From do-it-yourself restaurants to NGO-led craftsmanship, here are the best places to visit in Vientiane according to locals.
A green space in Vientiane that doesn’t make it onto the itineraries of most international travellers, Buddha Park (Xieng Khuan) is a quirky spot in the city that off-the-beaten-track lovers can’t get enough of. The park was created in the 1950s by a local shaman and mystic called Luang Pu Bunleua Sulihat. There are carvings of more than 200 Buddhas throughout the park – including a reclining Buddha that stretches for 120 metres – and an odd collection of human, animal and mythical statues.
A bar and café found on the banks of the Mekong, this unusual graffiti covered spot is the place to get your hands on an eclectic ion of beers. For those who love the international beer tasting trend, this is an amazing place to find beers from across the world. Actually a Belgian bar, this is the place to drink Belgian and Trappist beers, but also an unusual ion of brewed varieties from across the globe. In fact, it’s been said Chokdee Café offers one of the best ions of beer in the whole of South East Asia.
Wat Dane Soung temple
There are countless temples ready to be explored in Vientiane and across Laos, but this temple is in an unusual jungle location that means it’s rarely visited. It was previously a monastery and centre of worship, but since being abandoned has become a mystical-looking place where spiritual buildings and jungle combine.
Clay pot cooking
Kataenoy is a small casual restaurant which serves an array of typical Laos cuisine, loved by locals and international visitors who happen to pass by. The best traditional Laotian eating experience here comes if you order the clay pot. It comes with a typical broth, but then you play chef by adding all the ingredients you want to it. It’s a fabulous interactive dining experience that only locals really know about.
Many visitors to Vientiane head to the major markets to pick up gifts, trinkets and souvenirs to remind them of their Laotian adventure. However, locals recommend tracking down one of the Vientiane stores that is run by an NGO instead. There are a few NGOs in the city who have set up initiatives with rural craftspeople, helping them sell their wares in shops in towns and cities. This is a brilliant way to support traditional crafts, help people earn a living and get your hands on some truly original mementoes. Finer Things is a shop in Vientiane that works in this way, selling everything from art and fabric to Laotian coffee beans.