"The most laid back Capital City in the world!" Vientiane by mad4travel
Vientiane Travel Guide: 778 reviews and 1,788 photos
I didn't really know what to expect arriving into Vientiane from Bangkok. Firstly, I was surprised how small the airport was, secondly, after the long queues and officialdom getting a visa and getting past immigration I was really surprised how small and quiet the capital city was.
Vientiane is not really much bigger than an English county town, there never seems to be many people about or much traffic and it is very quiet.
Most places are no more than a 5 or 10 min walk from the Mekong river, which is also surprisingly devoid of life. Coming in from Bangkok it was like a ghost town in comparison.
Well, there are a lot of temples to visit, some not that old, theres the Golden Stupa, Victory Arch, National museum, and the Buddha park just outside. There is also a good covered market if you are into buying fake watches etc.
It is hard to remember sometimes that you are in a communist country. Things have relaxed a bit in recent years as they have adopted "free market" communism but it does not seem to be as entrepenerial as say, Vietnam.
The good thing is there is no McDonalds , KFC and the like. Infact fast food generally comes in the form of a shop front with a man with a wok on the pavement. I ate at a couple of places and lived! the food was delicious.
There is a saying that goes:
The Vietnamese plant the rice,
The Cambodians watch the rice grow
The Laotians listen to the rice grow
This basically means that Laotians like to take it slow. Eating in restaurants if you have a deadline is a good example - don't do it! Laotians are equally good at smiling brightly and telling you that your food will be coming in 5 minutes - it won't believe me!
Check out my Laos Homepage:
Check out my Luang Prabang pages:
- Pros:The smallest most laid back capital city in asia
- Cons:Things move kinda slow
- In a nutshell:More than just Buddhas and Temples
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The Victory Gate or Patuaxai looks a bit like a grey concrete version of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. It was built in... more travel advice
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