Being the greatest city of Laos, Vientiane offers a multitude of recreational activities to the public. This place has everything ranging from magnificent museums and temples to a sprawling night market, to splendid bicycle tours. Without further ado, let’s dive right in and see what Vientiane has to offer to its visitors.
Best Things to Do in Vientiane | Laos
1. Become enthralled by the sacred grounds of Xieng Khuan
Situated in the outskirts of Vientiane, Xieng Khuan Buddha Park houses upwards of 200 religious statues. This sacred park was built by a monk around 1958. His crowning achievement was the unique 40 m tall Piece de Resistance sculpture. The sculptures carved in this park take great influence from both Hinduism and Buddhism. Some of the other noteworthy sculptures include the three-headed elephant called Indra, and deities with multiple limbs. Those with a keen interest in flawless craftsmanship will have an enjoyable time here.
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2. Check out the lively Night Market
The colorful Night Market of Vientiane is always bustling with people. This place houses numerous carts and tents selling a wide variety of goods. This is a great place to purchase souvenirs, and the food carts are known to sell authentic local food. Unfortunately, this place only stays open till 9:30 PM, so you should try to arrive early to make the most of your limited time.
3. Reach the top of the Patuxai Victory Monument
Closely resembling the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, the Patuxai Victory Monument is one of Vientiane’s most sought-after national monuments. This tourist attraction is known for boasting several symbols of Hindu deities. Upon your visit, you will also notice five towers that were greatly influenced by traditional native architecture. The Patuxai Victory Monument is a segment of the Patuxai Park. This picturesque park is ideal for an afternoon stroll, and you will also be allowed to reach the viewing platform at the top of the monument.
4. Appreciate the beauty of the historic Pha That Luang
Pha That Luang, established in 300 CE, is admired for possessing a massive golden stupa that accurately represents both Laotian culture and Buddhism. Many believe a portion of the Buddha’s breast bone has been preserved here, making this a sacred place. Moreover, this place is known for organizing the Boun That Luang festival every November. This festival lasts for three days and is easily Vientiane’s most remarkable event.
5. Learn about the Laos Civil War at the COPE Visitor Center
There is a tragic history behind the COPE Visitor Center, situated in Kouteieng Road. During the Laos Civil War between 1964 and 1973, close to 260 million bombs were deployed in the region. Many individuals ended up losing their limbs amidst the explosion. Some have even become victims later on, by accidentally stepping on unexploded land mines.
COPE has effortlessly worked towards the treatment and recovery of these individuals after the war. The Visitor Centre has several galleries where you will learn about the civil war, and how COPE has taken initiatives to assist the victims. Furthermore, the prosthetic workshop is also open to visitors.
6. Learn about the former president at Kaysone Phomvihane Museum
Kaysone Phomvihane was the most respected communist leader of Laos, and the Kaysone Phomvihane Museum was established in his honor. Although the former president maintained a private life, this museum allows visitors to extensively learn about him.
As you step inside the museum, you will notice several bronze statues, as well as artifacts and objects belonging to Kaysone. In addition to that, you will also find a replica of his childhood home inside the museum.
7. Explore the history of Laos at Lao National Museum
Laos has a rich cultural heritage, and the best way to explore the region’s history is by visiting the Lao National Museum. The museum’s building was originally constructed during the French colonial period, and there are numerous artifacts on display. Some of these include sculptures, jewelry, old art pieces, photographs, and so on. Furthermore, you will be amused to find galleries showcasing dinosaur bones and ancient pottery bits.
8. Become amazed at Wat Si Muang
The famous temple of Wat Si Muang in Vientiane is hailed for its traditional Laotian architecture. Both the interior and exterior of the temple boast marvelous Buddhist designs, and it truly is a sight to behold. The temple takes its name from the mythical Laotian woman known as Si Muang. According to folklore, the temple emerged 400 years ago after the woman offered herself to the deities. This place is frequented by several worshippers daily.
9. Rent a cycle and tour the city
The wonderful city of Vientiane is perfect for a relaxing bicycle tour, as there are plenty of stunning vistas and incredible monuments to gaze upon. Due to the immense popularity of cycling in the area, many companies have already started providing a bicycle rental service. These services are relatively inexpensive, and you have the option of hiring a bike only for a few hours. On your journey, you will catch a glimpse of several temples, boutiques, and small villages. However, the banks of the renowned Mekong River have the most scenic routes.
10. Visit the majestic National Ethnic Cultural Park
The National Ethnic Cultural Park is only a short distance from the majestic Vientiane city, and it is known for its replicas of traditional houses. You will learn about the types of shelters different ethnic groups of Laos would reside in. Thankfully, these houses are open to the public.
Additionally, this place features several intricate dinosaur statues and even a tiny zoo. If you plan on spending an entire day here, you might even witness spectacular cultural shows when the sun goes down.
The Laotian city of Vientiane is undoubtedly perfect for a quiet family vacation. There are several museums and historic monuments for you to explore, and the dining options are fantastic. Other than that, the lively night market is a great place to find unique items. Book a ticket to Vientiane on your next holiday!