The capital of Laos – Vientiane – is located on the northeastern bank of the Mekong River and is strikingly different from other capitals of Southeast Asia. Life here is calm, measured and the prevailing atmosphere is more like a small provincial town. Vientiane attracts tourists with numerous Buddhist temples and colorful markets.
How to get to Vientiane
According to baglib, Vientiane Airport is located 4 km from the city. Since there are no direct flights from Russia to Laos, you can get to Vientiane through Thailand, Cambodia or Vietnam. The duration of the flight, excluding docking, is about 10.5 hours.
Flights to Vientiane are operated by: Thai Airways 2 flights a day from Bangkok, Lao Airlines 3 times a week and Vietnam Airlines (daily) from Hanoi, Vietnam Airlines (daily) from Ho Chi Minh City, AirAsia from Kuala Lumpur 3 times a week, Vietnam Airlines (daily) from Phnom Penh.
From Moscow, Vietnam Airlines operates flights to Ho Chi Minh City, and Aeroflot to Bangkok.
Most hotels provide pickup from Vientiane Airport. In addition, you can use the services of a taxi (about 6 USD per car) or a more budget option – a tuk-tuk (about 4 USD).
Movement around the country
Local airlines Lao Airlines and Lao Air connect the main cities of the country with domestic flights. Lao Airlines from Vientiane operates: 3-5 flights a day to Luang Prabang, one flight a day to Pakse and 4 flights a week to Hui Xai.
The choice of accommodation options is very diverse, from cheap guest houses to upscale boutique hotels. Many new hotels have been opened in recent years.
The cost of living, as in most other countries, depends on the season. High season – October-April, May, low season – June-September.
Traffic is much more relaxed than in other South Asian capitals. To move around the city, you can use a tuk-tuk or taxi, there are also buses, but they are not particularly comfortable. It is always better to agree on the cost of a tuk-tuk train or a taxi in advance in order to avoid unpleasant surprises. The approximate cost of a taxi is 0.6 USD per kilometer. A short trip by tuk-tuk will cost the tourist about 1 USD.
Bicycles are one of the best ways to get around Vientiane. Bicycle rental services are provided by most hotels. To rent, you will need an identity document (passport or driver’s license) and also a small cash deposit. The rental price is about 1.60 USD per day.
Banks and exchangers are concentrated in the city center. When exchanging currency, you should pay attention to the fact that some banks may charge a commission. Finding an ATM should not be a problem, they are located throughout the city. An important point: some ATMs do not accept all types of cards.
Thai baht and US dollars are accepted almost everywhere, while a traveler can pay with a credit card only in travel agencies, as well as in large shops and restaurants.
Cuisine and restaurants
There is no shortage of restaurants in Vientiane, almost all types of cuisines are represented here: European, Chinese, Thai, local, etc. There are several very nice pubs in the Mekong waterfront area, which always have delicious local beer and spicy snacks in their assortment.
Shopping: Vientiane shops
For shopping, you can go to the “Morning Market” (Morning Market), it is located on the corner of Thanon Lane Xang and Thanon Khu Vieng. The market is located in a two-story building: the first floor – textiles and electronics, the second – clothes, jewelry and jewelry.
The main local rule for a successful purchase is bargaining, the initial price can be reduced by 3-4 times. Despite its name, the market is open not only in the morning, it is open from 09.00 to 16:00.
Entertainment and attractions of Vientiane
Guests of Vientiane can go on an excursion to Buddha Park, which is located 24 km from the city and is a fantastic sculpture park. The main attractions of the capital are Buddhist monasteries: Pha Luang stupa (1566), Wat Phra Keo temple (1565, the famous “Emerald Buddha” from this temple is now in Bangkok), Wat Si Muan temple (the spirit lives here – defender of the city), an amazing stupa without doors Tat Dam (“Black Stupa”, 16th century), as well as the oldest temple in the city of Wat Si Saket (with 6840 Buddha images).