This article provides information to visit Vientiane in 2 days (two or three days): what to do in Vientiane, hotels and where to stay in Vientiane, and how to get around Vientiane.
Vientiane, the Laotian capital and largest city in the country where there only used to be dirt roads and street vendors, now filled with backpacker hostels, bars, coffee shops and even a night market along the Mekong. The pace is still much slower than any other Southeast Asian capital and the charm of the city remains.
Do not rush, when in Vientiane, or Laos in general. The style is laid-back and that’s the most enjoyable part of it. Visit temples, relax, enjoy the serenity, cool off with a glass of Beer Lao (probably served with ice-cubes) and pick up ping kai (grilled chicken), khao naew (sticky rice) and a deliciously spicy papaya salad from street vendors for dinner.
Tourism has caught on and it was quite a shock to return after 10 years being away. The feel may have changed a bit but, the food is just as good or maybe even better than I remember.
How To Get There: Flight to Vientiane, Taxi from Airport
A great thing about flying into Vientiane, is that the airport is 3.5km away from central Vientiane.
Tourist visa cost USD $30 for 30days and can be obtained on arrival. You’ll need 2 passport photos and your passport needs to be valid for at least 6 months upon entry date.
From the airport to the city, there are taxis at fixed cost with prepaid coupons for 54,000Kip (USD $6).
Getting Around in Vientiane: Local Transportation, Rent a Bicycle, Walking
The city is pretty small compared to other Asian capital so all activities can be covered by foot (though it can get really hot), or rent a bicycle for about 10,000Kip (<USD $2) per day.
Where to Stay in Vientiane: Vientiane Hotels, Hostels and Accommodation
There are many hotels and hostels along the Mekong River bank where most bars and restaurants are.
Sihome Backpackers Garden – For USD $12.50 you can get a private double room with free WiFi, air-conditioning and breakfast included. Walking distance (5 mins) from the Mekong River. For USD $7, you can stay in their 8-Bed Dormitory (all female dormitory available).
Thawee Guesthouse – for USD $15 you can get a private double room with air-conditioning and free WiFi and private bath. It is 5 minutes away from the Mekong River.
If you want to splurge a bit, for USD $30 at Win Hotel you can get a private double room with air-conditioning, free WiFi, and private bath. This hotel is 5 minutes away from the Mekong river by foot and night markets.
What to do in Vientiane – Vientiane Activities, Sights and Attractions
Pha That Luang : the Great Sacred Stupa, the National Symbol of Laos and a symbol of Buddhist Religion. Entrance Fee: 5,000 Kip (<USD $1)
Wat Si Saket : the Temple with over a thousand buddhas. Beautiful and serene temple. It is supposedly Vientiane’s oldest surviving temple. Entrance Fee: 5,000Kip (<USD $1)
Wat Ho Phakeo : Beautiful Temple and Garden.
Patuxai : Victory Monument – Laos’ own Arc de Triomphe. You can climb up to see views of Vientiane.
COPE Visitor Centre : a look into the history of Laos. Entrance Fee: Free
Mekong Riverside Night Market: after watching a gorgeous sunset along the Mekong (or after a fun outdoors Tai Chi/Aerobics Class for 3,000Kips) walk over to the night market, selling tourist souvenirs, clothes and other travel knacks.
Eat Loti – a crepe with condensed milk wrapped in newspaper, purchased on the side of the road, one of my favorites: a version of Indian ‘roti’ with condensed milk, great dessert!
How To Get from Vientiane to Luang Prabang by Bus, Plane or Boat
Bus: roughly 10hrs, 140,000-170,000Kip (USD $15-20) for VIP buses, 70,000Kip for ordinary buses (USD $7.50)
Where to Go from Vientiane
Not sure where to go next? Read this
Do you only have 24hrs in Vientiane? Read this. What did you do in Vientiane? What else did you do? Share your travel experience with us!
If you plan to visit Laos, check out our articles in the Laos section!