It’s time for a different kind of vacation.  The kind of vacation where you don’t just go to a different state or even across the ocean to Europe.  It’s time to go farther than you’ve ever gone before, to exotic locales that you will remember forever and entertain friends and family members with stories of the things you’ve seen.  It’s time to go toLaosand see the hustle and bustle of a different kind of city.

For being such a main hub, you’ll find that Vientiane is surprisingly compact – but this also makes it much easier for you to enjoy as much of it as possible.  You’ll find yourself strolling by the open Morning market where steaming noodle stalls and fresh fruit stands boast of food made or picked that very day, as well as little shops and other locations where you can peruse local craft makers’ arts and discover something uniquely Laos that you’ll want to take home with you.

Vientiane has a distinctly French atmosphere in a lot of ways due to the past history between the two nations.  You’ll see old French mansions, some still in use and others giving way to the test of time.  The mouth-watering variety of foods includes many French dishes, both old and with brand new international twists to help give them new life and flavor.

There are plenty of places to visit, such as the markets and Buddha Park, a location just outside the city’s outskirts.  At Buddha Park, you will find a carefully manicured garden of stone statues of both Buddha and Hindu origin.  Indeed, there are over 200 statues here and its local name of Xieng Khuan means “spirit city.”  But this isn’t a set of ruins.  Rather, though the statues look ancient, they are actually just over 50 years old, made of reinforced concrete, and created by Luang Pu Bunleua Sulitat.  That doesn’t make them any less interesting though.  Climb stairs that take you from hell to heaven, or snap a picture of the massive reclining Buddha, one of the park’s main attractions.

Vientiane sits right along theMekongRiverborderingThailand.  This gives you plenty of opportunities to cruise the river and perhaps even take a step into Thailand for a day just to say you were there.  Then it’s back to Vientiane to enjoy more of what the city has to offer.  It won’t take you long to feel like one of the locals as you walk along the streets.  It’s a surprisingly relaxing place and many will tell you that it feels more like a small town than a large city.

Come in to Vientiane and hop into a tuk-tuk or just use your feet to see the sights.  From the Lao National Museum to the Patuxi (a local rendition of the Paris Arc de Triomphe), there’s a little something for everyone here.  And be sure to kick back as the sun goes down with a Beerlao in hand – the national beer of Laos– and indulge in the beauty.

 

Enid Glasgow