Vientiane is situated on a bend of the Mekong
The Mekong is a river that runs through China, Burma, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. It is the world's 10th-longest river and the 7th-longest in Asia. Its estimated length is , and it drains an area of , discharging of water annually....

 river, which forms the border with Thailand
Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

 at this point.


Vientiane features a tropical wet and dry climate (Koppen
Köppen climate classification
The Köppen climate classification is one of the most widely used climate classification systems. It was first published by Crimea German climatologist Wladimir Köppen in 1884, with several later modifications by Köppen himself, notably in 1918 and 1936...

 Aw) with a distinct monsoon season
Monsoon is traditionally defined as a seasonal reversing wind accompanied by corresponding changes in precipitation, but is now used to describe seasonal changes in atmospheric circulation and precipitation associated with the asymmetric heating of land and sea...

 and a dry season
Dry season
The dry season is a term commonly used when describing the weather in the tropics. The weather in the tropics is dominated by the tropical rain belt, which oscillates from the northern to the southern tropics over the course of the year...

. Vientiane’s dry season spans from November through March. April marks the onset of the monsoons which in Vientiane lasts about seven months. Vientiane tends to be hot and humid throughout the course of the year, though temperatures in the city tend to be somewhat cooler during the dry season than the wet season.


Although a small city still, the capital has many sites for tourists to see. The city contains many temples and Buddhist monument with Pha That Luang
Pha That Luang
Pha That Luang is a gold-covered large Buddhist stupa in the centre of Vientiane, Laos. Since its initial establishment suggested to be in the 3rd century, the stupa has undergone several reconstructions until the 1930s due to foreign invasions to the area...

, a Buddhist stupa, one of the most famous in Laos. It is the most important national cultural monument and very popular amongst foreign tourist. The original was built in 1566 by King Setthathirath
Setthathirath is considered one of the great leaders in Lao history. Throughout 1560s up until his death, he successfully defended his kingdom of Lan Xang against military campaigns of Burmese conqueror Bayinnaung, who had already subdued Xieng Mai in 1558 and Ayutthaya in 1564...

, and was restored in 1953. The golden stupa is 45 meters tall and is believed to contain a relic of the Lord Buddha.

Another site that is also popular amongst tourists is Wat Si Muang
Wat Si Muang
Wat Si Muang or Simuong is a Buddhist temple in Vientiane, the capital of Laos.This temple was built in 1563.Located near the eastern entrance to the city centre, on the road leading from the Friendship Bridge to Thailand, the small temple was built on the ruins of a Khmer Hindu shrine, the remains...

. The temple was built on the ruins of a Khmer Hindu shrine, the remains of which can be seen behind the ordination hall. It was built in 1563 and is believed to be guarded by the spirit of a local girl called “Si". Legend says that Nang Si, who was pregnant at the time, leapt to her death as a sacrifice, just as the pillar was being lowered into the hole. In front of the temple stands a statue of King Sisavang Vong
Sisavang Vong
Sisavang Phoulivong , was king of Kingdom of Luang Phrabang and later Kingdom of Laos from 28 April 1904 until his death on 20 October 1959.-Early life:...


The memorial monument, Patuxai, began construction in 1957 and completed in 1968, is perhaps the most prominent landmark in the city. While the arc de Triomphe in Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 inspired the architecture, the design incorporates typical Lao motifs including “Kinnari”, a mythical bird woman. Energetic visitors can climb to the top of the monument, which reveals an excellent panoramic view of the city.

Buddha Park
Buddha Park
Buddha Park, also known as Xieng Khuan , is a sculpture park located 25 km southeast from Vientiane, Laos in a meadow by the Mekong River. Although it is not a temple , the park may be referred to as Wat Xieng Khuan , since it contains numerous religious images...

 was built in 1958 by Luang Pou Bounlua Soulilat and contains a collection of Buddhist and Hindu sculptures, scattered amongst gardens and trees. The park was built about 28 kilometers south of Vientiane at the edge of the Mekong River.
Vientiane is home to one of Laos' only bowling alleys (the other bowling alley being in Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang, or Louangphrabang , is a city located in north central Laos, where the Nam Khan river meets the Mekong River about north of Vientiane. It is the capital of Luang Prabang Province...

) and its only mosque
A mosque is a place of worship for followers of Islam. The word is likely to have entered the English language through French , from Portuguese , from Spanish , and from Berber , ultimately originating in — . The Arabic word masjid literally means a place of prostration...

s. There are many upper-class hotels in Vientiane.

Other sites include:
  • Haw Phra Kaew
    Haw Phra Kaew
    Haw Phra Kaew is a former temple in Vientiane, Laos. It is situated on Setthathirath Road, to the southeast of Wat Si Saket. The interior now houses a museum and a small shop.-Overview:...

    , former temple, now museum and small shops
  • Lao National Museum
    Lao National Museum
    The Lao National Museum is located in Vientiane, Laos. It was founded as the national museum highlighting the revolution of the 1970s and is located in a French colonial building. In 2007, the United States donated a grant to help develop the museum...

  • Talat Sao
    Talat Sao
    Talat Sao is a morning market in Vientiane, Laos.Located at the eastern corner of Lan Xang Rd. and Khu Vieng Rd. in the heart of Vientiane, the morning market is open daily from 07:00 until around 16:00. The market is two-storey and covered by several sloping roofs. It is a popular tourist...

     Morning Market
  • That Dam
    That Dam
    The That Dam is a large stupa in Vientiane, Laos. Many Laotians believe it is inhabited by a seven headed nāga who tried to protect them from the armies of Siam, who invaded in 1827. It is also known as the Black Stupa, the English translation of the Lao name "That Dam"....

    , large stupa
  • Wat Ong Teu Mahawihan
    Wat Ong Teu Mahawihan
    Wat Ong Teu Mahawihan is one of many Buddhist Monasteries that are present in the city of Vientiane in Laos. This name is given to the temple due to the large, bronze Phra Ong Teu Buddha image that is present within the temple: the largest Buddha in Vientiane...

    , Buddhist monastery
  • Wat Si Saket
    Wat Si Saket
    Wat Si Saket is a Buddhist wat in Vientiane, Laos. It is situated on Lan Xang Road, on the corner with Setthathirat Road, to the northwest of Haw Phra Kaew, which formerly held the Emerald Buddha.-Overview:...

    , Buddhist wat
  • Wat Sok Pa Luang, Buddhist temple
  • Settha Palace Hotel
    Settha Palace Hotel
    Settha Palace Hotel, is a historical, luxury boutique hotel located at 6 Pangkham Street, Vientiane, central Laos, next to Laos National Stadium, near the Khounboulom Boulevard. It is housed in a renovated French Indonese colonial building built in 1932 and attracts ambassadors and distinguished...

    , Since 1932

Colleges and universities

One of three universities within the country, the National University of Laos
National University of Laos
National University of Laos is the leading university in Vientiane, the capital of Laos. Founded in 1996, with departments brought in from other existing colleges, it is the only national university in the country. NUOL accepts top students from Laos with few international students...

, is located within the capital.


Lao National Radio has a large mediumwave transmitter with a 277 metres tall guyed mast at 18° 20' 33"N, 102° 27' 01"E.

China Radio International (CRI)Webpage
FM 93.0

Radio Australia
FM 96.0


Vientiane is the primary driving force behind economic change, making it the economic centre of Laos. In recent years, the city has experienced rapid economic growth from foreign investment. In 2011, the stock exchange
Lao Securities Exchange
The Lao Securities Exchange is the primary stock exchange in Laos, located in the capital, Vientiane.-History:In 2010, the Lao government sought technical and financial support from South Korea , as well as advice from neighbouring Thailand, to help build the exchange. The glass-building cost $10...

 opened with two listed company stocks, with the cooperation of South Korea
South Korea
The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

. The headquarters of Lao Airlines
Lao Airlines
Lao Airlines is an airline based in Vientiane, Laos. It is the national airline of Laos, operating domestic services to ten destinations and international services to Cambodia, China, Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore. Its main base is Wattay International Airport, Vientiane.- History :The airline...

 is located within the capital. Lao Air
Lao Air
Lao Air Company is an airline with its headquarters on the grounds of Wattay Airport in Vientiane, Laos. The airline operates scheduled and charter services to airfields in the country not served by the national airline Lao Airlines.- History :...

 also has its head office located within the capital, which are on the grounds of Wattay Airport.

From Thailand

The First Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge
Thai–Lao Friendship Bridge
The First Thai–Lao Friendship Bridge is a bridge over the Mekong, connecting Nong Khai province and the city of Nong Khai in Thailand with Vientiane Prefecture in Laos - the city of Vientiane is approximately 20 km from the bridge...

, built in the 1990s, crosses the river 18 kilometers downstream of the city to Nong Khai
Nong Khai
Nong Khai is a city in North-East Thailand and is the capital of the Nong Khai Province...

 in Thailand, and is the major crossing between the two countries. The official name of the bridge was changed in 2007 by the addition of "First", after the Second Friendship Bridge linking Mukdahan
Mukdahan capital of Mukdahan province, became Thailand's 73d province in 1982. Located in the northeastern region of the country, on the banks of the river Mekong, it was formerly as district of Nakhon Phanom Province...

 in Thailand with Savannakhet in Laos was opened early in 2007.

A metre gauge
Metre gauge
Metre gauge refers to narrow gauge railways and tramways with a track gauge of . In some African, American and Asian countries it is the main gauge. In Europe it has been used for local railways in France, Germany, and Belgium, most of which were closed down in mid 20th century. Only in Switzerland...

 railway link over the bridge was formally inaugurated on March 5, 2009, ending at Thanaleng Railway Station
Thanaleng Railway Station
Thanaleng Railway Station, also known as Dongphosy Station , is a railway station in Dongphosy village, Hadxaifong district, Laos, east of the Lao capital city of Vientiane and north of the border between Laos and Thailand along the Mekong River. The station opened on March 5, 2009, becoming part...

, in Dongphosy village, 20 km east of Vientiane. As of November 2010, Lao officials plan to convert the station into a rail cargo terminal for freight trains, allowing cargo to be transported from Bangkok into Laos at a lower cost than would be possible with road transport.

From China

In October 2010, plans were announced for a 530 km high-speed railway linking Vientiane to Xishuangbanna, in Yunnan
Yunnan is a province of the People's Republic of China, located in the far southwest of the country spanning approximately and with a population of 45.7 million . The capital of the province is Kunming. The province borders Burma, Laos, and Vietnam.Yunnan is situated in a mountainous area, with...

 province in China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

. which has been modified later to high speed train from Boten to Viengchan with total distance of 421.243 km to be covered by 21 stations including 5 major stations passing through 165 bridges (total length of 92.6 km) and 69 tunnels (total length of 186.9 km) Construction on this line—as part of the longer Kunming to Singapore Railway began on 25 April 2011.

Within Laos

There are regular bus
A bus is a road vehicle designed to carry passengers. Buses can have a capacity as high as 300 passengers. The most common type of bus is the single-decker bus, with larger loads carried by double-decker buses and articulated buses, and smaller loads carried by midibuses and minibuses; coaches are...

 services connecting Vientiane Bus Station
Vientiane Bus Station
There are 3 bus stations in Vientiane, the capital of Laos:* Vientiane Bus Station: Located in the city , serving buses that run within the capital city, provinces around it and between Vientiane and Nongkhai, Udonthani, Khone Khean in Thailand.* Northern Bus Station: Located at T2 road, serving...

 with the rest of the country.

To Thailand

Daily non stop direct bus services run between Vientiane and Nong Khai, Udon Thani and Khon Kaen.

By air

Vientiane is served by the Wattay International Airport
Wattay International Airport
-Ground transportation:Access to airport by taxi, car and tuk-tuk. A taxi rank is located outside the main arrival hall.-Accidents and incidents:*On 24 March 1976, Douglas C-47A XW-TAF and C-47Bs XW-TDF and XW-TDR or Royal Air Lao were damaged beyond economic repair in a storm.-External links:* *...

 with international connections to other Asian countries. Lao Airlines
Lao Airlines
Lao Airlines is an airline based in Vientiane, Laos. It is the national airline of Laos, operating domestic services to ten destinations and international services to Cambodia, China, Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore. Its main base is Wattay International Airport, Vientiane.- History :The airline...

 has regular flights to several domestic destinations (several flights daily to Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang, or Louangphrabang , is a city located in north central Laos, where the Nam Khan river meets the Mekong River about north of Vientiane. It is the capital of Luang Prabang Province...

; a few flights weekly to other destinations).


The "Centre Medical de l’Ambassade de France" is available to the foreign community in Laos in April 2007. Also the Mahosot Hospital
Mahosot Hospital
Mahosot Hospital-Wellcome Trust-University of Oxford Infectious Disease Centre known as Mahosot Hospital is a hospital in Vientiane, Laos....

 is an important hospital in treating and researching diseases and is in connection with the University of Oxford
University of Oxford
The University of Oxford is a university located in Oxford, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest surviving university in the world and the oldest in the English-speaking world. Although its exact date of foundation is unclear, there is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096...


Sister Cities

Bangkok is the capital and largest urban area city in Thailand. It is known in Thai as Krung Thep Maha Nakhon or simply Krung Thep , meaning "city of angels." The full name of Bangkok is Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom...

, Thailand Chittagong
Chittagong ) is a city in southeastern Bangladesh and the capital of an eponymous district and division. Built on the banks of the Karnaphuli River, the city is home to Bangladesh's busiest seaport and has a population of over 4.5 million, making it the second largest city in the country.A trading...

, Bangladesh Phnom Penh
Phnom Penh
Phnom Penh is the capital and largest city of Cambodia. Located on the banks of the Mekong River, Phnom Penh has been the national capital since the French colonized Cambodia, and has grown to become the nation's center of economic and industrial activities, as well as the center of security,...

, Cambodia Orlando
Orlando is a major city in the U.S. state of Florida.Orlando may also refer to-Places:* in Florida** Orlando, a major city** Greater Orlando, the 27th-largest metropolitan area in the United States...

, United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City , formerly named Saigon is the largest city in Vietnam...

, Viet Nam

See also

  • Country of Laos
    Laos Lao: ສາທາລະນະລັດ ປະຊາທິປະໄຕ ປະຊາຊົນລາວ Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon Lao, officially the Lao People's Democratic Republic, is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia, bordered by Burma and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the south and Thailand to the west...

  • Kingdom of Lan Xang
    Lan Xang
    The Lao kingdom of Lan Xang Hom Kao was established in 1354 by Fa Ngum.Exiled as an infant to Cambodia, Prince Fa Ngum of Xieng Dong Xieng Thong married a daughter of the Khmer king. In 1349 he set out from Angkor at the head of a 10,000-man army to establish his own country...

  • Mekong River
    The Mekong is a river that runs through China, Burma, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. It is the world's 10th-longest river and the 7th-longest in Asia. Its estimated length is , and it drains an area of , discharging of water annually....

Further reading

  • Askew, Marc, William Stewart Logan, and Colin Long. Vientiane: Transformations of a Lao Landscape. London: Routledge, 2007. ISBN 0415331412
  • Flores, Penelope V. Good-Bye, Vientiane: Untold Stories of Filipinos in Laos. San Francisco, CA: Philippine American Writers and Artists, Inc, 2005. ISBN 0976331616
  • Renaut, Thomas, and Arnaud Dubus. Eternal Vientiane. City heritage. Hong Kong: Published by Fortune Image Ltd. for Les Editions d'Indochine, 1995.
  • Schrama, Ilse, and Birgit Schrama. Buddhist Temple Life in Laos: Wat Sok Pa Luang". Bangkok: Orchid Press, 2006. ISBN 9745240737
  • Women's International Group (Viangchan, Laos). Vientiane Guide. [Vientiane]: Women's International Group, 1993.

External links

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