Best things to do in Vientiane and sightseeing in Vientiane
Vang Vieng - Vientiane
We headed towards Vang Vieng, a well-known party place with tubing, kayaking and caving. Draw dropping peaks of limestone formations are the norm, this place is definitely a jewel. What a great place to spend your time and enjoy the new toy. We found an amazing room, with a kick ass 3D view of the Nam Song River overlooking karst formations. We rented 2 semi-automatic motorbikes and explored the Vang Vieng’s landscape. We visited caves, waterfalls and the blue lagoon. The rain was on and off making the ride wet, muddy and interesting.
Vang Vieng's main draw is the tubing and kayaking on the Nam Song river. In the daytime, one can enjoy activities like Kayaking and Mountain Climbing. And in the night, one can relax and wash away the tiredness with other travelers while listening to music and playing a few games at the tubing bars.
COPE Cooperative Orthotic and Prosthetic - Vientiane
A museum where you can learn about ‘The Secret War’ that America conducted against Laos a few decades ago. You also learn about the type of bombs that still remain in the country, hindering economic progress, and read/watch/listen to stories about people who have lost limbs and livelihoods thanks to these horrible bombs. COPE is a really awesome project that helps Laotians affected by unexploded ordnance (known as UXO) bombs or born with a physical disability such as missing limbs or clubfoot. The center makes prosthetic limbs and has a rehabilitation center to assist with mobility. They also have a nice little museum, free to the public, to educate people about the bombs that affected Laos during the Vietnam War, and that still affect Laotians today. There are also free documentaries that you can watch. We chose to watch an Australian Broadcasting production called Bomb Harvest, and a Canadian production from 2001 called Bombies. COPE is a very good way to spend an afternoon in Vientiane. It’s completely free, has a store where you can buy locally made knickknacks, a small cinema room where you can choose a documentary, and a well-thought-out museum with some very confronting photos and items.
Pha That Luang - Vientiane
Pha That Luang meaning Great Stupa is a large Buddhist Stupa that is covered in gold and situated in the center of Vientiane. We spoke to a local Lao who said that Pha That Luang was formerly build as a Hindu temple and later Buddhist missionaries and Arahata monks bought a holy relic of Lord Buddha to the Stupa. The history of this place is pretty interesting. Each of the three levels of the Stupa mirrors a part of the Buddhist doctrine. This is not just a national symbol but is considered as a very important national monument in Laos and is 44 m high.
Mekong - Vientiane
The evening was well used drifting away in the exotic Mekong River. It is the 12th longest river in the world. You will revel in its beauty as the time passes slowly. Kayaking is the perfect way to spend your time in this enchanting river. It is not quite possible to pen down the majestic beauty of this river, as any number of adjectives would fall short. You need to see it to believe it.
Nam Song River - Vientiane
Kayaking down the Nam Song River is quite amazing, the views are stunning and the fast rapids make it exciting and scary.The kayak trip continued for few hours down the river, with fast rapids, Iza and her kayak partner were the first one to have a turnover. I saw the fear in Iza’s eyes. She looked excited, scared, and completely soaked. Tubing is another sought after activity here. It’s very popular to float on the tube from bar to bar getting smashed and eventually tubing down to Vang Vieng. Often in late afternoon or in darkness. These bars are no joke, with giant slides and hanging ropes, tubers are dangerously flying into the rapid water. It's scary at first, but gets fun eventually!
Tham Poukham Cave - Vientiane
Vang Vieng is located in Central Laos and is 154 kms away from Vientiane. A relaxing swim is the best way to start your day here at the Tham Poukham blue lagoon. The lagoon is bright blue and has few swings that we jumped out of. Laos is known for tubing and we grabbed this opportunity to have a divine experience in tubing in this sparkling lagoon. We then went into the Tham Poukham cave also known as "Golden Cave” because to the golden Buddha's statue that rests there. The cave doesn't end there and stretches miles deeper and darker. This was quite a chilling yet exciting journey. If you are in Laos make sure this isn't the place you miss. Travel Tip - Take a guide with you for the best routes in the caves and rent a head torch if you wish to go deeper into the cave