Taken on: 25th March, 2012. Copyright: All Rights Reserved - See dw*c's page of Flickr
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The capital of Laos, Vientiane, is a bustling city set on the swirling waters of the Mekong River. For many years Vientiane was a sleepy backwater capital of an equally backwater state, but as Laos has slowly opened up to foreign investment and tourism, Vientiane has gone through vast changes and continues to expand.
But while the Lao capital is now home to a vibrant wealth of hotels, bars and restaurants, it still retains tree-lined dirt roads complete with peaceful temples and relaxed inhabitants. The pace of life, as in all of Laos, is best described as slow -- bordering on glacial. This is still likely to be among the smallest capital cities you ever visit.
Actually pronounced Wiang Jan and translated as City of Sandalwood, the modern name of Vientiane comes courtesy of a bastardised French transliteration. Wiang actually means "fort" (City of Sandalwood sounds better than Fort... ) but by all accounts it mustn't have been much of a stronghold, as the original city ... Read our complete Vientiane travel guide