The Slow and Simple Life in Vientiane

The Slow and Simple Life in Vientiane

Vientiane is a city that is slowly modernising, with new buildings starting to dot its skyline. At the same time it is rich in French colonial architecture and surrounded by pristine natural landscapes. The people here live with simplicity, a delight for all those who visit.

Central

The central business district of Hong Kong island is where it all begins. Designed to be consistent with the beliefs of Feng Shui , the futuristic architectures and buildings which pierce the sky house financial institutions, department stores, and all manner of businesses that somehow manage to keep the Chinese culture in their DNA.
The charm of this area is the bustle of people and traffic. You’ll notice the double decker trams, a symbol of this city. It’s the perfect spot to see fascinating architecture, and do some shopping.

Sightseeing

Nam Ngum Dam

This is not only an important electricity source for the country, but it’s also a famous recreational spot and tourist attraction. Despite that fact that over 200 square metres of natural forests had to be inundated for the dam, it seems a worthy investment for green energy. The dam provides not only energy for Vientiane, but also makes enough electricity to sell to neighbouring Thailand.

Wat Sisaket

Also known as Wat Satasaram or (in short) Wat Saen. It has this name because the cloister wall is decorated with many ceramic and silver Buddha images kept in wall nooks. All of the small and large Buddha images together once amounted to over 100,000 pieces, but sadly these days they number in only the thousands. This is the only temple that was not burned or sacked during wartime, allowing generations of Laotians and travellers to appreciate and admire its unique architecture.

Pha That Luang

This temple is usually one of the first spots visitors seek out. It is considered a national symbol of Laos. The beautiful stupa is shaped like a lotus and is said to have been around for hundreds of thousands of years. Many also believe that a holy relic of the Lord Buddha is inside the stupa. Although it has been damaged through the years, today it has been reconstructed and restored for future generations. It is located to the northeast of Patuxai.

More Info: Open from 8:00 – 16:00, but closed from 12:00 – 13:00. Admission is 5,000 Kip.

Patuxai or Arc de Triomphe

This is a city landmark and famous photo spot for people who visit Vientiane. It was built in dedication to the people who fought in the struggle for independence from France before the communist revolution. Do not forget to take photos from the top of the monument as well. You’ll get to see a wonderful panoramic view of the city. The price to climb the tower is only 2,000 Kip and it is open from 8:00 – 17:00 hrs.

More Info: Located on Lang Xang Avenue. Admission: 2,000 Kip. Open from 8:00 – 17:00 hrs.

Shopping

Nikone Handicrafts

Opened for over 10 years, this shop sells local products in chic collections. You will find fine cloths created with Laotian expertise, clothing, bags, sarongs and scarves. Shoppers can find everything from cotton, silk, and cotton/silk blends. It’s not surprising that there are always orders from abroad, including countries like Germany, Japan, Singapore and the United States.

Satri Lao

A cute boutique that caters to women, with a variety of clothing and jewellery. You can find almost anything you need from handbags to antiques, and almost all shoppers will be lured into spending money (some more than others.)

More Info: Opens Monday – Saturday 9:00 – 20:00 hrs, 10:00 – 19:00 Sunday. Tel. 856-21-212-443-84

Eating

Xayoh Cafe Restaurant, Vientiane

When you need something different, Xayoh Café Restaurant serves pizzas with a variety of toppings to be enjoyed with wine. The atmosphere is fun and airy, with large glass windows. You can also have the pizza delivered without a delivery fee.

More Info: On Samsenthai Rd., near the Lao National Cultural Centre. Tel. +856 21 262 111

Pho Zap

With an authentic recipe that is over 50 years old, this noodle shop is always crowded with locals. Upon entering, waiters bring you a large vegetable tray before receiving your order of beef or pork noodle soup. The table also has plenty of condiments, including a special shrimp paste. Take one spoonful and melt it into your hot soup for an unforgettably savoury taste.

More Info: Open for your delight from 8:00 – 15:00. Tel. +856 21 252 555

Vangthong Evening Food Market

This is a favourite haunt for locals looking for a quick dinner. Filled with Laotian delicacies, you won’t be disappointed if you stop here to try the many pop-up vendors.

Open: Approximately 17:00 – 20:00 hrs.

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