Laos is one of the quietest countries in Southeast Asia. I spent a few days in Vientiane just to see what the country was like. My first impression was: it was definitely peaceful.
Vientiane also doesn’t have the typical traffic that other Southeast Asian countries have. It helps that their population is quite low at almost 7 million people. Their language is also very similar to Thai and both countries have no problem communicating with one another.
One fun fact is that Laos is one of the few remaining communist countries.
If you decide to visit Vientiane, Laos, here are 7 places you can visit:
1) That Luang
A gold-coloured large Buddhist Stupa situated right in the middle of Vientiane, it is one of the main tourist attractions in this city. Unfortunately, when I went, they wouldn’t let us in because the President of Singapore was inside touring the place.
2) Wat Si Saket
A Buddhist Wat located right beside the Lao presidential palace.
3) Lao Presidential Palace
4) That Dam
A large black stupa that is thought to protect the Lao people from Siamese invasion.
Patuxai is a large war monument situated in the centre of Vientiane. It is dedicated to those that died fighting the French during the war for independence.
6) Lao National Museum
Saving the best for last, the Lao National Museum is the best tourist attraction in Vientiane.
You’ll be able to see various exhibits ranging from rare fossilized humanoid bones to archeological ceramics. They even have a jar from the famous Plain of Jars!
The most interesting part of all exhibits is definitely the anti-French and anti-American exhibits. I’m not sure the accuracy of the exhibits but I’m pretty sure both Lao and the USA have a skewed point of view of what happened during the war of independence.
French and American imperialist
Apparently, the United States of America was involved in convincing one of the military powers in Lao to conscript child soldiers.
Laos has a strong Soviet influence as you can see from the bust of Lenin and a Soviet influenced statue
Important information and prices
- Visa on arrival for Canadians – $42 USD (must provide a visa or passport size photo as well)
- Lao National Musuem entry fee with camera access – 20,000 Kip ($3.33 CAD)
- Taxi from airport to Backpackers Garden Hostel – 67,000 Kip ($11.17 CAD)
- Tuk Tuk to That Luang, Lao National Museum and back to my hostel – 80,000 Kip ($13.33 CAD)
- 2 nights in a private room in Backpackers Garden Hostel – $24.22 USD
Overall, the trip to Laos was neat. I doubt I’ll be back in a long time because the only other place I really want to see is the Plain of Jars. Sadly, flying to the country isn’t very cheap and the cost of the visa is quite expensive making Laos not one of the best budget friendly tourist destinations.
However, if you are young and into partying, then Vang Vieng is also a great destination for you to visit in this quiet country.