How to Maximize Relaxation in Vientiane Laos

By Mark Wiens 9 Comments
Vientiane Laos
Crossing the street in Vientiane

Other than people running to Vientiane to make a Thailand visa run there are also numerous valuable things to do in the capital of Laos including lessons on relaxationism.

Vientiane has to be one of the most relaxing capital cities in the world.  It seems that no one is in a hurry and barely anyone has a schedule set in concrete.  Everyone floats by, calmly laughing, slowly relaxing, and passionately enjoying life.  Obviously men carry on sporting the natural shirt vent super casually.

Vientiane can be a welcome relief as no one has to dive off roads to avoid traffic or hustle human hordes like in many other Asian capital cities.

Vientiane fountain, Laos
Central Vientiane

I stayed near the main fountain in Vientiane at the Saysouly guest house.  It was a quiet and decent place to stay with a fantastic veranda to relax and hang out on.  There are loads of other hostels and hotels to choose from in the vicinity of that area.

One can freely notice an abundance of temples in Vientiane.  Walk around town a little and you will stumble into some great sites like the Black Stupa, the Wat Si Saket with 6,840 Buddha images, and the Golden Temple.

No one can argue about the prime quality of the food in Vientiane.  The people of Laos pride themselves on their eats and do a fantastic job at satisfying.

The selection of food from the streets to the sit down restaurants serving fine French cuisine and Indian food are spectacular.  I would have to say my favorite foods in Vientiane are the Laos style baguette sandwiches and sticky rice dipped in any Laos specialties.

There is a small food evening market on a street close to the main drag of hostels.

I would highly recommend venturing to this food street to get things like spring rolls, sticky rice, grilled fish, chicken, Laos curries, and a host of other delights.  The market compares to the street food fantasy in Luang Prabang which is a little further North.

Mekong Sunset in Vientiane Laos
Sunset in Laos

This is How You Relax In Vientiane:

  1. At about 5 pm head to the banks of the Mekong River where there are eateries with red plastic chairs galore.
  2. Grab a cold Beer Lao, a grilled to perfection salted fish, some fiery papaya salad (som tum), and a massive portion of sticky rice (Other edible options are available).
  3. Observe the gorgeous sunset as it hovers over the tranquilly moving mighty Mekong River.

This is absolutely a mandatory thing to do in Vientiane, don’t leave without it in your mind.

Sticky Rice in Vientiane Laso
Sticky rice and green papaya salad

Even if you only have a day or two, there are some worthwhile options in Vientiane.  Whatever you do, make sure to enjoy yourself and let time creep by as you enjoy the company of others.

9 comments. I'd love to hear from you!

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  • Phoebe

    8 years ago

    seriously. I’ve never been to a more boring city in SE Asia. It doesn’t have anything really exclusive to it, aside from french baguettes (which I’m assuming can also be found in Vietnam), not to mention I got food poisoning there. And seen one buddha or the 10 thousand in bangkok alone, you’ve seen them all. Laos (more so vientiane) is the lame underachieving sibling people want to care about but just can’t.

    • Mark Wiens

      8 years ago

      Hey Phoebe, thanks for the comment, and I understand how you feel. It’s not a place for everyone. I wouldn’t say Vientiane is my favorite city in the world, but part of the reason I do like it, is simply because there is little to do there. To me it’s about taking slow walks, enjoying good food, and relaxing. What other parts of SE Asia did you like better?

  • Charlie

    11 years ago

    dude… I keep following you on your travels. I’m recently back home from BsAs yet the recent Laos post made me concerned. I should start by saying I love Laos. it’s tough to say if it is first or second in my most loved countries (the other would be Uganda). Food, everything was incredible. But Vientiane blew. Seriously. I was there in December 07, during the dry season when the Mekong was a dried mosquito filled disgustingness. no hotels (we booked late, but there were none to begin with). nothing but roaches and rats and bed bugs. FOOD, though, was incredible, as always in Laos, especially at the water front, as you say. I hate to hate on the capital, but it needs some improvement. Laos has so much potential (and forget about the tourist yuckiness that is the tubing.. i hate on all that do it, even if the zip line was incredible, as I experienced). But Vientiane. Especially, Vientiane, has some potential that must be realized.

    • Mark Wiens

      11 years ago

      Charlie!!! Thanks for the added insight dude. I havn’t been there in December, but it doesn’st sound all that enjoyable. Once again I agree with you on the FOOD part, outstanding. I think Vientiane is making a lot of improvements and probably has done quite a bit since you were there in 07. I still havn’t been able to go trekking in Northern Laos which I would love to do soon, and yes, I skipped the overly tourist spring break style, hyped tubing. When you coming back out to SE Asia to visit bro? I’ll be in Bangkok for a while.