Vientiane, Laos: Travel/Tourist Information Guide
Vientiane is the capital city of Laos. It is a small town, but it has a pretty relaxing atmosphere. It is full of temples that are just amazing, it has a beautiful riverside you can walk along, and it has a pretty tasty national beer called Beerlao.
Transportation in and around Vientiane
Before getting in Laos, you must have a visa. Visas are available on arrival at certain points. You can also get a visa in advance at a Lao Embassy. Otherwise, getting in Laos is pretty easy with the many options you have. The first option is by plane via the Vientiane's Wattay Airport. There are about 10 direct international flights, but this is slowly changing. The airport is located just 4km from the city center. You can get from the airport to the city via taxi or have an arranged pick-up service from your hotel. Another option of getting in Vientiane is by train. There aren't direct trains to Vientiane, but there is a train that goes to Tha Naleng which is just 13km from Vientiane. The last option is by road. You can get in Vientiane by road from Thailand via the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge;m from Vietnam; and from Cambodia.
Once you arrive in Vientiane getting around the city is pretty easy. There isn't much traffic however the streets lack signage. Getting around Vientiane is possible by taxi. There is only one taxi company available in Vientiane. The official taxis have to be persuaded to turn their meters on, and the ones that are not official have to be bargained with for the price before setting off. Another way to get around Vientiane is by tuk-tuk or jumbo. The tuk-tuks in Vientiane are considered as a public transport so the driver picks up as many people as possible. Tuk-tuk drivers can always be bargained with about the price. Yet another way to get around Vientiane is by bus. There are blue-and-white buses and new white minibuses that connect the center of the city with the suburbs. The buses do not have signs in English, but they do have (usually) numbers displayed on the front. Two more options to get around the city is by foot, which is a pretty good choice since the city is walkable and by renting a car. But, the best way to get around Vientiane is by bike. Riding a bike in Vientiane is pretty safe since there isn't much traffic.
Even though it is a small city there are a lot of things that you can see in Vientiane. To begin with, you must visit the Lao National Museum where you can learn more about the history of Laos. Then you must see the Patuxai (Victory Gate) and climb up to the 7th floor for a great view of central Vientiane. The best thing that you can see in Vientiane are the temples and stupas. First of all, visit the Wat Si Saket which is considered to be the oldest standing temple in Vientiane. In was built in 1818 and it wasn't destroyed in the raids that caught Vientiane. Next, you should visit the Black Stupa (That Dam). It is a mythical abode of a seven-headed dragon which is supposed to protect the city. Finally, the most important religious monument of the city and the national symbol that you must visit is the Pha That Luang.