Vientiane is the capital and largest city of Laos. It is located on the banks of the Mekong River near the border with Thailand. This laidback city was an important administrative centre of the Kingdom of the Million Elephants (Lan Xang), it became the capital of the French protectorate of Laos and kept its primary status after its independence in 1953 and even after the communist revolution in 1975.
Vientiane is nothing like other Southeast Asian capitals. The city enjoys a very relaxing atmosphere and charming riverside views where to enjoy the local beer and watch the sunset. The French influence is easy to appreciate in its architecture, cuisine and monuments. There is even a local rendition of Paris’ Arc de Triomphe and a growing number of reputable Parisian chefs delighting the most demanding palates .
The city has many pagodas, temples and Buddhist monuments including Xieng Khuan (Buddha Park) and then golden Buddhist stupa Pha That Luang, the most important national cultural monument. French villas are now home to world-class restaurants and hotel boutiques and the riverfront (recently renovated) is the perfect place for locals to exercise and hang out by the river.