The French-colonial city of Vientiane is one that should make it on your list of must-see destinations. An area that was first inhabited in the 9th century, now features architecture designed in the French fashion, Buddhist temples, modern cafes, restaurants and shops.
Vientiane is a charming, romantic and sophisticated city—a perfect place to relax yet have the time of your life. And with influences from France, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, China and Vietnam, it’s the perfect getaway for those who love to immerse themselves in a multi-cultural city. So to make sure you get the most of what the city and its outer parts has to offer, here are our top four hidden gems to add to your list.
Wat Si Saket
The oldest temple in Vientiane is Wat Si Saket, which was first built in 1818 by the last king, King Anouvong. Due to the way it was constructed—especially the surrounding terrace—the temple remained intact after the War of Succession in 1827. When the city became a French colony, France restored parts of Wat Si Saket in the 1920s into what you see today.
Those who visit the temple can wander through the museum and gaze at the 6,800+ Buddha images that date back to the 16th and 19th centuries. Wat Si Saket is a unique temple, and one of our favorite hidden gems.
It’s located in the old city center, and is open Monday through Sunday, from 8am to 4pm.
If you’ve already shopped around Talat Sao Morning Market, then we recommend stopping by SaobanCrafts. This is a store established by a non-government organization helping (mostly) women living in rural areas. It provides a place for them to sell their handmade crafts as a source of living. From bags and accessories to home decor and clothes, SaobanCrafts is an excellent choice for souvenir shopping—not only are you buying something handmade, but you’re also supporting a community in need.
Buddha Park, also known as Xieng Khuan, is a magnificent place about 15 miles outside of the city. The area houses various Buddhist and Hindu statues that tower over you. The park is unique as it represents the union of these two religions, a vision dreamed up by a monk who brought the park to life.
There is a small fee to go inside, and if you do end up here, make sure to go early in the morning when it opens at 8am (the park closes at 6pm) to avoid the crowds.
The Walking Street
After a day of exploring, it’s time to take a nightly adventure at The Walking Street, a lively street full of street food vendors selling some of the best eats and drinks you can get. Moreover, there’s pop music playing all around, outdoor tables and chairs, and a skating rink that you can rent rollerblades and skate around before or after you’ve eaten. Bring your friends, family, partner or just come solo and hang out with the locals—it’s an evening you won’t want to miss! The Walking Street is open every day from 6pm to 9:30pm and is located right behind the Vientiane New World shopping mall.
If this or any other destination speaks to you, we’d love to help you get there in comfort and save you up to 70% off. Submit a flight request or contact your agent and we’ll find the best dates to travel there!