VIDEO: First Impressions of Vientiane

If I could count the amount of times I’ve heard ‘Vientiane is the most boring capital city in all of Southeast Asia, I’d be rich by now 😉 If one bases how boring a place is by the number of tourist attractions a city has to offer, Vientiane would indeed deserve a lackluster grade; however, considering the city offers cheap accommodations, a diverse spread of affordable food (both local and international) and a few noteworthy temples, museums and attractions worth visiting, it is the kind of city that is a decent stopover – for a night or two – for those heading north to Luang Prabang or south to Bangkok.

We spent our time catching up on work (our hotel offered the first decent wifi connection we’ve had in weeks) and attempting to visit attractions such as Wat Si Saket and Patuxai (the Triumphal Arch). I say ‘try’ because – as will become apparent in the video – we missed out on entering both because we put food (an Indian feast) ahead of sightseeing. By the time we reached each it was already 16:00, which much to our chagrin was closing time.

The highlight of our wanders around town was catching sunset along the Mekong river where locals, expats and tourists enjoyed eating and exercising.

Although this video isn’t a comprehensive guide to Vientiane, we feel it offers a glimpse into a city that is often overlooked on the tourist trail.

Video Transcript:

Today we’re visiting Vientiane – the capital of Laos – and unlike other cities in Southeast Asia, which are the capitals of other big nations like Bangkok in Thailand, Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia or Hanoi or Saigon in Vietnam this is a very small and quaint capital city.

This city gets a little bit of a bum rap, which I don’t think is entirely justified.

There are not a lot of attractions here per say but it is the kind of place where you can come and just out and relax. There is really good food and it is cheap. It is a good hub to get to different places in the country. You can get to Luang Prabang in the north or you can head south to Savannakhet or 4000 islands.

This afternoon we wanted to visit Wat Si Saket but unfortunately we left it a bit too late. The temple has already closed, so we can’t actually go inside but we’re going to give you a little tour of the surroundings. Get here before four PM people!

This is the place I was most excited to visit. We made it to the Triumphal Arch and we are going to be climbing all the way up. It is only a couple stories high.

Why the sad face? We seem to be a roll here because we just got here and apparently it is closed. It closed at four o’clock just like the temple closed at four o’clock and we missed it because we wanted to eat Indian food. We put Indian food before sightseeing. Well, actually you did. Oh, be quiet!

We had three major things planned. So far two of those have become absolute failures. Let’s see if we can make it to the Mekong river before we miss sunset.

Normally when we travel to a destination we like to spend six to seven days basically close to a week because we do have online work and jobs. But Vientiane was unfortunately just a stopover so we only really had one day to go out and explore.

This is a bit of an unusual capital in the sense that it is very small and it doesn’t necessarily offer a lot of attractions for visitors. However, I really enjoyed being able to spend a few days here and just relax and enjoy the surroundings because it has a very peaceful feel.

Have you been to Vientiane before?  How was your experience compared to ours?  Is it somewhere you’d like visit or would you skip it?

Our first impressions traveling to Vientiane, Laos travel video


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