I was just there a few days ago, and I must say "what a dead town!" Maybe one of the expats can help you, but compared to Luang Prabang or Bangkok, Vientiane is just not very interesting, and it has very very little of the tropical beauty that Luang Prabang has.
#2 daawgon has been a member since 17/4/2007. Posts: 1,111
There are heaps of things to do in Vientiane. Occasionally there is a silly post like the one above from someone who obviously does not know the town at all. I don't really know what a poster like that wants, the nightlife of Vegas perhaps? There are downloadable guides on things to do - markets to visit, restaurants to enjoy, trips to take, sights to see.
i agree with daawgon that compared to Luang Prabang or Bangkok, Vientiane is still pretty quiet. but that doesn't mean there isn't enough to do to keep you busy. it's too bad that Rufus couldn't get off his high horse long enough to offer a few specific suggestions, but he's right that there are markets, restaurants, and sights to do.
my two favorites in Vientiane are That Luang and Pratuxai, the Monument area. the Monument/Pratuxai is built to resemble the Arch in Paris, if you've been there. you can climb the steps all the way to the top for a spectacular view of the entire city - just like in Paris too. the Monument is surrounded by a lovely park where Lao families hang out and enjoy themselves. you can go for a stroll or get a snack and have a relaxing time just like you lived in the city.
a few km up the road from there is That Luang, Laos' national symbol. it is a gorgeous temple complex that is worth a slow wander through the courtyard and past the stupas.
vientiane has a small but worthwhile national museum, and a few good smaller temples in the down river direction, including the original Wat Phra Keow. i also enjoy walking along the riverside and having food or a delicious Beer Lao. and there is always the morning market.
what will be taking you to Vientiane? will you be there for a few days or just overnight?
Exacto, there is no such thing as the "Pratuxai"; it is the Patuxai. If you are going to criticise my posts at least make sure you post accurately. The reason I did not suggets any sights is that there are downloadable guides on this sight which can far more eloquently suggest places in Vientiane to visit than I can.
Most people, when they think New Years, think party... I'm not sure if the OP wa leaning that way though. So for a party scene, where would one head in Vietniane?
#6 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
I'm pretty sure I'm the second biggest fan of Vientiane on this website, after you. But you are right that I object to your dismissive and intolerant attitude towards anyone who dares to have a different opinion than you. In as many keystrokes as you used to belittle others, you could have instead actually offered specific and useful information for the OP based on your first-hand knowledge of the city.
So where's the nightlife?
#8 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Many restaurants will have a NYE dinner, and not just expnesive restaurants. Else you might try Nam Phou square, though the awful Mix Bar has probably destroed the atmosphere there.
Exacto, I don't have patience with those who post that Vte is boring without even having decently explored the place. There are heaps of bars, discos and nightclubs now as you well know.
Have been to Vte before, so have seen all the touristy/ cultural/ city/market sites before. Definatley not a loud disco fan Im afraid. A quiet friendly bar somewhere was more the current on the ground info i was after. Vte is my entry point and i will be there for a few days before i head northward to adventure. Thanks for the suggestions so far tho...and i like sleepy little towns btw! lol
#10 wranger has been a member since 27/11/2012. Posts: 2
Wranger - well, have a great trip whatever you decide to do.
#11 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
if i were in your place, i'd probably head up to Pratuxai (or Patuxai, if you prefer) or down along the riverside and mingle. i also might look into a day tour or some other organized activity as a way to meet a few nice folks to hang out with over the new year celebration. maybe one of the western embassy clubs will have an organized event you can join. you can always pick a restaurant or bar and invite random folks to join you for a party! good luck.
that's too bad. when i lived in BKK, most every major embassy had some kind of cultural celebration or two throughout the year, although not typically on new years. i thought the diplomatic community in VTE might have something then since it is smaller and likely more closely knit.