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What are the must-try experiences in Vientiane?

Vientiane is the capital city of Laos and is one of southeast Asia's most prominent cities. Located on the famous Mekong river, Laos' old-world charm and irrefutably laid-back attitude makes for a wonderfully relaxing experience for tourists who are visiting for their holidays. What is most beautiful about Vientiane is that there is little modern to be found. There are rice paddies, vegetable farms, and all-manner of agriculture hidden behind vast tree-lined avenues with stunning French Colonial architecture thrown in with rich, gilded temples. Jewelled with an abundance of historical relics and cultural landmarks, Vientiane is without question one of the most captivating site-seeing destinations in all of southeast Asia. The most famous monument in the area is That Luant (or the Royal Stupa), which is a symbol of Buddhism and Laotian sovereignty, built back in 1566 by King Setthatirat. Other must-see attractions in Vientiane include the Wat Pha Kaew museum, Wat Si Saket temple, the Patuxai (Anousavary) victory monument and Wat Xieng Khouang Buddha Park. When you venture out of your Vientiane boutique hotel, be sure to indulge yourself in all of the local produce. Vientiane boasts many delightful cafes, street stalls, beer halls, and restaurants that will accommodate you with everything you could ask for, from rice noodles to filet mignon – that's the foodies well taken care of. As for the artists and romantics among you, Vientiane has plenty in the way of tribal arts and crafts to pique your interest. Laos is renowned for its tropical climate which can get incredibly hot during the summer. As such, it's always tempting to go and jump into the Mekong river for a dip. While this is allowed in certain places, such as the Vientiane Waterfront, if you aren't sure, you will find that all of the best hotels in Vientiane will have swimming pools.

Vientiane certainly has much to offer in the way of sight-seeing, cultural immersion, cuisine, and architecture, but what else is there to do? Here are some of our recommended must-try experiences to add to your list when you spend your holidays in Vientiane:* Visit the Buddha Park – home to more than 200 forms and figures in both Buddhist and Hindu styles, the 'Spirit City' is a must visit while you are in Vientiane. There is so much to see and it is a wonderful way to see some of the culture and history of this great country.* Rent a bicycle and explore the beautiful countryside – one of the wonderful aspects of Vientiane is that it still maintains its rich history and many traditional ways. What better way to see such a place than from a bicycle? While some areas like the Buddha Park are too far away for your average cyclist, there is plenty to see and do around the city itself.* Visit the Black Stupa (That Dam) – 'That' refers to an unopened lotus flower or upside down bell shape often containing relics of Buddha. The Black Stupa was formerly covered in gold, and there are legends about the beast, or Naga, that was supposed to guard it. Sadly it did not do its job and the gold was pillaged 200 years ago, but the Black Stupa remains. Go and see for yourself and watch out for mythical water serpents while you are there.* Check out Pha That Luang – from black to gold, this Stupa is the most revered religious place in the country and is known as the Great Stupa. Built to hold the breastbone of Buddha in the 3rd century, you will recognise it once you have exchanged your money as it appears on the Lao currency.* Experience a Lao Herbal Steam Sauna and Massage – there is nothing quite like a steam sauna and massage to leave you feeling completely and utterly relaxed. Laos has some wonderful spas and places to meet all your needs and destress you so you can end your holiday feeling your best.* Go on a Laotian food tour / cooking class – each country has its own style of food and its own unique dishes, and Laos is no exception. The best way to really learn about the food, not only how it tastes, but how it is made and which ingredients go into it, is to take a local cooking class. Many of the best ones will let you know where the ingredients come from and even take you shopping, and of course eating what you make is the ultimate chefs perk.* See Patuxai Victory Monument – this beautiful gate with its distinctive Laotian style has been likened to Paris's Arc De Triomphe and commemorates those Laotian soldiers who died in WWII and in the war of independence from France itself. It has five towers to represent the five Buddhist principles as well as the five principles of coexistence with other countries. Check it out and see if you know them all.* Wat Ho Phra Kaew* Wat Sisaket* Houey Hong Vocational Training Centre for Women* Shop in the Night Markets* Phou Khao Khouay National Park* Wat Ong Theu* Wat Sokpaluang* Lao Textile Museum* Go to the Mekong Riverside Park* Visit the COPE Visitor Centre* Wat Si Muang* Watch the sun set over the Mekong* Try rice farming at a local NGOWhile the nightlife in Vientiane is certainly different from other southeast Asian capitals, such as Bangkok, there is still plenty of excitement to be had. There are plenty of nightclubs and bars, some of which stay open until, although most of the nightlife in the city is over and done with before midnight. In any case, you can enjoy drinks and company when staying in a 3-star hotel in Vientiane.

Would you like to spend your holiday in the Laotian capital city? If so, booking hotels in Vientiane, Laos, has never been easier! Whether you are in the market for a luxury hotel in Vientiane, or you are travelling with young children and need to stay in a child-appropriate family hotel in Vientiane, we have everything to suit all budgets and requirements.