Buddha Park (Xieng Khuan)
Buddha Park (Xieng Khuan) is a famous sculpture park with more than 200 religious statues including a huge 40-metre high reclining Buddha image.The most outstanding ones include Indra, the king of Hindu gods riding the three-headed elephant, a four-armed deity sitting on a horse and an artistic deity with 12 faces and many hands, each holding interesting objects.
There is a local coffee shop offering food and drinks to tourists at one end of the park right next to the Mekong River that makes a great spot to chill after all the walking and climbing. Among the popular snacks are papaya salad, fried bananas and cold Lao beer. It also has a souvenir shop and restrooms.
Opening Hours: Daily from 08:00 – 18:00
Location: About 25 kilometres southeast of Vientiane, along the Mekong River
How to get there: The Buddha Park can be reached by public bus or tuk tuk
That Luang – Vientiane Great Stupa
That Luang, or The Great Stupa, a national symbol, is the most sacred monument in Laos, and certainly one of the country’s most beautiful. It is built in Lao style, influenced by Buddhist beliefs – these include finely-gilded, red-lacquer doors, pointed lesser stupas, many Buddha images and beautiful flower and animal images.
Boun That Luang Festival is held in Vientiane, crowd of followers and tourists come to town from all over Laos and neighbouring countries. The festival is considered as the most important Buddhist celebration in Laos with many activities going on for three days and three nights.
Opening Hours: All year round
Location: The impressively gilded structure is situated about four kilometres northeast of Vientiane
Wat Si Muang
Wat Si Muang is one of Vientiane’s most popular sites of worship, and offers a fascinating insight into how old animist beliefs have blended seamlessly with Theravada Buddhism.
Wat Si Muang attracts crowds of local Buddhists who want to benefit from its ‘good luck’ powers. It is commonly thought that if you pray for something here and simultaneously make a promise, your wish will be granted, providing you return and fulfil your promise.
Opening Hours: Opened from 06:00 to 19:00 every day
Location: At the eastern end of Thanon Setthathirath, in the triangular area formed just before the street merges with Thanon Samsenthai and turns into Thanon Thadeua.
Wat Ho Phra Keo
Vientiane is famous for several beautiful temples, but one of the most impressive and interesting temples is Wat Ho Phra Keo. It was originally constructed in 1565 as the Lao royal family’s personal chapel, and as a home for the Emerald Buddha after it was snatched from northern Siam (Thailand).
Without a doubt discovering the Bangkok-rococo architecture of the temple is one of the worthiest things to do in Laos. The vast monument is an ideal place where visitors can take amazing photos.
Opening Hours: Opened from 08:00 to 12:00 and 13:00 to 16:00 every day.
Location: Corner of Thanon Setthathilath and Thanon Mahosot - next to the Presidential Palace and across the road from Wat Si Saket.
Vientiane Night Market
The Vientiane Night Market is aimed primarily towards tourists, with clean, orderly stalls, and all manner of merchandise that make great souvenirs. It all begins around sunset when a small army of sellers begin setting up their red-roofed stalls directly on the riverside promenade. You will find a predictable array of Buddhist-inspired paintings and knickknacks, cheap sunglasses, and Laos T-shirts.
As all tourist markets, English is widely spoken here but be prepared to test your bargaining skills because initial prices are always expensive, and you should never accept the first price. Most of the products can be found at several stalls so it is helpful to walk around and find where the best price is.
Opening Hours: 18:00-22:00
Location: Riverside promenade, upstream from the Chao Anouvong statue.