TheLoneRider
a nomad in search of Easter Eggs
Vientiane, Laos

VIENTIANE

Vientiane, Laos

Vientiane used to be the capital of Burma during the British colonial rule. This was the setting of George Orwell's classic 1934 book, Burmese Days, depicting his life and times. Many colonial buildings still survive that give a nostalgic look at Vientiane's British legacy.

Vientiane Blogs by TheLoneRider

Goodbye Vientiane: in Search of Greener Pasture Laos

Goodbye Vientiane: in Search of Greener Pasture

(Mar 12, 2020) With my 30-day visa, I was prepared to stay in Vientiane the whole month and make a life. But after 7 days of doing my due-diligence, conditions remained less than ideal. It's a familiar language my benevolent universe communicates with me - telling me to pack-up and telling me that there is a greener pasture out there.....more »»

Software Review Writing for B2B Enterprise Solutions sliceoflife

Software Review Writing for B2B Enterprise Solutions

(Mar 10, 2020) I received an email from someone who used to read my blogs. I've never met him. He liked my writing style and thought about me when his employer was expanding and needed more writers. I would be writing software reviews about B2B (business to business) enterprise solutions. Even though I'm a web designer with a proficiency level within the tech industry, software was never my niche. But I saw its relevance in what I do. It's something that interested and challenged me. Do I still have the juice to slug-it out with a fulltime job?....more »»

Vientiane Revisited Laos

Vientiane Revisited

(Mar 5, 2020) With my visa expiry, Vientiane was the nearest border from Udon Thani, Thailand. I boarded the International Bus that took me 2 hours through a painless border crossing. I wasn't impressed the last time I visited Vientiane - it had seen better days. But that didn't matter - all I wanted was to find a suitable place to do my first fulltime job writting B2B software reviews for a Polish company. When I arrived, it wasn't the same Vientiane I left more than 5 years ago.....more »»

Do-It-Yourself Tour of Buddha Park traveling

Do-It-Yourself Tour of Buddha Park

(Dec 27, 2014) At Kip 70,000 a pop for a packaged tour of the Buddha Park, it got dicey for a traveler on a shoe string like me. Fortunately, as I was having my noodle soup, the girl attendant said we could go there ourselves using the local bus. It wasn't that easy. After asking so many people where exactly to take the bus, at what time, how much to pay, etc., we finally got our itinerary dialed-in and we were off. Total cost for us? Kip 22,000/pax!....more »»

Exploring Laos' Capital, Vientiane traveling

Exploring Laos' Capital, Vientiane

(Dec 24-29, 2014) Moving north from Pakse, we (with Tuyen, my Vietnamese traveling buddy) came upon the capital of Laos - Vientiane. Like Phnom Penh, Bangkok and Saigon, we expected to see the big city with all its bells and whistles. We were just hoping it won't be as expensive as Pakse....more »»




Google Map

Vientiane, Laos

VIENTIANE Info

Vientiane City Bus Route Map
Vientiane FYI / Tips
  • Vientiane is slightly less expensive than Pakse, but still more expensive than Saigon, Bangkok or Phnom Penh
  • the tourist area where most of the hotels, restaurants, ticket offices, tour operators, etc., are located along the river beteen the Khun Bu Lom Road and Rue Chanthakhoumane - if you book a hotel within this area, no need to take a tuk-tuk ride to get to the main drag
  • in Vientiane, internet speed is generally slow - some guesthouses only have lobby wifi. It was only very recently that fiber-optic connection has been made available, and at $200/month for the cheapest package, very few business owners are availing of it.
Udon Thani (Thailand) to Vientiane by bus

Take the International Bus at Udon Thani Bus Terminal 1 - no pre-purchase, on sale tickets only for the next departing bus, Baht 80 (Kip 23,500), departing times 8:00, 9:00, 10:30, 11:30, 14:00, 15:00, 16:30, 18:00, no visa-no ticket (except ASEAN), unloading at Khua Din Bus Station, 2hrs 15mins

Pakse to Vientiane by bus

This is an 11 hour bus ride along paved roads. You are advised to take the sleeping bus on the night trip - that way, you sleep while traveling and wake up in Vientiane, effectively saving you an additional day and sparing you the cost of one night's lodging. Bus price ranges from 150-170,000 Kip. Pakse's bus terminal is right in the city so you can just walk it.

Vientiane to Luang Prabang by bus

This trip is a 10 hour bus ride along paved roads. You are advised to take the sleeping bus on the night trip - that way, you sleep while traveling and wake up in Luang Prabang, effectively saving you an additional day and sparing you the cost of one night's lodging. Bus price ranges from 170-190,000 Kip. The bus takes off from the North Terminal. Even though you can get it cheaper to buy the tickets directly there, it would cost you more to ride the tuk-tuk to get there - best to have your hotel arrange the bus booking and you get picked-up right at your hotel.

Vientiane Attractions
  • Buddha Park - an eclectic collection of concrete sculptures of Buddha and Hindu deities, 25 kms southeast. Package tour - Kip 70,000. You can also do a self-tour
  • Pha That Luang - a third-century golden Buddhist stupa right in the heart of the city - biking distance
  • Sisaket Temple - a Buddhist temple built between 1819 and 1824. It houses thousands of tiny Buddha images and rows with hundreds of seated Buddhas from its cloistered walls. This could be Vientiane's oldest surviving temple
  • Patuxai (Victory Monument) - a war monument built between 1957 and 1968, it is dedicated to those who fought for independence from France
  • Wat Si Muang - a Buddhist temple built in 1563, considered to be home of the guardian spirit of Vientiane
  • That Dam - a black stupa believed to be inhabited by a 7-headed king cobra who protected the Laotians from an invasion by the Siamese army
  • Night Market
  • Mekong River Bank
  • Ho Phra Keo
Vientiane Cost Index

As a general rule, Laos is a little more expensive than Thailand. What would be sold in Bangkok for Baht 40-50 would sell for Baht 50-60 in Vientiane. Some vendors would accept Thai Baht as payment, and may even exchange Baht for Kip. Vientiane is slightly less expensive than Pakse, but still more expensive than Saigon, Bangkok or Phnom Penh

  • Kip 10,000 one big bottle, Beerlao (Kip 12,000 if by the river)
  • Kip 5,000 1.5 liter drinking water, sugar cane juice, soy milk
  • Kip 50,000 one hour massage
  • Kip 20,000/pax tuk-tuk ride from bus terminal to city center
  • Kip 12,000 coffee
  • Kip 15,000 noodle soup with meat
  • Kip 10,000/day bicycle rental
  • Kip 10,000/kilo laundry
  • Kip 175,000 sleeping bus to Luang Prabang (155,000 if seated bus)
  • Kip 40,000 dorm bed incl. breakfast
  • Kip 80,000 double bed in a fan room, shared toilet incl. breakfast
Laos Travel Tips
  • Laotians hardly speak or understand English
  • like Switzerland, Laos is land-locked by its neighbors - Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and China
  • Laos is a communist country and has close ties with Vietnam, its communist neighbor. Best not to talk anything negative about the government
  • some establishments will accept US$ for big purchases but it's best to exchange your dollars to Kip for the small day-to-day expenses
  • Laotians are generally honest people with a calm demeanor, much like Cambodians
  • like Cambodia, Laos is steeped in its devotion to Buddha - pagodas abound and monks are an integral part of the landscape
  • best place to exchange currencies is at the border. City money exchange centers won't give you the best rates
  • best to exchange US dollars to Kip for good rates. If you exchange Vietnamese Dong to Laotian Kip, the rate is horribly low
General Travel Tips
  1. arrive early - in case there is a snag (visa snag, documentation snag, transport ticket snag, etc.), you will have ample time to troubleshoot the problem if you arrive early (to the airport, to the bus terminal, etc.)
  2. put detailed itinerary on the Calendar apps of your smart-phone according to timelines - this is where you do all your thinking and planning. Once written down, you don't have to think anymore while you are on the journey...you just follow the steps. This frees your mind for something else that might happen while you are already en route
  3. avoiding scams - as a general rule, I ignore the touts or anyone I don't know who call out to me. The calling comes in many forms - "Hi! Where are you from?", "Excuse me! Excuse me!", "Where are you going?". I don't look them in the eye and I remain non-verbal with them. If you reply to them, you just gave them an 'in' to hound you. In order not to look rude, I smile and wave the 'not interested' hand to them, without looking at them.
  4. power bank - hand-carry your power bank. Do not check it in. You can be called in when you are already inside the plane to go all the way to the loading dock so you can personally remove the power bank...and chances are, you'll have to surrender it to them. And you might delay the plane departure!

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