Travel to Vientiane – A Travel Guide
Vientiane might not be the most vibrant capital city, but it is a great place to relax in this smallish city. The charm of Vientiane lies in its cultural diversity. While there are Buddhist pagodas all over the city, you can also see various French and Russian buildings. Over the years Vientiane has changed and now boats of world class bars and pubs, restaurants and hotels. This travel guide helps tells you how to go and where to go in Vientiane.
How to get in/out and around Vientiane
Vientiane is served by the small Watty International Airport. The airport code is VTE. The airport is located three kilometers from the city centre. International connections include Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Kunming, Nanning, Seoul, Busan, Da Nang, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Kunming, Siem Reap, Singapore, Phnom Penh. Domestic connections include Pakse, Luang Prabang and Savannakhet. Occasional planes might fly to Luang Namtha, Oudomaxy and Xiengkhouang. Generally the air fares are expensive and tourists either travel by bus or boat.
For information on land border crossing with other countries refer to the page International border crossings of Laos. A VIP bus service runs between Bangkok and Vientiane. Tickets can be book via any guesthouse or a tourist company. Though booking a ticket with a tourist company or guesthouse is expensive consider it, as a pick up is included from the guesthouse to the bus stop. For domestic transport, there are three bus terminals, central bus terminal, northern bus terminal and southern bus terminal. Bus timings are random and often confusing.
No boat service is available at the time of writing.
A train runs between Vientiane and Bangkok leaving Thanaleng train station at 5 PM and takes about 14 hours to reach Bangkok. Seat classes are hard sitting seats, soft sitting seats, sleeper class, air conditioned sleeper class and VIP class.
Tourist Sites in Vientiane
Wat Si Saket
Wat Si Saket is the only surviving temple after the city was destroyed by Siamese army in 1828. It was built by King Anouvong in 1818. The temple even holds a monastery It is located right in centre of the city on Lan Xang Road. This temple contains 6,840 statues of Buddha.
Patuxai (Victory Gate)
This huge memorial was built in 1957, in honor of the people who died in independence struggle against the French. It is situated in Lang Xang Avenue. Patuxai is surrounded by Patuxai park. Visitors can climb to the top of the monument between 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM. The top of the monument provides stunning panoramic view of the city.
Ho Phakeo Museum
The original temple was built in 1565 by King Saysetthathirath to house the Emerald Buddha which was eventually lost to Siamese. The latest renovation was done in 1936 and during the time of writing the museum was closed for further renovations. Unlike other temples which were converted to monasteries, Ho Phakeo was converted to museum in 1970. Ho Phakeo museum hosts the finest and valuable artifacts and sculptures of Lao. The museum shares neighborhood with Presidents’ Palace.
Pha That Luang (Great Sacred Stupa)
The most important and religious monument in Lao, Pha That Luang is a stupa which is covered in gold. Believed to be built in 3rd centuryBC, this stupa has been reconstructed several times. This stupa is a national symbol and symbolizes the unity of Lao people.
Vientiane is low on crime but it is advisable to be cautious. We recommend you to buy a travel insurance since frequent accidents occur while crossing the roads.