I spent 2 days and nights in Vientiane, and personally it was one of my favorite places on this RTW trip so far…a combination of the slow pace, laid back Laos lifestyle, and the upbeat vibrancy of Bangkok. So here goes…my top tips for things to do in Laos’ capital:
1. Eat at Full Moon Cafe – delicious food of all types, and huge portions for a reasonable price…what more could you want? I would recommend the Stir Fried Shanghai Noodle…yummy!
2. Walk down to the river and just sit in the park area in the sunshine.
3. Go to Wat Si Saket, one of the most beatiful and tranquil temples in the area, and for only 5000 kip (about 40p), it’s well worth the entry fee.
4. Go to Pha That Luang, the incredible golden monument/temple that sits about 3km north of Vientiane city centre. Try to go in the late afternoon, around 3pm (it closes at 4), to see the setting sun cast a gorgeous light over it.
5. Don’t book anywhere to stay in advance…there’s masses and masses of hotels and guesthouses lining the streets so it’s much more fun to just turn up and check them out for yourself. Most places will allow you to see the room too before you commit to staying there.
6. If you can’t decide where to stay, as there’s just too much choice and it can be quite overwhelming, then I would suggest Souphaphone Guesthouse. The rates are good, the rooms are clean and comfortable, there’s free WiFi, and the staff are absolutely lovely.
7. Get a full body massage at a place called Champa, down one of the side streets leading off from Nam Phu fountain square.
8. Get cocktails from Daafa, a bar along the main strip, Th Setthathirat. They have a 50% off happy hour from 7-9pm…I highly recommend the drink called Greenpeace – it was absolutely delicious!
9. Continue your bar crawl and head to a place called Khop Chai Deu, which is always packed with tourists and locals alike, serves food and drink late into the night, and has excellent live music to accompany your evening. Or if you feel like something a bit more interesting, go to Fuji Sushi restaurant for some delicious (and not too expensive) selections of all things Japanese.
10. Go to Talat Sao Market…it’s huge and sells pretty much anything you can think of, including fabrics, toiletries and jewelry just to name a few. There is also soon to be a Talat Sao Mall right next to the market, which I’m sure will be just as eclectic.