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Known as the capital city of Laos, Vientiane is a city located on the banks of the Mekong River near the border with Thailand. Witnessing countless national events over the years of its capital role, “the heart of Laos” is filled with vibrant culture, leading to numerous attractions around the city. With its convenient location and rich potential in tourism, it has attracted flocks of tourists every year and become a must on every river cruise itinerary in Laos.

Depending on your selection of upstream or downstream Laos river cruise, this city can be your starting or ending destination of your river cruise. Coming to Vientiane on your cruise tour, you can expect to witness a laid-back lifestyle, unique charm, and exotic beauties. The charm of historical buildings with French influences combined with spiritual temples makes the city irresistible in its own way.


Vientiane viewed from above 

Now you must be questioning something like, "Is it worth visiting Vientiane?” or "What to do and to eat in Vientiane?” “Should I visit Vientiane or Luang Prabang?” Don’t worry! Laos River Cruises is here to help you equip yourself with enough information for an unforgettable trip in Vientiane!

What to do in Vientiane

Surely you cannot visit a place without some heads-up about what to do there. But in the case of Vientiane, you might be surprised about the things that you can experience within this modest-sized city.

Pha That Luang - the national Buddhist symbol of Laos


Pha That Luang

If you are a culture buff, you will be impressed by knowing that the nation of Laos Buddhism is located in the city of Vientiane. Meaning “Great Sacred Stupa," the name of Pha That Luang indicates its value in the nation’s religion and culture.

People said that this monument has undergone many transformations over the years. Although it is known as a Buddhist stupa nowadays, Pha That Luang was originally a Hindu temple in the first century. Until the monks from India visited the stupa, they brought the breastbone of Lord Buddha as a relic.

What makes this monument breathtaking while looking from the outside is the 500 kg of gold leaves that help the structure shine in the center of the capital. It is considered to be one of the top architectures representing Buddhism in the world, so don’t miss your chance to visit this Dupa Cruising to Vientiane!

  • Fun fact: You can find this attraction on the national seal, Lao currency, etc countless are places across the country.

Patuxai Monument - Triumphal Arches of Laos


Patuxai Monument

Besides Pha That Luang, Vientiane has many more famous sparkling temples and Buddhist statues that are worth a visit. If you’re into religion and eager to learn about this important cultural side of Laotians, a series of religious attractions and Buddhist ancient temples in Vientiane will surely keep your days occupied.

It must be impossible for tourists to ignore the monument when visiting Vientiane because this mono is a symbol of the city. Many articles and tourist reviews have proved the massive value of the Patuxai Monument, but here is the brief.

Patuxai Monument is a massive wall, monument, and triumphal arch right in the center of Vientiane, Laos. Completed in 1968 using funds donated by the United States, the monument has an interesting history. If you find this monument familiar with some other famous gate in the world, you are right.

Meaning victory in English, Patuxai is built in memory of the Ling soldiers who died during World War II and the war of independence from France. You can call it Arc de Triomphe of Vientiane! 

And are you curious about the difference between it and its Paris counterpart? Well it is slightly taller than the French construction, having four days rather than two, of course, covered in distinctly Laotian designs. The ceilings and interior are even more astounding. Visit by yourself to admire the symbol of Vientiane by choosing among the river cruise itineraries passing this city!

Buddha Park (Xieng Khuan)


Buddha Park (Xieng Khuan)

Quirky or sassy? Believe it or not, Buddha Park is one of the favorite tourist suggestions in the city for many visitors, ranking among the top things to do in Vientiane.

Buddha Park has over 200 Hindu and Buddhist statues, and they look centuries old even though this eccentric park was built in 1950. Some details are really elegant and describe Buddha humans and folklore characters. Meanwhile, some others are very surreal, showing the scripture of animals and demons.

We are sure that you will have an interesting experience visiting this ancient park, so make sure that you add this place to your Laos itinerary!

Trying meditation in Vientiane


Meditation in Vientiane

Can you imagine relaxing after a full-day trip in Vietntiane? Coming to temples and pagodas in the city, you can try this healing experience with the monks. Relieve stress worries and worries, follow your soul, and have the best relaxing time on your Vientiane tour.

Local markets in Vientiane


Local market in Vientiane

You might expect some local markets in such a big city in a Southeast Asian country, but the markets in Vientiane are more unique than you think!

Vientiane night market is situated on the Riverside promenade upstream from the nearby Chao Anouvong Park. You can see the red awnings illuminated with red dish light bulbs and, of course, a variety of clothes, textiles, small crafts, and accessories.

But interestingly, the market even sells statues, Buddha paintings, and traditional paper products! Stroll around the market as you will because most of the salespeople in the market can speak English, French, Thai, and Vietnamese.

One thing you should be warned of is that there’s no food here, but you can easily find mini-restaurants or vendors just several miles away. The restaurants were moved away a few years ago to reduce the amount of trash, so you can be sure that the market is very tourist-friendly with a clean, tidy, and well-organized setting.

  • Tips: This market is a perfect choice if you are finding souvenirs for your friends and family back home.

What to eat in Vientiane

What locals eat in a certain destination can tell a lot about their habit of living as well as their culture. So follow us to explore the must-try dishes when you visit this capital of Laos.

Meat Salad is the first star that we want to recommend to you. It is believed to be the national dish of Laos. Grasp your chance on the food tour in Vientiane to taste this irresistible dish—the unique texture and flavor of meat and vegetables.


Meat Salad (Laab) in Vientiane

Mekong Catfish is another pride of Laos people, Esther, various ingredients in cooking, and the unique recipe that can only be done right in Vientiane.

Sien Savanh should also be included in your culinary adventure. This is a fried food made by locals in Vientiane. The smoking taste and unforgettable flavor of the dressing will impress you right from the first bite!

The list of Vientiane specialties keeps going on with countless delicious dishes like Khao Niaw, Khao Piak Sen,… Come and taste them by yourself!

Best time to visit Vientiane


Best time to visit Vientiane

So when is the best time to visit Vientiane on a Laos river cruise? Surely you don’t want the bad weather to ruin your tour in the capital city.

From November to February would be the best time to visit Vientiane if you prefer nice sunny days and not high temperatures. This climate is perfect for taking pictures while joining outdoor activities that require active energy.

From March to May the temperature can be much higher, and tourists usually feel sweaty and uncomfortable when joining activities, like walking, biking,… However you can still enjoy Vientiane in a very different way as you visit temples and historical places, immersing in night markets And hiding under the lush trees in Buddha Park.

The wet season of Vientiane starts in June and lasts until October. The overall weather might not be ideal for outdoor itineraries, making the scenery much more lively and vivid. If you want, avoid the ground, and are happy to get a better price, you can absolutely consider this season for your trip to Laos.

How to get to Vientiane

Because Vientiane is the top developed cities in the country of million elephants, you will have plenty of choices when it comes to transportation. no need to worry how to get to and around V, here is our favorite way to explore the city!


This public transportation in Vientiane is considered quite affordable and convenient. However, you might be confused about the routes of buses in Vientiane, unless you have a local tour guide.

Tuk tuk

Similar to Thailand, Laos also love to use tuk tuk around the city. Many tourists choose this kind of travel for its convenience, not to mention the feeling of wind going through their hair. However, remember to describe your destination clearly, and don’t forget to park with the driver to get a good price.


Taxi is another choice that is quite outstanding compared to the mentioned transports. They are easy to catch even at the airport or on busy streets, and the drivers are really friendly in general.

If you are still confused about which to use for your city tour in V, feel free to ask him, Asia, private travel, for consultation. We also offer a package that includes airport transfers and other services.

Cruise itineraries pass Vientiane

The Mekong River is one of the most challenging rivers in the world to navigate. As the water levels tend to fluctuate with tight gorges, labyrinths of sandbanks, and churning rapids. However, cruising along this route is a surprisingly exciting way to explore Vientiane and other riverbank cities in Laos from a new viewpoint!

Vientiane - Luang Prabang


Vientiane - Luang Prabang Laos river cruise

Vientiane - Luang Prabang is one of the most popular routes when tourists hop on a Laos river cruise. Stroll Vientiane's colorful markets and lively heritage before you relax on your exclusive boutique ship and enjoy the untouched scenery along the mighty Mekong River. Emerald jungles unfold, dotted with sleepy villages and whispers of legend.

Kuang Si Falls, a cascading masterpiece, awaits. Hike emerald paths, feel the cool spray, and swim in crystal pools beneath the torrents. Luang Prabang, a UNESCO gem, will captivate you with its golden temples, saffron-robed monks, and bustling markets.

This Mekong odyssey is more than a voyage; it's a timeless immersion into Laos' vibrant soul. So, set sail and discover the magic that awaits along the mighty river.

Vientiane - Huay Xai

Laos river cruise Vientiane-Huay Xai

Vientiane - Huay Xai Laos river cruise

Cast off from Vientiane, Laos' charming capital. Breathe in the scent of freshly baked baguettes, mingling with the aroma of incense from gilded temples. Witness the daily alms procession of saffron-robed monks, their chants echoing through ancient lanes. 

As the Mekong curves and bends, so does your journey. Disembark at sleepy villages, where time seems to have paused. Chat with locals over bowls of sticky rice, learn the art of silk weaving,... In Pak Ou Caves, marvel at thousands of golden Buddha statues, each a silent testament to centuries of devotion. Hike through verdant hills to hidden waterfalls, and you will find your own paradise!

The Mekong, ever the unpredictable guide, leads you to Kuang Si Falls, a cascading masterpiece where turquoise waters tumble into crystalline pools. Hike through emerald trails, swim beneath the cascading torrents, and feel the cool spray invigorate your soul.  As you reach Huay Xai, the gateway to Thailand, bittersweet nostalgia washes over you.

Chiang Rai - Vientiane

sunset cruise in Laos

Chiang Rai - Vientiane Laos river cruise 

Forget landlocked Laos. Imagine this: Thai sunsets bleeding into emerald Mekong mornings, jungle whispering secrets as your teakwood ship glides by, and a kaleidoscope of temples rising from golden mist. Ditch the tourist trail and climb aboard a Laos river cruise – a gateway to two vibrant lands in one epic journey.

Thailand's Golden Triangle, where jungle meets myth, is your launchpad. Soak up the spice-infused buzz of Chiang Rai, then trade tuk-tuks for tranquility as you set sail down the Mekong's serpentine path. Days melt into a tapestry of emerald-clad cliffs and sun-dappled villages, your only companions being the river's murmur and the occasional curious gibbon.

Disembark in Vientiane, Laos' enchanting capital, where French colonial whispers mingle with saffron-robed monks. Dive into bustling markets and gilded temples, each a testament to a forgotten kingdom. Then, drift north to Luang Prabang, a UNESCO gem where time seems to have paused. No Laos adventure is complete without communing with nature. During the Chiang Rai - Vientiane tours, you will navigate the mystical Pak Ou Caves, where thousands of golden Buddhas shimmer in the flickering candlelight.


Poetic sunset in Vientiane

As the final Mekong sunset fades behind you, we hope this travel guide has left you with more than just some information about Vientiane. We trust you've gained valuable insights on available options to cruise from or to Vientiane.

So, make your first steps on your own Mekong cruises through Vientiane. And when you are ready for a once-in-a-lifetime journey, remember that Laos River Cruises stands ready to be your faithful companion, guiding you to your best voyage along Mekong River.

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