Vientiane does not have nearly the selection of accom-modation as say Bangkok, but there are some solidchoices and hotels that we highly recommend.One of our favorite hotels in Asia is The Green ParkBoutique Hotel. Both historic and modern, this chic ho-tel features elegant interiors, superior service, and atranquil setting. Our favorite rooms are the ‘ExecutiveSuites’, whose spacious interiors and double balconiestruly enhance your stay in the capital. Another option
Where to stay in Vientiane?
Laos’ capital city is one of the smallest capital cit-ies in the world, and its sleepy vibe is the perfectintroduction to Laos life. Although slightly dishev-eled with dusty, potholed streets the city offersmany pleasant surprises for travelers. Situated onthe Mekong River, directly across from Thailand,the city warrants two or three full days for travel-ing.
is The Settha Palace, which stands as a testament tothe elegance and gracious service of the French colo-nial era.What to see in Vientiane?A full day city tour by bicycle or car exposes the mainsites of the city and walks you through the historicperiods of Lao culture. The tranquil Wat Sisaket was theonly temple to survive the Siamese (Thai) invasion of1827 and the beautiful wood-covered hallways are filledwith thousands of Buddha statues. Directly across thestreet is Wat Phra Kaew which once held the EmeraldBuddha now revered in Bangkok. The interior museumis a great place to learn about Buddhist culture andhistory.A walk along Lane Xang Avenue might bring visions ofParis. Designed to resemble the Champs Elysees, thistree lined street in the centre of town even has its veryown ‘Arc de Triomphe’. Slightly quirky, climbing to thetop of Patuxay offers fantastic views of the city. Con-tinuing out of town on Lane Xang Avenue, you reachThat Luang. This magnificent gold-leaf covered stupa isthe national symbol of Laos and one of its most impor-tant religious sights. Each fall, a massive festival is heldin the grounds around the stupa and people from allover the country descend upon Vientiane to partake inthe religious celebrations.The capital is located on the banks of the Mekong Riverwhich forms the border between Laos and Thailand.In the late afternoon, the banks of the Mekong fill upwith local stalls selling cold beers and fresh local food.Sitting by the river, you can watch the fishermen andcatch a beautiful sunset view.In Vientiane, you have the opportunity to discover oneof delicious Laos Coffee. Laos produces one of the mostfamous coffees in the world that grown, often referredto as the ‘Champagne of Coffee’. Grown in SouthernLaos on the Boloven Plateau, the beans are sought af-ter for their delicious taste. A visit to the coffee centrewill teach you more about the process of roasting andblending of the beans, and is concluded with a cuppingtasting session.For those interested in traditional crafts and textiles, avisit to Carol Cassidy should not be missed. Housed ina colonial mansion, Ms Cassidy has set up a series oflooms and here traditional methods of dying and weav-ing are practiced resulting in beautiful, high qualitysilks. The charity shop Les Artisans Laos is a fascinatingvisit to watch recycled and renewable materials such asbamboo, palm, and mulberry leaves being turned in toquality notebooks, stationary and printer paper.Learn about the tragic recent history of Laos at COPE,the Cooperative Orthotic and Prosthetic Enterprise. Laosis the most heavily bombed country in the world andCOPE provides prosthetic limbs for those who cannotafford it. COPE has a great display of information andexhibitions on the problems and work being done tohelp the victims.If you have more than a day in Vientiane, it is worth itto take an excursion outside of the city where there aremany delights to be had.On the way toward the Thai border lies the bizarre Bud-dha Park. Built by an eccentric former shaman priestin the 1950s, this park has hundreds of stone Hinduand Buddhist sculptures. The Phou Khao Kway NationalPark is just an hour away from the capital. Here you cantrek through dense forests, swim in cool waterfalls, andexperience the diversity of Laos’ flora and fauna. A spe-cial Orchid Trek can be arranged, a unique experiencewhere a local guide takes you on a journey through thepark to try and spot some of the beautiful orchid spe-cies in the park.North of the city is Nam Ngum Lake, the largest lakein Laos, and enjoy the beautiful scenery. Take a boatcruise on the lake and enjoy the beautiful views ofthe surrounding mountains, hills and forests. With anabundance of fish in the waters, Nam Ngum Lake is afavorite fishing area for the locals and you will see thefishermen using hoop nets, regular nets and lines. BanPako, located 55km from the capital, is the perfect placeto chill out and escape Vientiane. Set along the banksof the Nam Ngum River and surrounded by jungle, BanPako offers a glimpse in to the real rural Laos. A smalleco-lodge, Ban Pako Lodge, is located there for thosewishing to stay over night.