Vientiane Sights and POI
Vientiane has a unique laidback feel you’re bound to fall in love with from your first visit there. The historic centre allures visitors with its grand temples, magnificent statues, and colourful boulevards that talk about this capital’s far-reaching history. The unique combination of culture, religion, and authenticity create a very special vibe, relaxing and energetic at the same time.
Pha That Luang
The national monument ind the most revered temple in the country, the gilded Pha That Luang resembles a lotus bud. It is located approximately one and a half kilometre east of Patouxai. History and religion buffs, do not miss! It looks quite different from other Buddhist stupas you could have seen before and is oh-so-alluring, due to its golden hue.
Pha That Luang symbolizes the Buddhist religion and Lao sovereignty.
Visit it at sundown (come on, get up early at least once!), as the sunlight will make it come to life and glow into the horizon. If you’re lucky and you’re in Vientiane during the That Luang Festival, you’ll see the stupa covered in lights, which is a unique experience.
Entrance fee is LAK5,000, and rental of a long skirt is another LAK5,000 (less than USD1). Open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 8 am to 12 pm and 1 pm to 4 pm.
Wat Si Saket
High on your sightseeing list should be Wat Si Saket. It is the oldest temple in the city, so it’s full of history. The sim (ordination hall) has a selection of beautiful murals, which portray Buddha representations. Although the images resembling Buddha on the altar aren’t that notable, the carved wood located in front of the altar is an exquisite example of nineteen-century woodcarving. we found it quite impressive. The shaded galleries are the ideal spot to relax and breathe in the atmosphere – if you take your time, you’ll feel the tranquillity which fills the place.
The entrance ticket is more than reasonable – LAK5,000/less than USD1. The temple can be visited from 8 am to 12 pm, and 1 pm to 4 pm. Keep in mind that it is closed on public holidays.
Vientiane has its own replica of the Arch of Triumph, and though it represents an adapted version featuring a bunch of unusual architectural details typical exclusively for the Lao culture, it is still very imposing.
Climbing to the summit is a must if you want to admire the panoramic view over Vientiane. You certainly don’t want to miss that.
Patuxia is located in the commercial district in the proximity of Th Lan Xang. You can visit the monument from 8 am to 5 pm for LAK3,000.
Lao national Museum
If you like to discover the cultural history of a place during your travels, then the Lao National Museum should be on your list. What we really liked about this museum is that it includes information from a far-reaching timeframe: namely from prehistoric times to contemporary times.
On the ground floor, you’ll find mostly a conglomeration of ancient artifacts such as pottery shards, dinosaur bones, and sculptures that go a long way. Although the exhibits look sporadic and confusing at first sight, somehow they trigger your curiosity and interest.
As you go upstairs, you will see that the exhibits portray the eventful history of Laos – the Siamese invasions, the French colonial period, the Vietnam War with the main focus on the battle for independence.
The museum is open daily, between 8 am-12 pm, and 1 pm-4 pm and the admission fee is LAK10,000 or USD1.20. Getting there is quite easy since the museum is located in the centre of the city in Thanon Samsenthai. This is one of the most important boulevards in the city and is parallel to the river.
What we like about Vientiane is that it’s a quaint and easy-going tourist destination where the locals have managed to preserve their sense of humour and hospitality.
Aside from the attractions listed, we suggest you taking your time to just stroll along the streets. There are a lot of unexpected architectural treasures waiting to be discovered. All you have to do is to keep your eyes open. This is where the untouched charm of Vientiane lies.