Eco-friendly travel guide to Vientiane advises how to be a responsible tourist. Learn how to explore the attractions in a sustainable way and how to respect the local people and culture. Make your trip green by supporting locally owned hotels, organic restaurants and other businesses. Read more on how to protect the environment by making conscientious choices and how to travel green in Vientiane, Laos.
- Air quality: 3.7 / 5
- Exploring by foot: 4 / 5
- Exploring by bicycle: 4 / 5
- Public transportation: 4,1 / 5
- Parks: 4.5 / 5
- Outdoor activities: 4 / 5
- Locals' English level: 3.5 / 5
- Safety: 4 / 5
- Accommodation: US$100 - $130
- Budget per day: US$90 - $110
- 1 Responsible Travel
- 2 Air Quality and Pollution
- 3 Respect the Culture
- 4 Top 10 Places to Visit
- 5 Explore
- 6 Eat
- 7 Drink
- 8 Activities
- 9 Accommodation
- 10 How to Get There
- 11 Moving Around
- 12 Sustainable Shopping
- 13 Recycling
- 14 Work and Study Abroad
- 15 See Also
The capital of Laos, Vientiane is one of the best vacationing places where you can always travel with your friends or family. Vientiane was earlier a French trading post and is a historical center that successfully preserved the original colonial architecture. However, if you visit the city now, you will find that Vientiane has turned out to be one of the hubs for the cheap spas, beautiful golden temples, café culture, and many riverside markets. People here follow the rich culture and traditions. Being a responsible traveler, make sure that you are not breaking any rules of the city. Also, the city is concerned about environmental conditions and have adapted many sustainable procedures to keep the environment clean and pollution-free.
Air Quality and Pollution
As the city experiences a huge influx of tourists every year; therefore, the pollution levels remain moderate to average. However, the administration has come up with different rules and regulations to keep pollution under control. Thus, you can understand that air quality is neither poor nor very good. If you suffer from any health issues, then it is best to carry protection whenever you are going out. Otherwise, chances are there that you might face breathing issues. Smoke and dust are one of the main factors that might cause health issues. Sometimes, during the morning you might face trouble with breathing, especially due to smog. Even though the temperature remains permeable for enjoying a vacation, but it is better if you are visiting during the early winters. This is the time when you can enjoy some good time with your friends or family members.
Respect the Culture
Laos is already famous for having the lowest population density in the entire Asian continent. With a population of seven million, you will find almost 68 different ethnic groups in the entire country. These groups are versatile and you will find them in every city, including Vientiane. These groups come in three altitudinal distributions, lowlands, midlands, and highlands. You might initially face issues with settling with the local rhythm of the place since people here follow a mixed culture of tradition and religion. Even though the locals here are quite friendly and have modern thoughts, they are quite concerned about their traditions and culture and respect it immensely. If you want to befriend the locals here, make sure that you are showing true respect to their lifestyle.
Top 10 Places to Visit
Every year we can see that tourists from different parts of the globe visit Vientiane. The reason behind this thing is that it has these lovely destinations, which can easily fulfill your holiday wishes.
- Pha That Luang- Start your day with this Buddhist temple and get an opportunity to worship Lord Buddha. This way, you can make all your dreams come true as soon as possible.
- Patuxay Monument- It is a war memorial cum monument, which was established in the year 1957. This place is dedicated to all the martyrs who died during the time of war. Never miss it because this opportunity might not come repeatedly in the future.
- Sacred Heart Catholic Church- As the name suggests that this church is sacred and has a holy heart. After visiting the church, you will know the significance of a historian who has many contributions.
- Vat Haysoke- You can call it a holy temple, which allows everyone to worship from his or her true heart. Whoever visits here gets a nice experience and feel like getting absorbed into the prayers.
- Jamia Masjid- In simple words, it is a mosque, which tells you about the history of the Muslim religion. It is amazing, and you would get the best knowledge once you come here.
- Arc de Triomphe- This is a very fine monument and is to pay tribute to all those Laotian soldiers who sacrificed their lives while providing freedom. In the beginning, you may find it boring, but later on, you will understand its true relevance.
- Chinese Association temple- In this temple, you would get information about the Chinese gods and their contributions. Try to know the best things about them, and you would feel like sharing it among your beloved persons.
- Phat Tich- It is a Jain temple where you will get a brief idea about Jainism. If you ever miss it, then you will blame and curse yourself throughout your life.
- COPE Visitor- Do not go by its name because it is a center, which covers the majority of the bombings which were done in the city. Go for it and see how you get to know something very new and extraordinary.
- That Dam Stupa- People call it an Indian Sanchi Stupa, which was constructed by a very prominent naga sadhu. It is said that they did it to get protected from the invasion of the enemies. To know more about it, you have to come here very soon.
Now in order to explore the city, you have to try out some extra places. These can be places like city parks and museums, which can give you a different level of enjoyment.
- Chao Anouvong - This Park is awesome and is tailor-made for a picnic with your family. Try it out and see how your time is spent well in this beautiful place.
- Nong Sa Phang - There is no doubt that this park is lovely and has a bigger open space. Come here for a walk and get nice happiness from the ambiance of it.
- Phou Phanang National Bio-Diversity - People call it a national bio-diversity park where you can go for a nice hiking adventure. It will not only give you enjoyment but also a thrill for which you have been waiting for a long time.
Unfortunately, you would not find any beaches in the city of Vientiane. In a fact, the city is famous for some museums and monuments.
- Fa Ngum Statue - It is a famous statue of a Laotian king named Fa Ngum. Visit here just for a while, and under the statue, there is a slab where you will get to know about his works.
- Lao Textile Museum - This museum promotes the necessity of Laotian textiles and their cultures in full detail. Come here, and you will know about the wide variety of textiles and their functions. But if you miss it, then no one can help you with anything.
- Vientiane Museum of Contemporary Arts- It is a popular art museum where you would get to explore different forms of artworks and paintings. You might not be a lover of art, but after visiting here, you would be forced to fall in love with it. They are not only beautiful but can also give you the most precious feelings.
Coming to the foods of the locals here, you will get the opportunity to taste some of the popular and toothsome dishes. The locals here prepare foods using all the fresh fruits and vegetables. Besides, they even use some flavored spices and essences that add an extravagant taste to the foods. The cuisine famous in the city is the Lao Cuisine and both the Locals in Vientiane as well as other cities enjoy it. Many chain fast food centers, as well as restaurants, are there in Vientiane that offers some outstanding and delicious foods. Out of all the dishes that the locals of Vientiane, the staple dish, which they prefer is sticky rice. Lao cuisine comes with innumerable regional variations; however, the one, which the locals in Vientiane follow, is sophisticated.
Traditional Local Restaurants
You will come across innumerable eateries in the city; however, the one where you will get the staple dishes and the favorites of the locals are the traditional restaurants. Besides the traditional and staple dishes, the local restaurants are the best options. Also, compared to the posh restaurants, the traditional restaurants offer food at a reasonable rate. Let us check out some of the most popular traditional local restaurants that you must checkout in Vientiane.
- Soukvimarn Original Lao Foods - This is one of the oldest restaurants that you will find in the city. Soukvimarn has been in business since 1991 and here you will get a wide variety of dishes starting from pork, beef to fish preparations. Besides, if you are a vegan, then you will get multiple vegan options too. If you are eager to taste some of infamous Laos, then this is no doubt the best place.
- Vieng Sawan - It is more of an open-air food stall. From a distance, it will look like a normal restaurant. You might feel that it is not that popular enough; however, once you try out the dishes here, you will be blown away by the variety of dishes they offer here. Vieng Sawan is undoubtedly the best place to try some authentic dishes.
Vegetarian and Vegan
Finding vegan foods while traveling can be not only tricky but also tough. If you are completely vegan and do not want to come out of your comfort zone, then it is best to better look for some of the best-rated vegan restaurants. Surprisingly, you will come across many vegan restaurants in the city where you can delve into some scrumptious dishes. Although the city is not a home for vegan eateries; however, you will find few to try.
- Reunion Café - Although it is more of a small-scale restaurant to try delicious vegetarian dishes, the variety of dishes available here are no doubt finger-licking good. Reunion Café is situated in the heart of the city. From papaya salad, vegetable skewers to rice noodle stir-fried and veg sandwiches you will get everything.
- Khouadin Vegetarian - A plant-based vegan restaurant in Vientiane to kick start your mornings. Here you will get a casual eatery option. For lunch, you will get options like Laotian rice, steam buns, faux meat dishes, soup, etc. You will get options for takeaway or sit and eat.
The street foods you will get in Vientiane is to die for, as the taste and the flavor you will get in the street foods are no doubt outstanding. From various non-veg items like pork and beef to different veg items like soups, noodles, and dumplings, you will get various options. In the evening, you will see that the locals come to the food markets as well as the food stalls to enjoy the sizzling hot foods. Let us check out some of the most popular street foods that you should try in Vientiane.
- Sai Kok - It is a spicy pork sausage, which the locals in Vientiane love eating daily. Sai Kok is quite similar to that of Sai Oua and is an important part of Lao cuisine. These are mostly used for seasoning purposes and is a staple in the Lao Cuisine. Few other recipes are also there like galangal, chicken bouillon, as well as black pepper. The sausages are left for infusing and it is grilled for serving.
- Feu - Feu is a famous Lao beef noodle soup that is must-try street food in Vientiane. The recipe is quite simple. The boiling broth is poured over the rice noodles, followed by thin slices of beef, and is seasoned with fresh local herbs as well as vegetables. Locals eat this as a staple breakfast option. However, you can find it in the food stalls throughout the day.
Just like a long list of innumerable dishes, you will get a wide number of drink options from traditional ones to exotic cocktails, drinks, and craft beer you will get everything here. The unique beverage options that you will get here are no doubt interesting and the iconic drinks are a must-try if you are visiting Vientiane. If you want to enjoy the perfect food and drink experience, then make sure that you are trying out the staple local drinks. The number of drinks that you will get in the city is innumerable. From the alcoholic ones to the non-alcoholic ones, you will get multiple options to try.
- Lao Rice Whisky - Also known as Lao Lao, it is one of the most popular drinks, which the locals cherish. This drink is mostly offered after dinner and is mostly used when the locals invite for family dinner. Lao Lao is one of the cheapest drinks in the world but is of the best quality. Besides, it is also the national drink of Laos. Do not forget to try Lao Rice Whisky if you are interested in trying out some of the best lo0cal drinks.
- Grilled Coconut - Grilled coconut water is always suggested as a part of must-try non-alcoholic drinks. Even though it is made of coconut, the processing method is completely different from the Vietnamese Coconut water. Locals in Vientiane do not drink fresh coconut water; instead, they grill it, remove the peel and drink it chilled.
Coming to the tap water, while moving around the city for exploring, you might feel the urge to drink the water due to heat. You come across many taps in Vientiane; however, it is certainly not a good idea to drink water from tap water, as it is not a safe option. While you are out in the sun, it is obvious that you will feel the urge to drink water. It is better to be on the safe side and drink packaged drinking water. Many stalls are there who sell packaged drinking water. Alternatively, you can also carry a water bottle. If you want to try out the soft drinks, it is a good idea too. You will come across plenty of stalls selling soft drinks. The locals in the city have already switched to the water filters to stay away from bacterial infections. As the pollution level in the city is average, it is better if you avoid drinking water from public taps.
Organic cafeterias are one of the best places where you can, not only enjoy good food but a great ambiance to spend time with your friends and family. Although the trend of organic cafeterias is not very popular yet, still many cities are there who are gradually being accustomed to it. Organic cafeterias are famous for selling healthy food and decorating the cafeteria with eco-friendly items. Let us check out some of the most popular organic cafeterias that you must visit in Vientiane.
- Vegetarian in the Golden Age - Although it is not a complete organic café the ambiance of the restaurant does give an eco-friendly vibe. Therefore, you can always come here with your friends or family members since it comes with a minimalistic design. Besides, the food served here is of great quality. The staff here is cooperative too.
- Coco & Co. - Yet another one of the most popular organic cafeteria where you will get both vegetarian as well as non-veg foods. Apart from that, the hot and cold coffee served here is no doubt delicious. If you are coming to Vientiane, make sure that you are visiting this cafeteria.
Apart from some of the best-rated cafeterias and restaurants, there are many breweries, bars, and pubs in the city, where you can enjoy some best quality craft beer, exotic cocktails, and whisky. If you are a sucker for craft beer, then nothing can be better than the breweries. Locals, as well as tourists, visit these breweries to enjoy a great time. Besides craft beer, you can taste some toothsome appetizers too. Let us check out some of the most popular breweries you must visit in Vientiane.
- Lao Asia Pacific Breweries - This is one of the most popular breweries you will come across in the city. From imported craft beer to an exquisite collection of whisky, you will get everything here. Besides, breweries are also famous for some amazing appetizer options and Lao Asia Pacific Breweries is the place where you will get some toothsome appetizers.
- Lao Brewery Company Ltd - Lao Brewery is yet another most visited brewery that you will find in Vientiane. It is one of the most favorite hangout places for both the locals as well as tourists. During weekends, you will find a huge crowd hanging out here for relaxing.
The Asian cities and countries are filled with some outstanding activities, which you can enjoy with your family or friends. The mixed mod-traditional vibes of the city will give you a different vibe from other cities. From fun and exciting activities to thrilling activities, you will get everything here. Over the years, tourists have come here to know more about the Laotian culture and you can take do the same too. The city will unfold something new every day and this is something that will make you fall in love with the place.
- Explore Xieng Khuan - Popularly known as the Buddha Park, Xieng Khuan is one of the most popular tourist attraction places in Vientiane. Here you will find more than two hundred religious statues. The statues remain scattered on the lush grounds. A monk during 1958 who was interested in Hindu as well as Buddhist sculptures designed the park.
- Enjoy various dishes at Vientiane Night Market - This infamous market is situated along the scenic waterfront of the city. Apart from the accessories, handicrafts, and paintings, the food markets us quite versatile. Barbecued meat is one of the most popular snacks that you must try here.
Yoga and Retreats
Buddhists and yoga is something, which will be forever inseparable. Therefore, if you are visiting Vientiane, make sure that you are checking out some of the most popular yoga retreats. Several temples are there where you can practice meditation under the supervision of the Buddhist monks. They will offer you some exquisite yoga therapy that will relax your body and mind. Let us check out some of the most popular yoga retreat sessions that you will find in Vientiane.
- Luang Prabang Yoga - It is an institution where you will get the opportunity to practice yoga with the cooperation of some of the independent yoga teachers. While the morning yoga classes are practiced riverside patio amidst nature, the evening classes are held inside the studio. You must take a few sessions here to understand the importance of yoga in daily life.
- Nomad Yoga Vientiane - Here you will get a variety of yoga sessions like vinyasa and Hatha flow yoga classes. Six students are admitted in every session so that everyone can get enough attention. Besides yoga, energy healing, as well as key abundance healing, are offered here too.
A comfortable accommodation option is something, which is a need for every vacation. Without this, you will never feel comfortable or enjoy the trip. Due to this reason, it is important to find out some good accommodation options so that you can enjoy the vacation. Vientiane is filled with some outstanding accommodations like hotels, hostels, guesthouses, and apartments. While the hotels offer five-star facilities, the hostels provide subtle and pocket-friendly rooms and facilities. However, if you are not ready to spend much on accommodation, then nothing can be better than the apartments. You can either stay with the locals or book apartments online. For example, Airbnb is one of the best places where you can find some of the best rated and reviewed apartments in Vientiane. Locals in Vientiane are quite friendly. Thus, you can always choose to stay with them and enjoy their hospitality. Alternatively, the apartments that you will find on Airbnb are well furnished and clean to enjoy a comfortable stay.
behind this is that green hotels are different from those of the normal ones. Green hotels offer some outstanding amenities different from that of the usual amenities. For maintaining the environmental conditions, these hotels practice sustainable habits. If you are interested in enjoying a secluded vacation away from the hustle of the city amidst greenery, then nothing can be better than the green hotels. Let us check out some of the green hotels in Vientiane.
- Green Box Hotel - Green Box Hotel tops the list of green hotels in the city and the reason behind this is the innumerable amenities. From organic cotton sheet towels as well as mattresses to a non-smoking environment, you will get everything here. Besides, the electricity generated here is through solar energy. Hence, you can understand that even with sustainable practices, you can enjoy a comfortable stay here.
- Green Park Boutique Hotel - Build in a top-notch location, the Green Park Boutique Hotel is yet another one most popular green hotels in Vientiane. Waking up to the greenery and fresh air, this is no doubt a perfect accommodation option for nature lovers.
Hostels and Guest Houses
If you are not interested in spending huge accommodations, then hostels and guesthouses can be your solution. Hostels are the best option since they are not only affordable but also you will be able to meet some fellow travelers for the rest of your journey. Hostels and guesthouses offer comfortable bedding options, free breakfast, and great deals. Let us check out some of the best hostels and guesthouses in Vientiane.
- Petit Espace Boutique Hostel - If you have a money crunch or you are not ready to pay huge for the hostels, then you can go for Petit Espace Boutique Hostel is one of the best options. Here you will get some outstanding amenities like free WiFi, an attached bath, free breakfast, etc. Besides, it is close to the nearby bus stops thus making it more convenient.
- My Box Hostel and Café - Yet another option where you can enjoy a comfortable stay with your fellow travelers. Besides getting free WiFi and breakfast options, this hostel has a separate cafeteria where you can enjoy yourself with your friends and family.
Apartments are yet another, best options where you can enjoy a comfortable stay as already mentioned. If you are planning for a vacation in Vientiane during peak season, chances are there that you might not get good hotels. Due to this reason, it is always a good idea to opt for the apartments. Besides, apartments are the rescuer if you are traveling in groups. At times, hotels might not be the best option. Either you can plan to stay with the locals or book the apartments online. As aforementioned, Airbnb is one of the best places where you can book some best-rated and comfortable apartments. Almost all the apartments available on Airbnb are close to the bus stops so that moving around in the city becomes more convenient for you.
At times, exploring an unknown city becomes quite tough, especially when you are alone. Due to this reason, it is best to travel to a new location with fellow travelers. Couchsurfing is one such great idea if you need fellow travelers. Most Couchsurfing communities, as well as local hosts, post about communities for the travelers and the ones who are interested to join. All you have to do is send a request and if they accept it, you will be able to join the community. Staying away from your house for long can turn out to be quite painful; however, with Couchsurfing things can be different. Traveling communities always support fellow travelers and you can always join them for good company. Make sure that your profile is valid and has all the important information needed for accepting your request.
Camping is like a drug for all the adventure lovers and due to this reason wanderers search for backpacking campaigns everywhere they go. If you are one of them, then you will always look for some best-rated camping locations. Unmatched camping thrill lies in trekking through the forests, waking up to the cool and soothing morning breeze, etc. As Vientiane is famous for its scenic beauty, you can always go camping. Besides, camping gives you a different level of thrill altogether. Let us check out some of the most visited camping grounds in the city.
- River Moon Camping - Located near an open space surrounded by greenery all around, River Moon Camping is no doubt one of the best places where you can enjoy some amazing scenic beauty. Make plans with your friends to go on a camping night t make your trip to Vientiane memorable.
- Thutsaneethone Garden and Organic Farm - Although it is not near the city, but is another of the most visited camping grounds. Located amidst nature and its beauty, Thutsaneethone is an extraordinary camping location to enjoy some good times with your friends.
How to Get There
You can easily enter the city by reaching close to Wattay Airport located almost four kilometers outside the city. Besides, the railway network is quite developed in the city. Therefore, if you are planning to travel from Bangkok or Thailand, then opting for the train route is the best option. Alternatively, if you are traveling from India, then the air route is the best option. Almost all the metropolitan cities have direct flights to Wattay Airport.
You can enter the city space by international flights that travel to Wattay Airport. This is the closest airport to the city. Make sure that you are checking the flight rates before booking for them.
If you are traveling from the adjacent cities, then the bus route is no doubt the best option. Alternatively, you first have to reach Wattay Airport; from there you will get many buses that will take you to your desired destination.
As already mentioned, the train route is quite developed in the city. However, you first have to reach Bangkok and catch a train that will take you to Vientiane. However, once you reach the station, you have to book cabs to reach your hotel.
The concept of hitchhiking is quite popular in the city and you will notice that cars wait near any particular location to pick families. However, not every car will stop to pick you up. Locals here are quite accustomed to this. Make sure that you are careful about your luggage if you want to opt for hitchhiking. Although locals here are quite trustworthy; however, it is always a good idea to be on the safe side for safety.
Various other ways are also there by which you can explore the city. From rental cabs, bicycles to public buses, you can opt for anything.
Vientiane is one of the most popular traveling destinations in Laos. Owing to this, you will get many things to do in the city throughout your vacation. Therefore, you can understand that you will plenty of opportunities to move around the cities and explore every bit of it. From markets to tourist attraction places, there are many exquisite tourist attraction places. Vientiane is no doubt a great place to enjoy about seven to ten days away from the work stress. Make sure to explore the food market especially to try out some of the best Laotian dishes.
Walking is always the best option if you want to explore the inside out of any place. If you want to explore the tourist attractions and shop from the markets, then it is best to opt for walking. In this way, you will be able to cover more distance. Even if the roads remain crowded, it will become easy for you to move through the roads.
This is one of the best and eco-friendly options since you will not only have to pay huge for the car rents or hurt your feet while exploring the city. Bicycles here are available at a cheap rate and you can always opt for them over anything else. As the locals here are concerned about keeping the environment free from pollution. Being a responsible traveler, you can always opt for riding bicycles.
Electronic vehicles are yet another one of the best options when it comes to traveling responsibly. The government in Vientiane has come up with different regulations and electronic vehicles are one of them. Electronic vehicles are quite comfortable as you can hire them at a much cheap rate. Therefore, if you want to travel, you can always opt for electronic vehicles whenever you are traveling to any tourist attraction places.
Public buses are always a good idea if you want to avoid paying too much for rental cabs. Rental cars come with many added taxes; however, the public buses always remain available and the network is available throughout the city. It is quite convenient and does not remain crowded.
Tram, Train and Subway
The tram and train route is developed in the city. If you want to travel to any other adjacent cities in Vientiane, then it is always a good idea to opt for the train route. Besides, the tram routes are always good and unlike the buses, the train or the tram route takes less time. If you want to go shopping, then the train route is always the best idea.
Sustainable shopping is something, which the locals in Vientiane strongly believe. Due to this reason, you will see many shopping outlets and stores selling eco-friendly clothing items as well as home decoration items. The shopkeepers are quite cooperative here, thus you can get everything you need. If you want, you can also take some home decoration items as souvenirs for your family and friends.
As already mentioned the Laotian cuisine is famous for including raw materials like fresh vegetables and fruits for cooking. Besides, they also use many imported and aromatic spices in their dishes. If you want, you can also get some for yourself to make Laotian dishes at your home. The food markets are quite popular in the city since not only you will be able to try some exquisite dishes but get many uncommon items for preparing dishes.
If you are a sucker for shopping, then flea markets can be the best place for you. Apart from some fashionable cheap clothing items, you will also get attractive home decoration items. Handloom garments are also found here and are quite an affordable option and flea markets are the best place to get these options. For souvenirs, you can also get some clothing items for your friends and family members.
Second Hand Stores
Second-hand stores are one of the best options if you want to buy vintage items. If you are interested to invest in antique items, then second-hand stores are one of the best options. Besides, the second-hand stores sell some amazing clothing items. Here you will get some cheap yet good quality home decoration items.
Eco-fashion is quite rampant in the city since you will get many sustainable shopping outlets in the city. People here believe in wearing eco-fashion items therefore the trend of sustainable clothing is common among people.
People in Vientiane believe sternly in recycling items and therefore, they store their daily-used items from bags to containers for recycling. They never throw litters here and there. Instead, they store them in one place and take them for recycling.
Waste management is a must-follow activity in the city since the tourist flow is quite high. Hence, the amount of waste generation increases too. The government has come up with many waste management programs to keep pollution under control.
Work and Study Abroad
Students, as well as experienced employees from around the world, come here to enroll themselves in prestigious institutions and companies. Many Reputed companies are there in Vientiane where you can work to increase your skillset.
Scholar students from around the world come here to enroll themselves in some of the prestigious colleges and universities. Scholarship programs are offered to them so that they can continue with their further studies.
Women in Vientiane believe in being independent, thus, they have to stay out for work. Au pair is one of the best services where babysitters are hired for taking care of the children.
To preserve the rich culture and the tradition of the city, many non-profit organizations have come up with their services. They help in taking care of the monuments as well as the historical architectures of Vientiane.