Vientiane is the capital of Laos- a country in Southeast Asia. It lies on the Mekong River, shares a border with Thailand, and packs beautiful architecture. The city has a population of more than 760,000, and derives its name from the local language, Pali.
Vientiane was founded in 9th century AD, and formed part of the early Lao Valley city states. It’s come under occupation by the Burmese, Siamese and Vietnamese, and, at various points in time has served as a major regional hub. Originally a French trading post, Vientiane has blossomed into a beautiful cultural hotspot known for its glorious boulevards and glittering temples.
Vientiane is a largely agricultural country and is currently experiencing fast economic growth. Growth is forecasted to come in areas like rice production and commercial cattle farming, which will help make Vientiane more self-sustaining. The capital is also working to grow its service sector as well as expand its electricity network.
While a small city, Vientiane draws tourists from all over the world. Many visit for its temples and Buddha monuments including Haw Phra Kaew and Wat Si Saket. Other popular attractions include the COPE Visitor Centre and the Talat Sao morning market - where you can pick up everything from jewellery to silk.
Buses are the main mode of transport in Vientiane. At Vientiane Bus Station, you can catch a bus to just about anywhere else in Laos. Many chose to hire a car, which can be done for reasonable rates; others hire motorcycles, or dirt bikes - which are also popular for getting around. The closest airport to Vientiane is Wattay International, which is located roughly two miles from the city centre.
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