Visiting Vientiane, Laos

The Sleepy Capital City of Vientiane, Laos

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Unlike the ancient capital city of Luang Prabang, whose 32 temples coerce visitors into hurry-up mode, the current capital of Vientiane encourages a leisurely pace. Here the brown Mekong River, virtually hidden behind a high earthen berm that protects the town during annual monsoon flooding, flows sluggishly past parks and small, exquisite temples that dot the waterfront. With no high-rise buildings and broad sidewalks that lie deserted in the searing midday sun, Vientiane may be the sleepiest capital in SE Asia.

Wat Ong Teu in downtown Vientiane

Wat Ong Teu in downtown Vientiane

On an especially hot afternoon I strolled for hours, checking out a handful of Wats, museums, the old Presidential Palace, statues, and street after side street crammed with French colonial inspired architecture. Despite attracting thousands of visitors from neighboring Thailand, who regularly cross the Friendship bridge to avail themselves of Laos’ low prices, Vientiane’s boulevards were deserted. When the heat became unbearable I retired to the cool interiors of Wats or dark corners of restaurants, where I shoveled local delicacies into my mouth as fast as I could.

Can’t view the above slide show about Vientiane, Laos? Click here.

In the end, Vientiane was all about food and temples and gentility, in everything from its delicious food to its serene residents.

6 Comments on “The Sleepy Capital City of Vientiane, Laos

  1. enjoyed your Ventianne photos, reminding me again about our visit to that lovely place. thanks for sharing photos and views of Ventianne.

  2. In the useless facts category, I was told that Vientiane is one of only two border capital cities in the world (excluding micro-countries like the Vatican).

    • Maybe useless, but certainly interesting, Mark! Thanks for sharing.

    • What’s the other one????    I love Vientiane.   Great food!!!

      • Lome in Togo (a narrow country in west Africa). That is where I was told the piece of trivia. I wonder if there are others apart from micro-countries (like Singapore, Monaco,…).

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