch locally made huge rockets either explode on bamboo launching pads or more usually rocket high above the clouds. Bung Phai date month is at the end of the dry season in May.
Bicycle Riding Vientiane
Vientiane is less busy than most capital cities in Asia. Find safe quiet, interesting streets to cycle along. The Mekong riverfront pedestrian boardwalk would be good to cycle along and see the sites. If it's hot, try evening but remember lights.