On the banks of the Mekong river and near the border to Thailand lies the capital of Laos – Vientiane. It is the largest city in Laos and therefore also the hub for commerce and administration. From street markets to pretty boutique hotels, French restaurants, glittering temples and tree-lined boulevards – the former French trading post has gained a lot of self-consciousness during the last years.
How to get there?
You can either fly to Vientiane (Wattay International Airport) or go there by bus. Most bigger cities offer regular connections. In case you want to fly in from Europe: So far there are no direct flights available.
Besides lots of temples and nice French architecture the COPE Visitor Center is worth a visit. It gives you information about prosthetics and the UXO (unexploded ordnance) that make them necessary. Furthermore the Xieng Khan Buddha Park is just a bus ride (public bus no. 14) away. It features more than 200 religious statues. Last but not least there are several markets: We enjoyed the Vangthong Evening Food Market. Whereas the Night Market only seems to offer cheap clothes and tourists souvenirs.
How long to stay?
For most travelers Vientiane can be seen as the start or the end of a journey through Laos. We used the city to take a break from the long journey to the south. Although there are quite a few things to do in the city we chose to only stay for 2 days. For those of you who are more interested in enjoying nature and go out to explore this might as well be the perfect length of stay. Vientiane is also a good place to head to Thailand and continue a journey through Southeast Asia.
Where to stay?
As you can imagine the whole city has lots of different types of accommodation to offer. We stayed at the Bayern Guest House as 1. the owner lived in Germany for more than 30 years and we were curious to hear his story and 2. it offered quite cheap, good and clean accommodation at 22 EUR per night/double room. The guest house is also quite close to the Evening Food Market.