Top 30 Things To Do In Vientiane, Laos - Updated 2021

things to do in vientiane

The capital and the largest city of Laos, Vientiane is home to glittering temples, iconic monuments, French-style colonial villas and calm, serene vibes unlike any other capital in the world. Situated on the banks of the Mekong river, this languid city is full of friendly locals and features both upscale and low-cost accommodations and eateries that welcome and suit travellers of all kinds. Whether it is soaking up Laotian sunsets over the Mekong or marvelling at the architectural wonders of the 450-year old “Great Sacred Stupa”, Vientiane has plenty of things to do and see that will exceed your expectations. Here is a list of the best things to do in Vientiane, Laos, that will let you make the most out of this one-of-a-kind vacation.

1. Check out the famous Anousavali 'Victory Gate' (from USD 126.0)

Explore Vat Sisaket, a 19th-century monastery, a Buddhist-themed museum of art and sculpture, and the Anousavali ‘Victory Gate’ that was designed and modelled after the French 'Arc De Triomphe’, in this full-day sightseeing excursion. Learn about the monastery’s well-preserved interior and wander alongside more than 6,800 images and statues of Buddha as a part of this tour. The tour includes a traditional lunch, round-trip hotel transportation, and a knowledgeable local guide. The tour will also let you shop at the Talat Sao market and the local bazaar that sells an array of goods ranging from jewellery to handicrafts.

A Full Day in Laid-Back Vientiane

Duration: 9 hours

3 reviews

2. Admire the hundreds of Buddhas on display in the Buddha Park (from USD 109.0)

This full-day private tour lets you explore the sacred site of Buddha Park and marvel at other monuments such as That Luang, Wat Sisaket and Wat Phra Keo. The Buddha Park is home to more than 200 concrete statues of Buddha and other characters of Hinduism. The tour includes round-trip transport, a picnic lunch, introduction to the city of Vientiane for first-time visitors, and personalized attention from a local guide. Pose for photos amid a sea of Buddhas, learn about the history of iconic monuments, and soak up striking views of the city in this relaxing tour that provides great value.

Private Tour: Vientiane City Sightseeing and Buddha Park

Duration: 8 hours

5 reviews

3. Visit the huge golden Pha That Luang monument (from USD 1.0)

Explore the cities of Vientiane, Vieng Vaing, and Luang Prabang and other hill tribe villages on the way in this six-day tour. You will also visit the sites of Wat Sisaket, Wat Simuang, Wat Prakeo and the huge golden monument of That Luang monument. On the final day, you can also choose to participate in Arm-Giving, in which you will walk along hundreds of monks and collect rice and food. The tour includes an English-speaking guide, all transportation and fuel surcharge. This tour is ideal for anyone looking to explore the entire country and its traditions in six days with the help of a local guide.

6Days Vientiane-Luang Prabang

Duration: 6 days

4. Marvel at the Bronze Buddhas in the Haw Phra Kaew (from USD 132.0)

This full-day tour is ideal for anyone looking to experience both the city’s attractions and the stunning natural landscapes. Experience and learn about the history of the famous temples and stupas of the city that are embellished with images and relics of Buddha. The stopovers of the tour include Great Sacred Stupa (Pha That Luang), Ho Pha Keo temple, Wat Si Saket, Wat Si Muang, and Patuxay. The eight-hour tour includes an English speaking guide, hotel pickup, lunch on the Ngeum river cruise and a stopover at the local handicraft market.

Full day City tour with lunch on local cruise, local market

Duration: 8 hours

5. Spend a full day exploring Vientiane in a small group tour (from USD 100.0)

This small group tour lets you browse all of the city’s must-see sights in one day. The tour includes stops at the Wat Sisaket, Wat Prakeo, the Patuxay monument, and the Talad Sao market and allows you to be immersed in the culture and traditions of the city. The tour includes round-trip transportation, lunch, and entrance fees for all the attractions. You can also choose to buy souvenirs to take back home from the Talat Sao market and end the tour by taking in the magnificent views of sunsets over the Mekong.

Private Tour: Full-day Vientiane's Must-See Sights and River Sunset with Lunch

Duration: 8 hours

6. Enjoy panoramic views of the city at the Patuxai monument (from USD 99.0)

This full-day tour lets you soak up the charm of the laid-back capital city and marvel at the ancient artworks of temples such as Wat Ho Phra Keo and Wat Si Saket. You will also visit Xieng Khuan, also known as the Buddha Park which houses more than 200 statues of Buddha and Hindu characters. The tour includes hotel pick up and drop off, a private local guide, lunch at a local restaurant, and transport by a car or a minivan. End the full-day tour as the sun begins to set by taking in a stunning view of the city along the Mekong River.

Guided Vientiane City and Buddha Park Full-Day Tour

Duration: 8 hours

3 reviews

7. Attend a cooking class in Vientiane (from USD 115.0)

attend a cooking class in vientiane

Work alongside local chefs to learn the recipes of tasty Laos cuisine in this four-hour cooking class. You will get to pick ingredients from a garden as well as learn about the ingredients and the herbs that are used in preparing the country’s favourite dishes. You will receive inside tips on Laotian cooking from locals, be assisted by a professional chef and make delicious and simple Laotian dishes as a part of the tour. You can also choose to travel by Tuk Tuk to the local market for a unique tasting experience and enjoy coffee and local snacks at a family run cafe. The small group tour includes a cooking instructor, fresh ingredients and hotel pick up and drop off.

Laos Cuisine Cooking Class in Vientiane

Duration: 4 hours

8. Stop by Tad Moun Waterfalls and admire the picturesque landscapes (from USD 162.0)

stop by tad moun waterfalls and admire the picturesque landscapes

This eight-hour day trip takes you through the idyllic landscapes of the villages and the hillsides outside the city of Vientiane. The trip includes cycling along the Mekong and picturesque paddy fields and offers a stopover at the Tad Moun waterfalls, which is a popular spot among the locals. The route of the tour is along the Mekong river leading to the Ban Tong village and continuing through rice fields and forests till arriving at Tad Moun waterfalls. The Tad Moun waterfalls is home to stunning rock formations and is the perfect location to take a breath and relax before you start with your return journey. The tour includes a bicycle, an English-speaking guide, a private local truck, lunch, water and round trip transportation from your hotel. This tour will be a smooth ride for both families and adventure enthusiasts.

Vientiane Day Trip by Bike Including Tad Moon Waterfall

Duration: 8 hours

1 review

9. Enjoy an epic bike tour along the Mekong River (from USD 98.0)

enjoy an epic bike tour along the mekong river

This is a perfect opportunity for bike lovers. Ride along the streets of Vientiane and explore the city in this epic half-day bike trip. The tour offers inside tips to locals and features visits to historic temples, religious museums, national monuments and other important landmarks in a bicycle. The stopovers of the tour include sites such as Wat Sisaket, the oldest temple to have survived the Siamese war, the Ho Prakeo, home to the Emerald Buddha statue, and Pra Keo which houses a collection of numerous Buddha statues and artefacts. You also get to visit the That Luang Stupa, the most important monument of Laos, and the COPE exhibition centre which is a great place to understand the effects of the Vietnam war. The tour includes pickup and drop-off from your hotel, lunch, and an accompanying English-speaking guide.

Half-Day Vientiane City Bike Tour

Duration: 5 hours

1 review

10. Have a look inside the Tham Phu Kham Cave (from USD 180.0)

This door-to-door private tour features a riverboat ride and visits to the Tham Chang Cave, Tham Phu Kham Cave, and Blue Lagoon. The two-day tour includes exploring the city’s main attractions on a cycle, travelling to Vang Vieng in a minivan and accommodation in a hotel in Vang Vieng. The tour is ideal for anyone who wants to witness the marvels of the karst rocks of South East Asia.

2 Days Vangvieng tour by public minivan (No meal)

Duration: 2 days

11. Browse the Vientiane Central Market (from USD 101.0)

browse the vientiane central market

You can walk across the many shops offering fresh food, household goods, souvenirs, textiles, gold, silver and antique items. This action-packed guided tour leads you to the major sights of Vientiane, the royal temple of Wat Prakeo, and the Vientiane Central Market of Talad Sao and Talad Kouadin which are perfect to buy souvenirs, textiles, antiques and household goods. The tour also has a stopover by the Mekong to witness the sunset before ending the tour. The tour includes hotel transfer in an air-conditioned vehicle, an English-speaking guide for smooth learning, and lunch.

Vientiane including central market

Duration: 8 hours

12. Sample a smorgasbord of authentic and modern Lao food in Vientiane (from USD 80.0)

This gourmet safari includes visits to the local restaurants, hole-in-the-wall eateries, markets, factories and outdoor kitchens of Vientiane and introduces to the flavourful local dishes of Laos. Taste Kao Larm, a traditional dessert speciality, Kao Piak, a breakfast delicacy and sample a range of Xaoban products before you finish it with a BeerLao and some fried bugs in a beer bar. The tour includes Tuk tuk transportation, lunch, snacks and an English-speaking guide.

The Hungry Tuk Tuk - Vientiane Cuisine and Culture

Duration: 1 day

13. Eat or collect souvenirs at the Vientiane Night Market

Situated along the Mekong riverfront, the Vientiane night market features an array of red-roofed stalls that sells a range of souvenirs, handicrafts, electronics, and clothes. The market also offers stalls with barbequed meat and attracts a lot of backpackers getting crowded around 8 pm. Note that the initial quoted prices are inflated and it is advisable that you bargain to get the full worth of your purchases.

Vientiane Night Market

Address: Chao Anouvong, Mekong Shore Boardwalk, Vientiane

Website: Vientiane Night Market

Opening hours: 4pm - 12pm (daily)

14. Learn some history at the Lao National Museum

learn some history at the lao national museum
Source: anthony_sg1 on Instagram

Located in a French colonial building, this national museum highlights the revolution of the 1970s. Built in 1925, the Lao National Museum is well worth a visit for anyone looking to learn about the history, culture and people of Laos. Originally named as the Lao Revolutionary Museum, the museum includes exhibits that emphasize the struggle for independence and the introduction of Communism.

Lao National Museum

Address: 328 13, Vientiane, Laos

Website: Lao National Museum

Opening hours: 8am - 6pm (daily)

Price: 1 USD

15. Pay a visit to the Cooperative Orthotic and Prosthetic Enterprise

pay a visit to the cooperative orthotic and prosthetic enterprise
Source: cactus1305 on Instagram

This non-profit organization helps Laotians with physical disabilities by offering treatment and rehabilitation programmes. Started in 1966, COPE has helped thousands of people by giving them access to prosthetic, orthotic and other mobility assistive devices. The centre also showcases various exhibitions and documentary films that let you learn about the mission of the organization.

Cooperative Orthotic and Prosthetic Enterprise

Address: Khou Vieng Road (opposite Green Park Hotel), 4113 Vientián

Website: Cooperative Orthotic and Prosthetic Enterprise

Opening hours: 9am - 6pm (daily)

Price: Free

16. Tour the Kaysone Phomvihane Museum

The Kaysone Phomvihane Museum was established to honour the leader of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party from 1955 to 1992. With interiors similar to the Ho Chi Minh museum, the Kaysone Phomvihane Museum features two floors and with photo exhibits about the country’s revolutionary history and many a personal belongings of the leader. Note that some of the exhibits do not provide English translations and it is recommended to get a guide.

Kaysone Phomvihane Museum

Address: National Highway 13 km 6, Ban Sivilay, Muang Saythani,, Vientiane

Website: Kaysone Phomvihane Museum

Opening hours: 8am - 4pm (daily)

Price: Free

17. Go for a relaxing massage to the Lao Herbal Steam Sauna and Massage

go for a relaxing massage to the lao herbal steam sauna and massage
Source: Pixabay

Nothing beats the experience of getting a Lao style massage after a day full of adventures in Vientiane. For anyone looking to get a massage with a low pain threshold, head to Lao Herbal Steam Sauna and Massage. With traditional spa treatments, Lao Herbal Steam Sauna and Massage is well known for its hospitality and offers authentic Laotian massages in a relaxing environment at affordable prices.

Lao Herbal Steam Sauna and Massage

Address: Vientiane, Laos

Website: Lao Herbal Steam Sauna and Massage

Opening hours: 1pm - 9pm (daily)

Price: 5 - 10 USD

18. Walk past the 2,000 Buddha sculptures at Wat Si Saket

Situated on Lan Xang road, this Buddhist wat was built in the Siamese style of Buddhist architecture in 1818. With a terrace and a five-storied roof, the Wat features a sea of 2000 magical Buddha sculptures and a museum. The temple also features a serpent sized trough made up of wood that is used during the ceremonies of the Laotian New Year.

Wat Si Saket

Address: Ave Lane Xang, Vientiane, Laos

Website: Wat Si Saket

Opening hours: 8am - 12pm, 1pm - 4pm (daily)

Price: 0.50 USD

19. Take your dogs out to the Mekong Riverside Park

The Mekong Riverside Park lures in a number of tourists and locals with its famous night markets and musical performances every day. Frequented by joggers, skaters, and cyclists, this park is the perfect place to take your furry friend for a stroll along the riverbank in the capital. You can also choose to shop in any of the food, clothing and craft stalls in the park.

Mekong Riverside Park

Address: Vientiane, Laos

Website: Mekong Riverside Park

Opening hours: 12am - 12pm (daily)

Price: Free

20. Relish yummy Lao delicacies at the Doi Ka Noi Restaurant

Can we tempt you with a beef cheek or two for dinner? We are open today until 9 p.m. Doi Ka Noi’s Daily Changing Menu...

Posted by Doi Ka Noi on Sunday, 23 June 2019

This cheerfully vibrant restaurant features bright decors, artworks and the best of Lao delicacies. Situated next to That Luang, Doi Ka Noi is the place to head to if you are looking for authentic, yum Laotian cuisine. All the ingredients are locally sourced, organic, full of flavours and will treat your taste buds like no other place in the capital.

Doi Ka Noi Restaurant

Address: Sisangvong Road, Vientiane, Laos

Website: Doi Ka Noi Restaurant

Opening hours: Tue - Wed: 10am - 2:30pm; Thu: 10am - 12:30pm; Fri - Sun: 10am - 9pm (closed on Mon)

Price: 5 - 10 USD

21. Quench your thirst at Bor Pen Nyang Bar and Restaurant

Overlooking the Mekong river, this four-storeyed bar and restaurant is the perfect place to chill out in central Vientiane. The restaurant features pool tables, a rooftop terrace and friendly vibes. The place is perfectly suited to grab a drink while soaking the magical Laotian sunsets and chat up with like-minded tourists, locals and backpackers.

Bor Pen Nyang Bar and Restaurant

Address: Vientiane, Laos

Website: Bor Pen Nyang Bar and Restaurant

Opening hours: 9am - 12am (daily)

Price: 5 - 10 USD

22. Dance the night away at Phoenix Night Club

dance the night away at phoenix night club

Located close to the tourist centre in Vientiane, Phoenix night club is packed with youngsters raving to EDM music on any given night. The night club is ideal for anyone looking to experience the nightlife of Vientiane and the partying styles of the locals. The club features modern decors and also hosts parties with DJs from neighbouring Thailand.

Phoenix Night Club

Address: KM3, Sisatthanak District, Vientián

Website: Phoenix Night Club

Opening hours: 7.30pm - 12am (daily)

Price: 5 - 10 USD

23. Enjoy bowling with friends at Lao Bowling Center

This ten-lane bowling alley is one of the few places in the capital city that is open after midnight and is ideal for kicking back with your friends. With loud music and cold beers, the bowling center is ideal for anyone looking to go for a few rounds of bowling. The bowling center also features pool and snooker tables that can be rented at hourly rates.

Lao Bowling Center

Address: Rue Le Ky Huong, Vientiane, Laos

Website: Lao Bowling Center

Opening hours: 9am - 1pm (daily)

Price: 5 USD

24. Plan a day out at the Ocean Park Vientiane

Renowned as the largest amusement park in Vientiane, Ocean Park Vientiane can accommodate 3,000 visitors and offers unparalleled levels of fun and excitement. The park is an ideal option for families to cool down on a hot day. The park features a range of slides, pirate-themed parks, tubes and lazy river rides that are a hit among the kids and adults alike.

Ocean Park Vientiane

Address: Baan Phonthan Sub-district, Chaiyachtha District, Vientiane Province, Laos

Website: Ocean Park Vientiane

Opening hours: Wed - Mon: 11am - 7pm (closed on Tue)

25. Practice shooting at the Five April International Shooting Range

Posted by Five April International Shooting Range on Thursday, 20 June 2019

This large scale integrated shooting range offers live-ammo shooting and draws in all the shooting enthusiasts of the city. Considered as the largest commercial shooting range in Asia, 5 April International Shooting range offers advanced facilities and hosts varied competitions each year. You get to choose from a menu of firearms and pay per bullet that is loaded and can be used to shoot a pre-setup target for a fun, intense experience in Vientiane.

5 April International Shooting Range

Address: Vientiane Prefecture, Vientiane, Laos

Website: 5 April International Shooting Range

Opening hours: 8.30am - 5pm (daily)

Price: 10 USD

26. Take a relaxing boat ride on Nam Ngum Lake (from USD 243.0)

take a relaxing boat ride on nam ngum lake

Explore the fascinating monuments of Buddha Park and journey outside the city in this private full day tour with a professional guide. The tour lets you relax on the Nam Ngum lake during a boat trip, and wander alongside images and sculptures of Buddha and other urban landscapes. You will also visit the village of Ban Keun which is known for its salt extraction plant and local Lao rice wine distillation. The tour includes hotel pick up and drop off, a professional guide, transport by private vehicle, and a picnic lunch.

Private Full Day Buddha Park and Nam Ngum Lake Tour

Duration: 8 hours

27. Get to know locals and chat with monks at Wat Sok Pa Luang (from USD 86.0)

Get a deeper understanding of the authentic Lao life in this enriching door-to-door tour. With the help of a guide, get to chat with the locals and meet workers at the Lao Disabled Women’s Development Center to learn about the Vietnam-American war at COPE. Meet with the Buddhist monks, learn how the atrocities of war had a lasting effect on the country, and understand the difficulties and struggles of disabled people in this half-day culturally immersive tour. The tour includes transport in an air-conditioned vehicle, an English speaking guide, and all permissions and local taxes. Enjoy the tour with your family or friends.

Half Day- Monks & Charities of Vientiane

Duration: 4 hours

28. Buy high-quality, handmade fabrics at Carol Cassidy Lao Textiles (from USD 45.0)

buy high-quality, handmade fabrics at carol cassidy lao textiles

This tour is perfect for anyone looking for an in-depth introduction to the traditional textiles of Laos. Vientiane is filled with small-scale weaving centres and boutiques and is well-renowned for its weaving traditions. Discover a range of colourful silks and cotton, visit weaving workshops, understand the process and traditions of textile making and support the works of local artisans in this full-day private textile tour. You will also get to visit ‘Mai Savanh’ in the last of the three workshops, which is on the outskirts of the town and is home to some of the best collections of quality finished woven products in the country. The tour includes hotel pick up and drop off, a local guide and transport in an air-conditioned minivan.

Vientiane Textiles Full Day Private Tour

29. Track down Vientiane’s finest finds with a personal shopper

track down vientiane’s finest finds with a personal shopper

This personalized half-day tour is tailor-made by establishing your unique interests and then working out the schedule of the tour with the help of a local guide. The tour will explore boutiques and craft shops that are off the beaten path and cannot be found in guidebooks. The tour includes hotel pick up and drop off, a local guide and transport in an air-conditioned vehicle.

Vientiane Design Your Own Shopping Experience half day private tour

30. Play one round of 18-hole golf at the Long Vien Golf Club (from USD 258.0)

Play a round of golf in an 18-hour golf course at the Long Thanh Golf Club and then visit the XiengKhoane Temple and the Buddha Park in this six-hour tour. The tour includes 3 rounds of 18-hole golf, private transportation, an English-speaking guide, and entrance fees. You can also choose to end the tour with a visit to the Mekong for a sunset watching session before you return to the hotel. For all those golf enthusiasts, this is perhaps a dream tour for you.

1 day Vientiane Long Thanh Golf Club plus Buddha park

Duration: 6 hours

Explore the Laotian capital

From glittering temples and Wats to charming historic French villas, this sleepy capital city has a lot going on and offers plenty of things to do and see during your trip. There is no scope to find boredom if you look at the right places. Take your pick from the above list of things to do in Vientiane, Laos, and make the most of this chilled out South East Asian city.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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When I am not travelling or writing, you can find me perfecting my Spanish, binge watching Netflix , reading, swimming in the ocean or just daydreaming in a hammock.

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