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Vientiane is the capital city of Laos and a popular stop-off on our Mekong River cruises, thanks to the numerous attractions to be found in this ancient, charming and bustling city.

Vientiane is home to more than 783,000 people and has been given evocative nicknames, such as the City of Sandalwood and the City of the Moon, at certain points in its history. Modern Vientiane is a relatively young city. The original settlement was an administrative centre serving in the Kingdom of a Million Elephants from 1545 but was then razed to the ground by the Siam (modern-day Thailand) in 1827 during a siege. The city was only rebuilt upon discovery by French colonists at the end of the nineteenth century, giving us the basis of the modern city we see today.

Top Attractions In Vientiane

Pha That Luang

This is a stunning gold Buddhist stupa in the middle of the city. Not only is this a national symbol for Laos but it is also a national monument, attracting hundreds of tourists each year.

Pha That LuangPha That Luang


Patuxai is Vientiane’s version of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. The city completed the giant gateway, which sits in front of a lake surrounded by parkland, in 1968, and it has stood firm ever since, towering over the surrounding areas. Eager tourists can climb steps inside the archway for a small fee and get prime views over the city.

Patuxai in VientianePatuxai in Vientiane

Ho Phra Keo Museum

Ho Phra Keo museum, also called Hophakaew museum, is located just a couple of minutes walk from the Mekong, right in the heart of Vientiane. The museum is an ancient Buddhist temple built for the Emerald Buddha, dating back to the 1500s. The museum contains many artefacts, and there’s a gift shop once you’re done.

Wat Si Muang

Wat Si Muang is one of the most popular destinations for people arriving in Vientiane. The Buddhist temple was built in 1563 and is said to be guarded day and night by a restless spirit.

Sisaket Temple

A stunning historic temple located in the city centre, near the President’s palace, making it easily accessible. This temple remains the only one that wasn’t destroyed by the Thai invasion in the 19th century.

Buddha statue at the Sisaket TempleBuddha statue at the Sisaket Temple

Top Things To Do And See While In Vientiane

Relax On The Mekong Riverfront

The Mekong river is one of the largest rivers in Laos. The banks of the Mekong are famously lush and attract hundreds of people every day from all over the capital.

Visit The New World Shopping Centre

The New World shopping centre, a region of the city that comes to life after sunset, offers local food and drink to hungry tourists. It’s a must-visit part of the town if you want to experience life in Vientiane at its most authentic.

Explore the Riverside Night Market

The Night Market, sometimes called the Chinese Market, pops up along the riverfront in the evening, selling an assortment of drinks, sundries, and novelty items. The old market used to be some distance back from the river, but thanks to infrastructure upgrades by the city, it’s now held at the water’s edge.

Pandaw offers a few different river cruises including Pandaw’s Laos Mekong river cruise that enable you to explore the beautiful Vientiane.

River Cruises visiting Vientiane


River Cruise itinerary for The Laos Mekong

The Laos Mekong

Vientiane - Chiang Khong

No Single Supplement on selected dates

10 nights

from US$4,360

River Cruise itinerary for The Laos Mekong
River Cruise itinerary for Halong Bay, Red River & Laos Mekong

21 nights

from US$8,718.55

River Cruise itinerary for Halong Bay, Red River & Laos Mekong
River Cruise itinerary for Best of Laos & Northern Thailand

Best of Laos & Northern Thailand

16 Night Land ∓ River Adventure

16 nights

from US$6,251.60

River Cruise itinerary for Best of Laos & Northern Thailand
Pandaw Cruises Pte Ltd ©2023 Pandaw Cruises Ltd. All rights reserved.

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