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Vientiane Self-guided Walking Tour (Laos)

Discover Vientiane, Laos, on this self-guided walking tour itinerary. Enjoy the city's charms and all things to do at your own pace.

Discover Vientiane, Laos, on this self-guided walking tour. Enjoy the city’s charms at your own pace. This self-guided walking tour invites you on an intimate journey through Laos’s charming capital. With its French colonial past, Vientiane boasts beautiful architecture, quiet boulevards, and a relaxed atmosphere. There’s no sight of skyscrapers yet, but the city’s landscape might change in 5 years. Expect to wander through ancient temples, colonial buildings, and bustling markets. Savor the fusion of Lao and French cuisine, and let the Mekong River’s serene flow captivate you. Get ready for a day filled with exploration, discovery, and the warm welcome of Vientiane’s streets.

Self-guided Walking Tour in Vientiane, Laos
Self-guided Walking Tour in Vientiane, Laos

Getting around Vientiane

Getting around the city is part of the adventure. This blog post focuses on a walking tour, which took me 5 hours to complete. I lingered longer at some spots, soaking in the atmosphere. This walking tour’s actual combined walking time is about 2 hours, but exploring at your own pace adds to the experience. For longer distances, like reaching the Mekong River Promenade, a tuk-tuk is handy. Also, Loka, Vientiane’s answer to Uber, offers a convenient way to book cars and taxis for any detours or a comfortable ride back.

Related Post: 10 Days in Laos Travel Itinerary

Where to stay in Vientiane, Laos

The Nana Backpacker Hostel stands out in Vientiane for its lively ambiance and river views. If you’re looking for more comfort, consider staying at the Barn1920s Hostel, ideally in the city’s heart. It offers proximity to the Mekong River, night markets, and amenities such as a garden and bar. For a luxurious stay, Crown Plaza Vientiane is definitely a place to be! 

Tours in Vientiane

Walking on your own is not your thing? Lucky you! Here are some Vientiane Tours you can join: a Private Full-Day Tour with Buddha Park and Lunch and a Vientiane City Tour that includes Buddha Park

Self-guided Walking Tour in Vientiane

Presidential Palace

Kick-off at the Presidential Palace. You can’t enter, but the view from outside is stunning. Admire its grandeur. It’s the perfect photo op to start your day. Don’t miss The Changing of the Guards, a brief yet captivating spectacle.

Self-guided Walking Tour in Vientiane, Laos
Self-guided Walking Tour in Vientiane, Laos

Wat Haw Phra Kaew

A few steps from the Palace is Haw Phra Kaew. This temple-turned-museum once housed the Emerald Buddha, now in Bangkok. Why visit? Its exquisite collection of Lao art captivates. The craftsmanship of the artifacts and the serene ambiance offer a glimpse into Laos’s spiritual and artistic heritage.

Self-guided Walking Tour in Vientiane, Laos (Wat Hae Phra Kaew)
Self-guided Walking Tour in Vientiane, Laos (Wat Hae Phra Kaew)

Wat Sisaket

Right across from Haw Phra Kaew, Wat Sisaket beckons. Only a quick walk separates these two historical jewels. This temple is a haven of peace and history. Why go? It’s home to thousands of Buddha statues. The wall niches and old feel are truly mesmerizing.

Self-guided Walking Tour in Vientiane, Laos (Wat Sisaket)
Self-guided Walking Tour in Vientiane, Laos (Wat Sisaket)

Talat Sao

Hungry? Talat Sao is nearby (a 15-minute walk). Here, you can enjoy lunch or sample local foods. Why go? It’s a bustling hub for an authentic taste of Laos.

Lao National Museum

Next, a short walk (another 15 minutes) takes you to the Lao National Museum. Dive into Laos’s rich history and culture. Don’t miss the exhibit on the country’s struggle for independence.

That Dam

A 5-minute walk brings you to That Dam. This ancient stupa, shrouded in legends, sits right in the city. What’s special? Locals believe it houses a seven-headed dragon. This mystical vibe is a must-feel.

Patuxai (Arc de Triomphe)

Continue for 15 minutes to Patuxai, Vientiane’s own Arc de Triomphe. Don’t miss: Climb to the top. The city views are breathtaking. The detailed carvings and historical significance make it unforgettable.

Self-guided Walking Tour in Vientiane, Laos
Self-guided Walking Tour in Vientiane, Laos

Dada Cafe

A short 13-minute walk away, Dada Cafe awaits. Time for a break. Why here? Their fresh smoothie will refresh you. The cozy ambiance is perfect for resting your feet and planning your next steps.

Pha That Luang

After refueling, head to Pha That Luang, which is about 20 minutes away. This golden stupa is Laos’s symbol of Buddhism and sovereignty. Why it’s a must-see: The stunning gold leaf covering shines brightly under the sun. It’s simply majestic.

10 days in Laos (that Luan Stupa in Vientiane, Laos) Self-guided Walking Tour in Vientiane, Laos
10 days in Laos (that Luan Stupa in Vientiane, Laos)

Giant Sleeping Buddha

Right next to Pha That Luang (you need to exit where you entered and walk on your left), find the Sleeping Buddha. This giant, reclining Buddha adds a serene touch. What to do: Take a moment. The calmness and scale of the statue are awe-inspiring.

Self-guided Walking Tour in Vientiane, Laos
Self-guided Walking Tour in Vientiane, Laos

Mekong River Promenade

Hop on a tuk-tuk to the Mekong River Promenade. This ride is a fun shift from walking. Enjoy: The river views at sunset are magical. Watch life flow by, a peaceful end to the day’s exploration.

Night Market

Finally, the Night Market calls. It’s right along the promenade. Dive into the bustling atmosphere. Why visit? It’s the perfect spot for souvenirs, local crafts, and tasty street food. The vibrant colors and scents cap off the day beautifully.

Self-guided Walking Tour in Vientiane, Laos (Night Market)
Self-guided Walking Tour in Vientiane, Laos (Night Market)

Goodbye, Vientiane!

Our walk through the Lao capital ends, but the memories last forever. We saw history blend with daily life. We tasted flavors that mixed Lao traditions with French touches. The Mekong’s gentle flow reminded us to pause and breathe. Vientiane’s charm has touched our hearts. Carry these moments with you. Until next time, keep exploring, keep wandering. Vientiane awaits your return, with more stories to tell and streets to discover.

Onward to your next destination

From Vientiane, you can take a train, a bus, or a van to your next destination in Laos. If you’re going to Van Vieng, take a look at the list of things to do there. Luang Prabang, a UNESCO World Heritage city, is also waiting for your arrival. When booking public transport in Asia, I find this site the best one yet—all modes of transport in one website

If you are heading to Bangkok by train, this train itinerary can help you (but on a reverse route).

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